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The Hand of God

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The Hand of God

 

Opening the door to the large, grand chapel, Brother Nines of the religious sect-otherwise known as ‘The Eyes of God’ walked proudly up ahead the red carpeted floors to join the rest of his Brothers at the front of the alter.

It’d been almost five whole years since the android had been recruited into the Catholic reformatory school. ‘Christ’s Lamb’ had been known to many as a growing religious school for boys aged six until sixteen. The school had several affiliations all over Detroit City, as it’d been established there, but Nines had found his rightful place in the summer school sector, right at the heart of England.

‘Christ’s Lamb’ had reserved the old buildings and churches of Essex, England, deep in the heart of the luscious green forests and shrubberies. It was the perfect setting as well. Although the weather and atmosphere for majority of the months had been cloudy, overcast, rainy, windy, and slightly on the colder side, it was all so very green, full of nature, life, and brought out the best in everyone. The school was actually built into an old library and museum, but it’d be so grand and full of space that the upper floors had been turned into bedrooms for the boys, and there’d been enough of an ‘attic’ space for the android Brothers to retire in the nights.

As such, only android workers were able to be recruited as ‘Brothers’, who served for the most part as instructors and teachers. The Grand Father of the establishment-a man known as Father Morris-hardly ever dropped by for visits, however, his instructions often came down the chain of command right to every Brother serving as Christ’s Followers.

The reformatory school was more like a boot camp as of late, as a strict regimen and program had been in place…however, a lot of the Brothers in Essex were friendly and easy-going, and they’d long since dropped the routine due to the fact that Father Morris would never visit. Still, Father Anderson-the only human in this summer school-was the overseer of majority of the programs. He lived in a separate cabin a few forests away from the school, but would drive down every morning and set up in his office behind the chapel.

Father Anderson was in his mid-fifties and had grey medium-length hair and a silver, thick beard. His kind blue-grey eyes and light-colored skin gave him a wise-yet charming appearance, and his mood and personality was charismatic. Father Anderson was a very friendly and complacent man with a big heart who wanted to accept and recruit as many boys into the school as possible. Lately, the school had taken into consideration housing some foster children, some boys who needed a proper religious education, as well as boys whose parents simply had very little time for them and shipped them off to the school for the summer.

It served a purpose, as Father Anderson and the rest of the Android Brothers all felt that a lack of religious doctrine and discipline was the result of the wayward and self-destructive youth in America lately.

It could have very well been true. Crime among the youth had been on the rise, and Father Anderson fully blamed technology.

“It’s the eyes and ears of the Devil,” he’d commented one day during lunch, and since then, it’d been decided that none of the boys in the school were allowed to use the internet, computers, their phones, or any other forms of technology. While they were in the school, they had to obey by the rules put in place for them, and there was no way around it until they’d proven that they had ‘cleansed’ themselves of the influence of Satan.

The rest of the Android Brothers had been trained to follow this and believe in it as well, and they obediently followed the rules and procedures.

Typically, the school opened from the months of early April, and closed down for the autumn season in the first week of September. Currently, it was already April 19th, and the first two weeks of lessons had already been underway.

The group of youngsters Brother Nines had to deal with and teach were a wonderful group. Thankfully, they’d been blessed with a smaller group, and it was relatively simple for Brother Nines to learn all their names.

He had two eleven-year old twins named Ronald and Peter. They had identical soft brown hair and dark brown eyes. The second oldest in the group was twelve-year old Patrick, and he had shortly trimmed blonde hair and pale green eyes with soft freckles dancing along his skin. After Patrick was thirteen-year old Mackenzie, who had long blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. Another boy his same age was Andrew, and he had a buzz-cut style, round blue eyes, and thick eyebrows. The eldest in the group was fifteen-year-old red-headed Reese.

Reese was Nines’ personal favorite.

He was always on time to his lessons, followed his curfew, didn’t eat too much or talk too much at dinner and breakfast, ran errands for the rest of the boys, taught them and reminded them of their lessons, and sometimes volunteered to help Nines with the lesson plans.

Nines grew fond of the young boy and would secretly sometimes take him outside the school yards and grounds after hours. He hated to admit it, but he would lavish plenty of attention unto the boy unlike the attention the others received.

Brother Nines snuck in dirty magazines for the boy, gave him his own iPod, his own iPad, allowed him to access the internet, and wouldn’t report to the rest of the Android Brothers if Reese stayed up late or sometimes never went to bed at all.

The boy was spoiled, truly, but Nines didn’t care.

He felt and believed that those who worked hard deserved some kind of a reward, after all.

It’d been late in the afternoon while Brother Nines prepared for Mass with his Android Brothers, when the slightly-eccentric and disformed Brother Ralph leaned into him and whispered, “I’ve heard rumors of an addition to be made to your class list, Brother Nines…”

Now, Nines hadn’t initially taken Brother Ralph seriously, as the strange android had a penchant for telling tall tales, and had been deemed slightly ‘crazy’ among the rest of the Brothers. Brother Ralph had been abused by an older priest in another church he’d volunteered at, and the man had burned half of Ralph’s face as a result of the torture. Ralph had nervous twitches and idiosyncrasies sometimes, and he would at times fly into strange mood swings. But as a whole, he was very well behaved, amicable, and friendly.

While Nines didn’t consider him a close friend to chat with and open up to, he found himself curious enough about what Brother Ralph had said to approach Brother Markus and Brother Simon. The two Brothers would often be accompanied by the dark-skinned Brother Josh, but he was busy currently with cleaning and decorating the chapel pews, windows, and seats while smiling proudly to himself.

Best not to disturb a Brother as he served God.

Sauntering up to his Brothers, Nines made an effort to keep his voice low so Brother Ralph wouldn’t be able to hear him. “I’ve been informed that there’s to be another young man joining the school,” he stated plainly, though it was heavily implied he demanded an answer immediately.

Brother Markus regarded him with a smile. Pushing his black and white robes back slightly he nodded, and then whispered back, “It’s true, Brother Nines; as we speak of it, a young man is on the way to the school.”

Nines only frowned, “I am expected to take him in, I presume?”

Brother Markus and Brother Simon both nodded in unison. “Yes,” Brother Markus responded sweetly, his tone always soothing and calm, “I’m sure he will be caught up in your class in no time, Brother.”

That wasn’t what Nines was completely worried about.

Sure, the school was large enough to house another young man. It was more like an old castle of sorts, the stones and old wood centered deep in the heart of the heavy, thick forest of Essex containing already almost one hundred and fifty students. That wasn’t an issue…

“I’m comfortable enough with my own group,” Nines sighed out, “and frankly, I don’t know how the other boys will be able to handle a new one.”

Brother Simon offered him a cold smile, lips thin and set in a line upon his youthful face. “It has already been decided, Brother Nines,” he reminded the taller android coldly, “although I encourage you to exercise caution with this youth…”

Nines’ audio receptors tuned into this. “Oh?”

“Yes,” Brother Markus continued while the sun slowly began to set outside, shoving in an orange-yellow glow not unlike the color of fire. “This young man truly needs our help,” Brother Markus explained, “his parents have already tried sending him to therapy, and the young man even was sent to a Juvenile Correctional Facility…”

Nines growled, “How charming.”

Brother Simon nodded, his eyes unmoving and piercing, “He needs us.”

“He needs God,” Brother Markus corrected.

“He needs to be shipped off to an island as far away from humanity as possible,” Nines cut in viciously, “I see very little we can do for a young one already so interested in straying from the bright path of God.”

Inching closer to him, Brother Markus smiled warmly, but when he pressed a hand on Nines’ shoulder, it seemed strong and slightly threatening. His eyes gleamed brightly, one of them green, and the other blue. Leaning into Nines, he hissed under his breath, “Just do what has been ordained and set out for you to do, Brother Nines,” Brother Markus then pet Nines on the shoulder a few times before chuckling and clasping his hands before himself. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone else for the job; you have the strictest mannerisms in the school, which is no doubt why Father Anderson chose to place the boy in your care.”

Eagerly nodding, Brother Simon said, “He’ll learn a lot from you, no doubt.”

There was no way to argue his way out of it when two of his Brothers stood tall and firmly before him. Bowing his head, Nines huffed and walked backwards. Setting himself on the front pew next to Brother Ralph, they were both eventually joined by Brother Josh.

Soon, the horde of young boys spilled into the chapel, but they were all so well-behaved and quiet.

Wonderful lambs!

As the choir began their delightful tune accompanied by Brother Simon’s skilled and talented harpsichord playing, Nines felt himself tighten up. Looking all around at the students, he could only hope and pray that the newest boy wouldn’t corrupt these beautiful young men. Their souls and hearts were already so innocent and pure, and he didn’t want to see them sullied and tainted in mere seconds.

Gripping his Rosary tightly in between both his hands, Nines closed his eyes tightly, bowed his head down, and offered a silent prayer in his head.

God help them all, God bless them all.

They had to be prepared for the darkness to come, and he felt it churning deeply in his gut as he imagined how volatile the new boy would be.

They would require a miracle to get through it, indeed.

Chapter Text

“Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy! From his lighthouse evermore, but to us he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore!!”

Nines smiled happily and proudly while his class mixed in with the seventeen and eighteen-year old teenage youth volunteers and peer counsellors. Typically, when the boys aged past sixteen and chose to return to the school, they had the option of serving for God’s Eyes as counsellors and peer mentors.

Currently, at least four of them stood about within the old-but brightly decorated-classroom. The curtains had been drawn back, and the entire class stood up while they sang proudly and prayed. It was a daily routine to wake up the boys, usher them to the dining hall where they all had breakfast, and then everyone was divided up in their separate classes. The children had been put on a strict schedule, of course. Prayers came first, followed by songs of praise from scripture specifically aimed at educating the youth.

Conducting his class to sing as confidently and as brightly as they could, Nines also joined in with the chorus. He sang deeply and softly, trying to allow his students to take majority of the lead. They all looked so lovely as well…

“Let the lower lights be burning; send a gleam across the wave! Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save! Loud the angry billows roar!”

Every child had to wear a uniform. The uniforms consisted of white and grey dress shirts to be neatly folded, washed, and ironed. On their lower torso, they had to wear black dress pants, and black dress shoes. Only on weekends were the students allowed to dress casually, but they were required to wear clothing bearing no symbols, no band shirts, no curse words or slang, and no horrible images otherwise. Just solid colors seemed to be permitted.

Eyeing his sea of students looking alike, yet bearing different personalities, Nines couldn’t feel happier. He was responsible for shaping these previously troubled and errant young boys into well-learned, educated, responsible, reasonable, and intelligent members of society. The guidance of God was the way, and as long as his boys accepted the love of Christ in their hearts, he knew they would be saved. He would always go the extra mile for his boys, so long as they wished for it and made an effort. Their souls could always be saved, and Father Anderson always encouraged the Android Brothers to never give up on any of the boys.

“No child shall be left behind in the eyes of God!!” he’d reminded them numerous times, and eventually, they all took up that mantra.

When the music playing from the CD finished, Nines turned it off, and he motioned for all his students to take their seats. As they silently sat with eager eyes gleaming up at him, he smiled down upon them all while standing tall.

It truly was a beautiful day, and he didn’t need to look out the window to confirm this. His system told him it was 29°C, with a gust of wind coming in at 26 kilometers an hour. It was mildly humid, but otherwise a wonderful day, all things considering when it came to their region and geography.

It made him feel better, and he clasped his hands behind his back while Reese sat up in the front row, constantly attentive to Nines’ lessons. The red head had soft brown eyes that held nothing but admiration for Nines. When he saw a similar look in the rest of the students’ eyes, he knew he’d been so blessed. It all encouraged him in his work, and gave him true purpose.

The older peer counsellors-otherwise known as ‘Elders’ approached Nines as well, though they stood in the left and right corners of the classroom. They were ready for instructions, and Nines nodded in appreciation at them. Looking back over at Reese, Nines made a mental note to recommend the boy for training next summer to become an Elder himself. As long as his grades and reports were outstanding, he would be able to forward the recommendation to Father Anderson and Father Morris. He really saw true potential in the boy, and he saw no limits or obstacles in Reese’s way.

Clasping his hands before his chest, now, Nines spoke out before them all, “I would like us all to reflect back on the very first lesson of the term, and I will be asking you a very important question…”

The students nodded their heads, and they flashed their white teeth.

Nines smiled back, “What is the most important quality a man can hold dearly to himself forever?”

Not exactly a trick question, Nines had been meaning to find out whether Reese himself would be able to pick up on the memory game. He valued and cherished students who listened to every word he said, and he knew that it’d be hardly any time before Reese—

Ah yes, his arm was already up in the air like a flag.

Not wanting to display nepotism, Nines instead called upon a fifteen-year old brother of one of the ‘Elders’. This boy was named Julius, and he was a rather soft-spoken quiet child. With curly long locks, his hair swished about as he held his hand calmly up.

“Yes Julius?” Nines beckoned him.

The boy held his hand down, and then he whispered, “Being loving and kind to all of humanity and God’s creatures?”

Nines frowned, “No, Julius.” His eyes swam over a few more hands, and he again made a note not to call upon Reese just yet.

“Hmm, yes Carlos?” The young Mexican boy was just shy of turning nine years old, and he smiled excitedly while he ran a hand through his soft black hair.

Shifting in his seat, he answered, “Loving your family!”

Again, Nines shook his head, “Incorrect.”

Ignoring a few more students, Nines felt it was time to call upon Reese. Pointing at the young man with zeal and joy in his eyes, he cried out, “Yes Reese?”

“Ambition!” the youngster sang out in his semi-deep voice, which signaled he was hitting puberty, “a man needs ambition!”

Brightness befitting the pride of a King, Nines’ eyes lit up. “Yes Reese!” he cried out in joy while holding his finger up before the ceiling, as though pointing at the heavens above. “Exactly!” turning his eyes to scan and survey over the rest of his class, he exclaimed, “ambition will take you very far, my children,” he sighed happily, resisting the urge to throw a small wink at Reese for answering him correctly and accurately,though it was expected of the boy. “Ambition paired with desire is the recipe for success, and once you have a strong hold on it, you can achieve anything in the world!!”

The students were completely soaking up his words; their brains and minds like fresh sponges. Their eyes gleamed, they ‘ooed’ and ‘awwed’, and they were on the brink of cheering and clapping for Nines. It truly was moments like this where Nines felt like he was on top of the world. These children truly looked up to him as though he were an older brother, and this was a priceless feeling. He could get paid a million dollars for this, and yet it wouldn’t even compare to how wonderful and elated he felt emotionally and psychologically. This was a real feeling, and he was on the brink of sheer joy when a small knock was upon the classroom door.

Turning to face their guest, Nines bowed his head when he saw Father Anderson leaning against the old, heavy wooden door. “Good morning Father,” Nines greeted pleasantly, “what brings you here this morning?”

Father Anderson placed his hands in his black dress pants pockets, nodding curtly at the boys while they stared ahead and tried not to listen in too much. “Brother Nines,” he began softly, “I’m pleased to announce that your new student has arrived, and I request your presence immediately.”

Odd.

Nines had never been asked to just abandon his class.

Leaning into Father Anderson, he bent his head down and breathed out, “A special case, isn’t he?”

Ignoring that jab, Father Anderson hummed, and then glared at Nines for no doubt showing defiance and attitude. “He is your student, Brother Nines,” the warning began in a deep grumble, “and I expect nothing but the best of professionalism from you, as well as the rest of your students. Make this child feel welcome, comfortable, and well taken care of, do you understand?”

Nines sighed, “Yes Father, I understand you very well.”

Nodding, Father Anderson gave a pained smirk, “Excellent, now, I’ll ask one of the Elders to watch over your class for you, Nines.” Following up on his ‘promise’, he called out for a Japanese Elder named ‘Momose’. “Watch over for at least half an hour, and we’ll be back.”

Once they’d closed the heavy classroom door and exited the school, a small black car was waiting. Nines stared at it blankly for a moment, and the driver held open the back doors for Nines and Father Anderson.

Turning back to his superior, Nines plainly stated, “I take it the boy will be on the ferry?”

“Yes,” Father Anderson nodded as he sat himself beside Nines, and the car drove down the long gravelly path until the large, dark gates opened up. The path wove down between large, thick thickets of trees, and it provided a lovely scenic view while Nines saw the deep blue waters of the lake that surrounded the forest. A few times, he’d gone swimming in those crystal-clear depths, and he’d been working hard lately on suggesting to Father Anderson for himself to be allowed to teach swimming classes and host competitions during leisure periods for the children…

Deciding not to mention it now, Nines merely chose instead to stay on topic and ask about the new boy. “Has he come a long journey?”

Father Anderson toyed with his white clerical collar, straightening it out as he stared out the windows. “He was born and raised in Detroit,” he explained in a lazy drawl, “but his parents truly don’t know what to do with him. Every option and method of education, reformation, discipline, guidance, and assistance they’ve sought out has failed them…”

Nines smiled, “We shan’t fail him, Father.”

“Precisely, Brother Nines,” Father Anderson wheezed while he sat back and folded his hands comfortably in his lap. Enjoying the ride seemed to be more of an option to him, and as the vehicle approached a large, vast harbor, the driver finally slowed down and parked the car.

Motioning at the world past the window, Father Anderson unlocked his door and stepped out first. “The boy’s waiting for us, Brother Nines.”

Following quickly, Nines stood tall and admired the warm breeze billowing about. The skies were so clear, and he’d always loved smelling the water as it rocked and swished about on the dark, jagged boulders peeking forth at the shoreline. A few boats were already coming in by the loading docks and piers, and Father Anderson led the way down a long one while a medium-sized red boat with the sails blowing high and vast tied itself to a mast.

Nines heard a few seagulls calling back and forth to one another while flowing high above in the sky, and for a moment, he felt envious of them…they had the ability to fly and soar through the lovely clouds and skies, and he didn’t…

Shaking his head out of his reverie, he smiled as he approached the side of the boat. It swayed and rocked while the wind blew, and as Father Anderson stood expectant and hopeful, a small head poked its way up along the top of the boat.

Nines froze when he saw shabby, slightly long dark brown hair. It’d been pushed and divided in a strange modern-day style, hanging loosely to the right side of the teenager’s skull. The teenager himself was dressed completely inappropriately. He was wearing black combat boots, torn, black jeans that seemed too tight in the worst place, and he wore a black shirt with a flaming red, fiery skull in the center.

No…this wouldn’t do at all.

Father Anderson seemed to be holding the same judgements as well. He glowered at the boy’s appearance, but he forced a pained smile onto his old face as he greeted the boy. “Welcome young man,” he bellowed out while another older man with a white cap soon joined the boy’s side. This man was carrying three gym bags, and two dark suitcases with tiny wheels in the bottoms.

Nines sneered. This brat already had so many things with him, and from the looks of it, he didn’t even want to help in carrying them?

No…the boy wouldn’t fit right away into the lifestyle of the school…not at all.

“I trust your trip here was fun?” Father Anderson asked politely, and the teenager rolled his eyes. Choosing not to answer the priest, the boy yanked out an iPhone, and he then attached headphones to the headphone jack and closed his eyes while blasting his music.

Immediately, a dark frown of disapproval was upon Father Anderson’s face. “You can’t have any technological items with you, Mr…?”

Looking over at the man in the white cap carrying the teenager’s luggage, Father Anderson raised his brows. It was clear that he wanted to know the boy’s name, and the man sighed as he caught onto the silent plea.

“His name is Gavin Reed,” he breathed out with difficulty as he held the suitcases up in his arms, and then placed them on the pier.

Father Anderson nodded, “Very well,” turning back to Gavin, he sniffed, and then reached forward while yanking one of the earbuds out of the boy’s ear.

“HEY!”

Apparently, this young lad was quite vocal. Glaring heatedly at Father Anderson, the boy faced him with defiance shining in his eyes. When Nines stepped closer to them both to observe what was going on, he found that the boy had a very odd and peculiar scar running across the upper bridge of his nose…

What an unusual boy indeed.

Father Anderson then grabbed the boy’s earphones, and he stuffed them into his dark coat pockets. “Silence yourself, Mr. Reed,” he snapped through pursed lips, “your parents have entrusted you into my school’s care, and from now on, you will do right to abide by the rules and regulations we’ve set out for you. Am I clear?”

Grumbling, the boy shoved his iPhone back into his jean pockets. It seemed as though he didn’t want to risk losing that as well, and he merely crossed his arms over his chest and rolled his eyes.

That seemed like a decent enough answer for the time being, and a warm smile was back on Father Anderson’s face. Holding out a hand towards the vehicle, he beamed down at Gavin, “Now then, shall we take another ride?”

While the boy shoved past him while muttering something under his breath, Nines heard a bell chiming and dinging somewhere. It caught his attention, and he looked over at the far end of the loading docks and then smiled.

“Brother Nines!!”

Not too far away, another android was waving eagerly at him, and Nines recognized this android. It was a farmer android who worked for years in the fields and meadows a few hundred yards away from the school. Connor-a wonderfully talented android-loved to cook, garden, and was a devoted employee and farmer. He would often plant and grow plenty of fresh, delicious berries and fruits, and when they were ripe for the pickings, he would deliver them to the boys in the school. They loved the fresh, organic taste, and Connor had soon become a favorite visitor of the school. He would also often chat with Nines whenever he could and whenever they had time, and Nines would sometimes see him out bustling around and running errands in the tiny village not too far away from the isolated school.

Connor seemed to be in a particularly good mood today, and he rushed forward and embraced Nines gently. The other android didn’t really return the gesture, but he stood back and rewarded Connor with a friendly smile anyway.

Eyeing the teenager already inside the car, Connor gasped out, “New recruit, huh?”

Nines took half a glance over at the boy, and he felt his insides churning unpleasantly. “It appears as such, Connor.”

“He seems kinda tough,” Connor snickered, “you sure you can handle him?”

Staring at Connor’s brown overalls, long dark green wellingtons, and white dress shirt, Nines smiled. “With the power of the Lord, Connor, we can work miracles.”

Nodding politely, Connor merely smiled as he slowly bent down and picked up a sack of potatoes Nines hadn’t noticed. “Well Brother Nines, I shouldn’t keep you from your duties,” Connor almost sang out jovially, “but do feel free to stop by for a chat some time.”

“I’ll try, Connor.”

“Farewell, Brother Nines!”

Watching the other android slowly return back to work, Nines reluctantly turned around, and he found Father Anderson already waving him over to sit down in the car. Sighing internally, Nines knew he hadn’t any other choice, and he made sure to occupy a seat as far away from Gavin Reed as he could.

The car ride had been deadly silent, but knowing Father Anderson for as long as he had, Nines knew he had a lot brewing on his mind he’d wanted to say while he glared down at Gavin Reed. In truth, Nines also wanted to say a lot…

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin Reed was supposed to join the rest of the sixteen-year-olds in their dormitory, but there surprisingly hadn’t been enough room. No beds were left for the boy, so they had to make do with another plan. Father Anderson dragged the boy back down to the third floor of the school, and he decided to mix Gavin in with the ten to fifteen-year-olds who’d shared the dormitory due to either being related to one another, or requesting it if they got along and cooperated well enough.

Gavin was going to be sleeping in the same room as Reese, Patrick, Mackenzie, the twins Ronald and Peter, Andrew, and three fourteen-year-olds. One was named Travis-who was African American, then there was Greg-who was of Irish descent and who had a nasty temper and sea green eyes, and last but not least, fourteen-year-old Alex, who was also from Detroit. A few other boys from Nines’ class last year who were now ‘Elders’ also shared the room, but it was more so on the nights they had duties assigned to them rather than actually housing in the dormitory permanently.

Father Anderson clapped his hands together while the inhabitants of the room stood before their beds, which had been all made up prim and properly. “Boys!” he bellowed out, “I’d like you all to meet your new classmate, Gavin Reed.”

All their eyes landed on Gavin, and the boy merely sneered.

“He’s sixteen-years-old,” Father Anderson explained, “and I’m relying on you all to be nice to him, show him the ropes, and be on your best behavior to show him the right path.”

“Yes Father!” the boys all cried out in unison, which made Gavin roll his eyes again.

Nodding at them with pride shining in his eyes, Father Anderson then turned to Nines. “Let’s leave the boys now, Brother Nines,” before they closed the door to leave, Father Anderson turned back towards Gavin, and he pointed at his luggage, “unpack, now.”

With that said, the door closed softly, and Gavin sighed as he stood defiantly with his arms crossed over his chest.

After a pregnant pause, the twins were the first ones who ran up to him, and they stared in awe at his shirt.

“You can’t have that on you,” one of them whispered, and Gavin snorted.

Moving around them, he shoved his luggage onto his empty bed. “I don’t care,” he growled, and in an instant, he began unzipping his bags. While the Elders politely excused themselves, Reese snarled as he approached Gavin. Eyeing the items in his suitcase, twelve-year-old Patrick almost danced over to the edge of the bed.

“Wow,” he gasped as he studied Gavin’s personal belongings, his pale green eyes widened slightly, and his blonde eyebrows rose on his forehead, “you smoke??”

A pack of cigarettes were heaved over onto a small night table by Gavin’s bed. The teenager merely shrugged, “Started when I was like…thirteen, I think…”

“Won’t you get cancer?” Mackenzie asked, adjusting his long hair that was always tied back in a loose ponytail.

Gavin eyed him blankly, “I don’t care; you only live once.”

This seemed to really get on Reese’s nerves, and he finally approached Gavin while he clenched his fists. “What a stupid thing to say,” the European boy with the slight British accent hissed out through a tightly cramped jaw and teeth, “you’re living each and every day!!”

Sneering at him, Gavin flipped his long side bangs back, “Well with your kind of thinkin’ it’s no wonder you’re absolutely pathetic.”

Reese blushed a furious shade of red. He already had a pale complexion, and now, he looked absolutely strange while he fumed. Gavin paid him no mind, however, and he didn’t even seem to care that the other boys were rifling through his belongings. In a short amount of time, they’d gone through his belts, boots, and had even found his lighter. The twins flicked it open and shut, and Reese had to stop them as he snatched it out of their little hands.

“You’ll burn yourselves!” he spat, and then he rounded on Patrick, who had found Gavin’s sharp knife which he’d hidden in a boot.

Patrick held it up in the lights, and he whistled, clearly impressed.

Gavin smirked at him, “My dad gave me that for my birthday last year.”

“It’s so cool!” Patrick commented.

Before Gavin could say something in return, Reese growled and swiped the knife clean out of Patrick’s hands. “You have a dangerous weapon with you on school grounds?!?” he practically screamed into Gavin’s ears.

The other boy waved him off, “Don’t be a pussy; it’s for protection.”

“Protection from what?” fourteen-year-old Alex inquired, his round chocolate-colored eyes widening.

“You never know,” Gavin stated almost mysteriously, “there could be wolves, bears, and other beasts lurking about in the night!” His eyes gleamed dangerously, and the young twins especially gasped and looked frightened.

Reese merely snorted, “There’s no such things here, you moron!”

While Gavin turned to glare at Reese, Greg reached into Gavin’s suitcase pockets, and he pulled out a bottle of prescription pills. Travis eyed it next, and when he joined Greg in studying the bottle, the twins also reached up for the pills.

“Do you have candy there??” young Peter cried out, his chubby fingers desperately eager to grab the pills, “I want some!”

Whipping around to see what was happening, Gavin and Reese cried out in panic. Leaping over towards them, Gavin yanked his pills back. “That’s mine!” he angrily barked out, “don’t ever touch those!!”

Raising an eyebrow in disgust while his nose wrinkled, Reese snapped, “You’re a druggie?”

All eyes were back on Gavin Reed, and the boy brushed his clothes off and shoved the pills back into his suitcase pocket. “Fuck no,” he snarled as he zipped the suitcase shut, and then kicked it down to the floor. Shoving it beneath the bed, he stood back towards Reese. “I brought that for the older guys…if you know what I mean…”

Eyeing him angrily, Reese hissed, “We don’t do drugs in this school!”

“I know, but I was hopin’ to make some hard cash sellin’ them,” Gavin admitted plainly.

Steam once again practically rose off Reese’s neck and from the top of his head as he shook with anger. “If you ever show them around to anyone, I’ll tell Brother Nines or Brother Markus that you have them with you!”

Snorting while he threw Reese a sarcastic glance, Gavin flipped him off. “First off, asshole,” he growled out rudely, “no one likes a snitch, alright?”

Before he could continue, Mackenzie stuttered out, “We’ll be in trouble now, because we’re staying up late after curfew!!”

Gavin sighed wearily, “Holy shit, you guys have noooo life!!”

Shaking his head, Reese said, “That’s where you’re mistaken; we’re very happy here, because we’ve chosen to wake up from the illusions Satan has created!”

That was when Gavin Reed threw his head back and laughed. He laughed for the longest time. His hair fell into his eyes, and he had to cradle his sides and stomach as he nearly doubled over onto the floor. Still, he couldn’t stop laughing. When he’d had enough, he stood back upright, and he wiped his eyes with the back of a hand. Reese wasn’t amused at all, however, and neither were the rest of Gavin’s roommates.

“What do you think is so funny?” Patrick hissed out at Gavin, seemingly ready to attack him.

Gavin sighed once more, “You guys sound like the biggest losers on the planet, you know that?”

“And now you’re going to be one of us, whether you like it or not!” Reese cried out, turning over to the night table. He pulled out the top drawer, and as Gavin watched in silence, Reese pulled out a fresh set of neatly folded black dress pants, a black belt, black tie, and a pure white dress shirt.

Gavin reeled back from it. “The fuck—”

“Stop swearing,” Reese snapped bossily, “and from now on, you have to wear these; we all do!”

Staring around the room at them all, Gavin’s eyes grew wide with fear and worry when he saw that the boys were indeed all wearing the same uniform. Backing away, he wheezed out, “Hell no I’m not—”

“Hell isn’t a word we use around here a lot,” Travis warned, scratching his black, curly hair with a few fingers.

Gavin gasped, “But I—”

Shoving the clothes into his chest, Reese finally stood powerfully and pridefully before Gavin. The other boy fell down into the center of his bed, and he swallowed nervously up at Reese. The clothes were scattered onto his lap, and Gavin’s arms hung loosely and limply at his sides.

Leaning down, a most vicious sneer was upon Reese’s young face. “You will abide by the rules here, and sooner or later, you’ll have no choice but to be one of us.”

Gavin’s eyes turned glassy, and he didn’t move; not even when most of the lights in the dormitory went off, as did the rest of the lights in the large school.

“Welcome to the world of losers, Gavin Reed.”

Chapter Text

Nines ushered the last of his mixed group of students inside the classroom before he closed the door. Turning to face them all, he grinned widely as he announced, “Today we shall be having a small oral examination of sorts!”

The class groaned, but when he eyed them with an air of warning and caution in his eyes, they calmed down significantly. “Come on, young lads,” he chuckled out, “the Lord chastises those who are lazy, and remember; idle hands are the Devil’s workshop!!”

Nodding, they all soaked up his words while dressed in their Tuesday morning bests. Not a single wrinkle or crease was upon their white dress shirts, and they’d buttoned up to their necks like good, obedient children. With absolute perfect love and trust emanating and welling within himself, Nines stood tall before his class.

Clasping his hands together tightly, he said, “I’m going to ask you all to place yourselves in a real-life scenario, and—”

The door suddenly flew open, and then slammed shut just as quickly. Heavy footsteps dragged along the floors until they stopped at a vacant desk close to where the young Mexican boy named Carlos was seated.

Nines sneered at Gavin Reed. “You’re late,” he spat, “my class begins at 7:30 in the morning sharp, Mr. Reed, will that be an issue for you?”

Reese, as well as some older boys closer to his own age snickered while Gavin was reprimanded. The young sixteen-year-old however merely sighed, and then yawned while stretching his hands upwards. Although he was wearing the required uniform, Nines noticed that he’d gone out of his way to ‘bastardize’ the style. He was wearing the black dress pants, but he’d hung his belt down low to hang like an accessory while hooking it onto his pocket by his right thigh, and upon closer inspection, Nines noticed that Gavin had even punched plenty of unnecessary holes in the belt. His dress shirt was unbuttoned halfway through, and he was wearing a black muscle top beneath it.

Shaking his head in disgust and disapproval at the display, Nines reached forward, and he tugged at the belt hanging loosely down by Gavin’s thighs. “This isn’t a part of our dress code and uniform, young man,” he warned, and then Gavin slapped his hand away.

Backing away from Nines, Gavin cried out aggressively, “Don’t touch my shit!”

Snarling, Nines wrapped a bundle of papers he swiped off his desk, and after rolling them up tightly in a cylinder shape, he used it to smack Gavin in the arm. “Don’t curse in a school of Christ!” he warned, LED light red with fury that matched his emotions, “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap otherwise, Mr. Reed!”

Gavin huffed, but otherwise brushed his hands on his ‘uniform’. Nines glared at him from head to toe, and then stepped up closer. With anger directed at Gavin, he growled coldly, “Before lunchtime begins, I expect you to wear the required uniform properly. Have I made myself clear, Mr. Reed?”

Wanting more of the ‘show’, the rest of the students stared over at Gavin, as if anticipating an angry burst of a response. Instead, Gavin merely clenched his jaw, tightened his fists into balls, and stood defiantly. After some heavy moments of silence, he ground out, “It’s my body; my clothes.”

Nines inched closer to him, head titled down. “I’m sorry?” he snickered, “I might’ve misheard you…would you kindly repeat that for me?”

The students all grinned evilly at Gavin, knowing he was in a tight and uncomfortable position. He would either have to continuously rebel, or break down. The social tension and pressure were impossible to miss. All eyes were on Gavin Reed, and even the old clock on the wall at the front of the classroom slowed down…

Finally, Gavin grumbled something to himself, and Nines stood tall as he spoke out loudly, “I think this is a very good lesson for us all, and we have Mr. Reed here to thank…” gripping Gavin’s shoulders tightly, Nines shoved Gavin roughly towards his desk. “Everything has a limit; everything has a proper balance in the world. Defiance can only go so far…” eyes shining with malice, he snickered as he held his head high, much like an eagle surveying the fields for a tiny mouse to devour. “Respect for one’s elders shall be rewarded by the Lord, class,” he sighed out in pleasure, “respect for thine own self is one of the commandments, as well as honoring the authors of thy being; thy father and thy mother!!”

While the class clapped, Nines watched as Gavin threw himself into his wooden chair behind his desk, and he lowered his head and rested it on his arms. It appeared as though he was going to try and sleep, and Nines wasn’t having any of it.

“Continuing on with our exam and activity,” he stated loudly while steadily approaching Gavin’s desk, “we know in history that Tiberius, the second Roman emperor, forbade Judaism in Rome, and Claudius expelled them from the city. Jewish Persecution of Christians ran abundant as well...” pausing beside Gavin, he tapped the back of his head, and a weary eye peeked up at him.

Nines glared, and he saw the messy lengths of Gavin’s hair pouring down into his eyes, much like a curtain.

The sight of it made Nines sigh. “Cut your hair, for God’s sake,” he spat down with vitriol while Reese hid a devious smile behind a hand pressed against his mouth.

Moving on when Gavin snorted angrily, he carried the lesson onward. Eyeing Mackenzie whispering something to Travis and Greg, Nines extended a leg, and he kicked it lightly-much like a tap-on the desk legs. The teenagers snapped out of their conversation, blushing furiously.

Nines scowled at them, “The great conflict between the Church and the Synagogue and the gradual breakdown of the immense bureaucracy of the Roman imperial government both occurred during the fourth Christian century. This breakdown and the ever-growing influence of the ecclesiastical authority on the central government is visible in the Roman legislation of the century which dealt with the actual rights and privileges of the Jewish community. The Theodosian Code, a compilation of the mid-fifth century, does not contain all the legislation previously passed, but it probably contains all that was ever enforced or not withdrawn before 438. The Theodosian Code gives accurate dates and place locations from which laws and rescripts were promulgated; from these it is possible to reconstruct the progressive decline in privileges and security suffered by the Jews in the Roman Empire from 321 to 438.”

When he’d completed the memorized part of his text, he looked up beyond the classroom door’s glass insert, and he saw Brother Simon walking down the hall outside leisurely while on his break along with Brother Ralph. The androids stopped for a moment, waving and nodding their heads politely at Nines.

Nodding back, Nines then turned his first ‘quiz’ question to the class. He made an extra effort to ignore the gentle snores coming from Gavin’s desk, but Reese kicked the back of his chair. Gavin didn’t even stir, however.

Pointing down at his favorite student, Nines smiled, “Would you care to tell the class what the Theodosian Code teaches us, Reese?”

Beaming as though he’d been waiting all morning for the opportunity to show off what he knew, Rees stood up like a strong, bold solider. “The Theodosian Code shows us that those immunities which had been granted to the Jews by the pagan emperors, which had made them a privileged class dwelling within the Roman world, were continued by the Christian emperors!”

Nines clapped, “Excellent! We know that at the opening of the fourth century, Jews were classed as Roman citizens and enjoyed all the advantages of civic status. They were in every economic stratum of the empire; many were rich, many were poor,” he explained while standing in the center of the classroom and spinning in a slow, tiny circle so he could observe all his attentive students, “some were merchants, others artisans, and still others farmers. They had their own cult organizations called synagogues. If any Jew did not belong to such an organization, he had to pay the Roman government poll tax and sacrifice to the Roman gods.”

When he’d spun around full circle, Nines held his hands over his hips, and he merely shook his head while watching Gavin snore away. Reese made an attempt to kick his chair again, but Nines glared at him. Stopping dead in his tracks, Reese merely stared down into his desk, cheeks turning pink with shame.

Spinning back towards the front of the classroom, Nines drew his speech to an end. “Much of Christian hatred toward the Jews was based on the popular misconception-amazingly enough still prevalent-that the Jews had been the active persecutors of Christians for many centuries.” He stood before the blackboard, hands still on his hips. “All that being considered for further reflection at another time, we shall now proceed with our exam, class,” he announced loudly, and the students sat up to their full attention.

Placing a hand on his chest, Nines cried out, “I’m a Roman solider, and each and every one of you are dedicated Christians. I’ve caught you, however, as we’re living in Ancient Rome and there is a risk of you losing your lives simply for believing in a different God…”

The young twins Peter and Ronald gasped in fear, and a few other seven-year-olds mixed in with the class also trembled. Nines tried leaving all the other gory details out of it, but he knew that whatever he was going to say would be for their own good.

Rubbing a finger along the length of his throat in a horizontal motion, he yelled out, “Beheading!!”

A few of the younger ones did scream this time, and Gavin finally groaned as he held his head up slowly. He blinked hard a few times, stared at Nines, and then scoffed.

Ignoring him, Nines pressed on. “Beheading and decapitation was the norm simply for believing in and holding a difference of opinion, and now I ask each and every one of you, if you knew your life was almost at an end at the hands of the Roman soldiers, what would you do?”

A split-second worth of silence ebbed on before Reese bellowed out, “I would tell the Romans that I believe in Christ until the end and until I breathe my last breath!!”

Cheering for him, the entire class-including Nines-clapped and smiled from ear-to-ear.

“Well done, Reese!” Nines sighed out proudly, “having the love of Christ in your heart shall send you straight into his arms in heaven above!!” he then walked back to the blackboard, wrote the boy’s name on it, and placed a checkmark symbol beside his name. “You’ve passed the exam!!”

Grinning in pride, Reese sat back down and high-fived the other boys his own age around himself.

Nines looked through the rest of his class. Some of the students were almost leaping out of their seats with their arms stretched out. They were all so eager to answer, and he had no idea who to select first…

Randomly looking at Greg, Nines called upon him, and the boy answered, “I too would trust in Christ, and knowing I have his love and guidance, I will never tell the Romans I believe in any other God!!”

Again, rounds of applause went off in the room like firecrackers during a celebration.

Suddenly, before Nines could call upon Travis next, Gavin sat up and screamed angrily, “You guys are absolutely crazy for just being okay with having your heads chopped off just because ‘Jesus’ said so!”

Every jaw in the room fell open, and it got so quiet that one could hear a pin drop. The students all stared at Nines, next, and the android merely leaned against the edge of his desk while he eyed Gavin cautiously. “Mr. Reed,” he pressed out thinly and softly, “you seem to be of an entirely different opinion in this imaginary scenario, then?”

Snorting, Gavin scratched his long hair. “Well, yeah,” he shrugged, “I don’t want my head cut off, man!”

Reese fumed, “That’s why you’re going straight to purgatory, Reed!”

“I don’t care!” the boy argued back while throwing Reese a dull glare over his own shoulder, “if it’s gonna allow me to keep my head, I’m doin’ it.”

One of the seven-year-old boys who often woke up in the middle of the night from nightmares and terrors named Charlie gasped while his eyes almost were wet with tears, “B-but what about your soul??”

Gavin squinted at him, “My soul?”

“Yeah!” Charlie cried in response, “Brother Nines said that children who don’t believe in Jesus before they die will end up in limbo!”

Gavin sighed, “Oh for Christ’s sake…”

“Don’t use the Lord’s name in vain!” Reese warned him angrily, but Gavin ignored him.

Throwing his hands into the air, Gavin spun around in his seat, glaring away at everyone. “What’s wrong with you guys?” he cried out in confusion, eyes squinted at them all, “you seriously are prepared to die on the spot just because someone forces you to believe in their God?”

“What’s wrong with you, Reed?” Patrick snorted, waving a hand at Gavin, “you seriously want to abandon Christ so easily?”

Reese looked up at Nines as if begging him to stop the strange discussion going on, but Nines held up a hand. He wanted to let this continue. Usually, a discussion like this wouldn’t ever be permitted in Brother Simon’s class, Brother Josh’s, or even Brother Markus’ class. Nines didn’t even have the patience for the rebellion himself, but for some reason, he found himself growing curious about what Gavin’s motivation was for wanting to answer in the way he had…sure, he wouldn’t encourage anyone else to follow in Gavin’s footsteps, but there was something mysterious and…interesting about this young man…

Nines couldn’t stop himself from wanting to chase after the answers, and he moved over to stand behind the classroom’s lectern while he waited for Gavin to get ready to answer.

Sighing out loudly, Gavin sniffled next, and then rubbed his eyes. “Look,” he began as he directed his answer at the front of the room, “I don’t think there’s a single kid in here who would actually legit be okay with having their head cut off just because they—”

“I WOULD!” Reese screamed, and it made a few students leap up in their seats.

Gavin remained unaffected, however. “I don’t think so, dude,” he scoffed while staring at Reese for a brief moment, “not one dude in here would have me believe that when faced with the guillotine, you would all just grip your Rosary beads and say prayers and be all high and mighty!”

A few students whispered back and forth, and eventually, the room picked up in loud chatter. Majority of the death glares however went back and forth between Reese and Gavin.

Nines cleared his throat, and Gavin looked at the front of the room. Throwing the boy a half-nod, Nines seemed on the brink of explosion. His eyes twitched, his LED light was pure red, his nostrils flared, and his shoulders tightened into his body. “So you would deny Christ just like that, Mr. Reed?” he jeered judgmentally, shaking his head sadly.

Gavin winced, and then pushed out, “No, I mean, I’d just say that to the Romans so they wouldn’t cut off my damn head!” he then spoke to the rest of the class, “inside I would’ve believed in Christ, yeah, but why would I tell the Romans that?”

A few students suddenly seemed to agree with Gavin. They nodded slowly, whispering as they stared at him for many minutes. One by one, their hands went up, and a few boys cried out, “Can we change our answer, Brother Nines?”

Realizing what was happening, Nines began panicking internally.

Mutiny?

Oh no…that wouldn’t do at all.

In less than twenty minutes, this Gavin Reed had turned his entire class into a mockery and a joke, and he wasn’t going to have it. A student questioning him??? A student that young trying to show he knew it all and had all the answers in life?? No…Gavin Reed had nothing in the way of experience and intelligence, nor had he truly lived in the world long enough to have experienced the jading Nines had…

Why even bother comparing?

Nines had seen the world; Nines knew how evil men truly could be. Gavin was nothing, and he was a nobody.

Shaking his head while pinching the bridge of his nose, Nines pushed out with a pained breath in his lungs, “You all are missing the point, but especially you, Mr. Reed,” he started as he then lowered his hands and placed them in his lap. “The Devil asked Christ to deny God’s existence as well, and the Devil is still working in mysterious ways as we speak; we need to know that there is life beyond death, and those who stay loyal to God will be rewarded in His heavenly kingdom, now and forever.”

The room grew quiet, and Nines seized the opportunity to zone in on Gavin alone as his lips formed his words effortlessly. “If our Lord Jesus-when He was in agony because of our sins- denied His loyalty to God, then where would we all be today?? Hmm?”

A few ‘ohs’, and ‘ahas’ went on in the room, and the light bulbs in his students’ minds turned on suddenly.

Nines nodded, “Yes, that is precisely why we should all focus on abandoning all attachments to the mortal and physical, material world here, and we need to instead bring ourselves to account in order for ourselves to do better each day, learn each day, grow our minds and spirits, and bring ourselves closer and closer to our Father’s heavenly kingdom.”

Not wanting to listen and accept this, Gavin merely sat back and scoffed.

Nines wasn’t put off by this, yet. Moving away from the lectern, he wanted to approach Gavin, but he still had a point to make. He then moved backwards until his back hit the blackboard. Grabbing a bit of chalk, he wrote Gavin’s name on the board, and beside it, instead of placing a checkmark, he crudely fashioned an ‘x’.

Glaring away at it, Gavin’s jaw fell, but Nines answered it all for him.

“You’ve failed, Mr. Reed,” Nines announced, dropping the chalk on top of his desk when he had no use for it anymore. He brushed his hands together, wiping the chalk dust off, and he offered Gavin nothing short of a cruel sneer.

Gavin merely shrugged apathetically, “I don’t give a fuck,” he spat out rudely.

Everyone let out a shocked gasp, and Nines’ brow furrowed in anger.

With fists tightly clenched, he steadily approached Gavin’s desk. “I beg your pardon, Mr. Reed?” he asked in a menacing tone normally reserved for the extra misbehaved students. It always worked on them, making them immediately cower in fear. But it had no affect on Gavin Reed whatsoever, sadly. The boy defiantly met Nines’ glare equally.

Not wanting to be made a fool of before everyone else, Nines pointed down at the classroom floor. “I feel the appropriate punishment for your foul language right now is at least thirty pushups, Mr. Reed.”

The rest of the class seemed to feel that was a good choice, and they waited for a reaction while they watched Gavin closely. Eventually, the boy got up, and he lazily swayed about in the isles of desks. He was deliberately taking his time, but when he got to the front of the classroom, he sarcastically saluted Nines.

Taken aback by the raw rudeness and attitude displayed unlike any he’d ever seen before, Nines huffed, “You should be grateful, Mr. Reed; anyone else in your position would’ve received much worse in the way of a punishment.”

“He should bow down before you, Brother Nines!” Reese suggested, and while the rest of the class exploded out in their suggestions, Gavin held up his hands. While Nines watched with wide eyes, Gavin got down, but rather than assuming the position of doing a push up, Gavin pursed his lips, and his face hovered by Nines’ black dress shoes.

Peeking up once at the android, Gavin grinned confidently, “Shall I kiss the feet you walk on then, your Majesty?”

“What’re you—”

Suddenly, right then and there in broad daylight in front of the entire class, Gavin inched forward, and he planted a kiss right on Nines’ shoes. The boy actually kissed his dress shoes. Nines blinked hard, but that didn’t change facts, not even when he rubbed his eyes.

Gavin Reed was still passionately kissing his shoes as if his life depended on it.

He even went so far as to even ‘French kiss’ the shoes. Sticking his tongue out, Gavin open mouth kissed the shoes, and he tongued the laces sensually. He gave his all into the kiss, and his cheeks turned deep pink while he unleashed a flurry of pecks and sweet licks up and down and then side to side along the shoes. Afterwards, he lowered his hips to the floor, and he moaned lustfully while rubbing his crotch all along the floors.

At once, all the students-except Reese-burst out in boisterous laughter. They truly were enjoying themselves, and they began egging Gavin on while they shouted out for him to keep going, to do other funny things, and just continue to make them all laugh. The classroom turned into a menagerie of zoo-like beasts, practically, and the levels of noise were just too much for Nines to handle.

Gavin leapt back up to his feet pumping a fist into the air. “Booya!” he cried out in zeal, “what’d ya think of that, Nines?”

As everyone laughed harder and louder, Nines felt the last bits of his control leaving. Watching as the entire class laughed while pointing at him as though he were a part of a freak show circus, Nines felt something inside himself snap. His LED light flashed multiple colors, and he cocked his head down at Gavin while the boy smirked up at him.

Enough was enough.

Seeing red shades behind his eyes, Nines lashed out, and he gripped Gavin’s shirt collar tightly in a strong hand. The boy tried backing away, but Nines didn’t let him. Dragging Gavin roughly towards the classroom door, Nines pushed out the rounds of laughter still echoing in his audio receptors. It was a lot quieter in the halls, and he was more than pleased to kick his classroom door shut on all the other noises emanating out of the students.

“Where are you taking me??” Gavin cried out in a panicked voice.

Nines was seething, but he thought of the exact place he was heading into with Gavin. The boy could struggle all he wanted, but Nines wasn’t letting him go anytime soon, not until they finished what they’d started.

What they’d started of course was a game and rivalry of wits and nerves, and Nines wanted to win it. There was no way he was going to lose to a silly, bratty child. Not after he’d worked so hard for everything in his life up until this very point.

No, Nines wasn’t a quitter, nor was he a failure.

He was going to win this time.

Chapter Text

Nines held tightly onto Gavin’s hand, and while the boy wriggled and struggled in his grip, the irate android made sure to hook onto him even tighter. The boy was effectively trapped in a dead lock of a vice-like grip, and while he hissed and winced under his breath, Nines smirked while they approached the staircase.

Knowing exactly where they were headed, Nines ascended the steps with Gavin Reed kicking wildly behind him. Ignoring the boy’s minor, weak displays of anger and vitriol, Nines led him down the halls until they reached the stairwell leading to the third floor. A lot of empty classrooms were on this level of the school, and during the late afternoons, many ill-mannered boys were ordered to wash, clean, or organize the classrooms if there was a call for it.

Otherwise, rebellious children had to pray in these empty classrooms and were permitted to come out of the rooms before nightfall.

Nines had no idea what kind of a plan he had for Gavin Reed, as the classroom number 305 was very clean already. They moved along the halls slowly, and Nines poked his head in each and every room after 305 until they’d soon come to the end of the hall. Perhaps cleaning wasn’t in store for the boy after all…

Still gripping Gavin’s arm viciously, Nines began yanking him towards the other side of the hall when he heard Gavin screaming out profanities at him. It appeared as though the teenager had been cursing and cussing the entire time.

So be it, then.

Nines loved how this young man was fighting and struggling, and hearing the horrific, colorful language pouring liberally out of Gavin Reed didn’t bother him at all.

No, he was enthused by it.

This was a rather strange occurrence and reaction even for Nines himself. Normally, he’d abhorred children who couldn’t respect their elders, and Gavin Reed definitely lacked having any respect for others, especially authority figures. His vibrant swear words should’ve made Nines recoil in anger, contempt, disregard for the boy, and a whole litany of other harsh judgements…and yet, he was feeling lighter than a cloud, and he felt he couldn’t be happier…

Why was he happy to begin with?!

He felt so out of place and as if he’d been bewitched, but he ignored it as he pressed on while Gavin aimed a particularly nasty, strong kick to the back of his left thigh.

Not even bothering to stop him, Nines rounded a corner, ready to enter another stairwell. Perhaps they could try their luck on the top floor where the chapel was located…yes, that was a decent enough option, it seemed…

Unfortunately, they’d been interrupted, soon. Nines nearly crashed into Brother Markus. The android was carrying a Bible in one hand, and a small, white basket of freshly baked bread with a few wrapped roses piled neatly in another corner of the basket. He eyed both Nines and Gavin with mild alertness and a red LED light. After seeing how forcefully Gavin was struggling, a knowing smile was upon his youthful features, and his LED light turned a calm, soothing blue.

“Brother Nines,” he greeted gently with a head nod, “already struggling, I see…” his eyes glowed with joy, seemingly at the challenge and ‘suffering’ Nines himself was going through.

Holding the boy back tightly, Nines held his head up. He had the advantage of height against Brother Markus, however, the android with heterochromia merely pursed his lips, and then the corners of them turned up in a cheerful mockery of a grin. Nines saw right through the act, but he held back on lashing out at Brother Markus. For the most part, Nines stayed away from too much gossip and chatter with the Brothers. A lot of them were pleasant, obedient, and rather entertaining at times, but Brother Markus was entirely different. During his five years at Christ’s Lamb Reformatory School, Nines had done well to observe and learn about the character traits and personalities of each and every Android Brother.

Brother Ralph was often quite dramatic, opinionated, loud-spoken, moody, quirky, and a tad bit of an oddball. A lot of his eccentric behaviors displayed had led Father Anderson to only permit the android to teach drama, art, dance, and theatre classes. As such, every android had their own personal seat of talents they contributed to the children for the purposes of their education.

Brother Simon had wonderful musical talents, and he taught the boys music and singing. Brother Josh was quite intellectual and studious, and he loved reading books. He often worked in the school library, but would also teach the boys history classes, geography classes, as well as minor political studies.

Brother Markus however…well, Nines didn’t particularly think ill of his own Brother serving as ‘God’s Eyes’, but he knew of Markus’ talents and skills, and he knew better than to truly get involved with the android’s tasks. Brother Markus was approachable and friendly, and while a lot of the students liked him, Nines himself didn’t. Whenever he’d approached Brother Markus, he couldn’t help but feel that the android simply knew more than he cared to share. There was always a strange, dark look in the android’s eyes, and it resembled something cunning, highly alert, but also somewhat vicious…

Nines knew he could smell his own kind on Brother Markus, which was why at this precise moment, he hated that it’d been Markus they’d run into.

Holding Gavin tightly, Nines remained calm before breathing out, “It’s nothing I can’t handle, Brother Markus.”

The android beamed at him while clasping his hands together, “Of that, I have no doubts at all, Brother Nines,” he then turned his odd-colored eyes over to Gavin, and he smiled wider and brighter. “You’re in good hands, young one,” Brother Markus began standing closer to a classroom door, backing away inside it while his eyes gleamed, “do your best to listen to Brother Nines, and you shall be rewarded in due course.”

Gavin groaned before he tried scratching at Nines’ hand, but he remained silent while Brother Markus stared at them both for a few more odd seconds before he bowed his head. Nines replicated the same move, and then Brother Markus finally backed away inside classroom 308.

“Good day, Brother Nines,” he said with a tiny smile in both his eyes and on his lips.

Nines kept his head bowed, still and only when Brother Markus had closed and locked the classroom door did Nines finally whip around and scowl down at Gavin. The boy visibly shrank from it while wincing.

“What?” he spat out, and Nines yanked him down the hall and into the stairwell.

Silently, he’d decided that it was now time to head into the chapel. Their footsteps crunched and stomped down on each and every stone step, and Gavin groaned and grumbled while his hair swished about over his forehead and eyes.

Trying not to stare at him, Nines repressed his feelings of contempt and repulsion for the boy, and he instead tried to picture how serene and lovely the chapel would be. The door was before them in no time, and Nines practically sighed in relief when he grabbed the door handle and pushed down on it. The door happily swung open for them, and rather than entering swiftly, Nines shoved Gavin inside, first.

As the boy stumbled in, Nines stared around the empty chapel, and he felt grateful that no one else seemed to be here in the early morning. Only the statues of Mary, Jesus, lambs, children in valleys and lands, as well as other Biblical figures mounted on pedestals, by the walls, and around the pews stood staring at them. The entire chapel smelled and looked radiant, clean, orderly, and the morning sun poured generously forth in through the colorfully decorated and designed windowpanes bearing interesting religious designs and shapes. Doves flying high in the clouds breezed past the skylight and windows, and strange shadows reflected on the glass and walls whenever clouds casually covered the sun due to the strong winds billowing around in the sky.

Another lovely day, and Nines had to wonder how far Gavin Reed was going to go to ruin it…but he still had a lovely punishment prepared for the boy, and that thrilled and delighted him greatly.

Eyeing Gavin like a hawk, Nines grabbed a black-covered thick Bible, and he practically had to shove it in the boy’s tightly clenched fists. They struggled with each other for a moment, but the android easily overpowered the smaller, weaker human boy, and in no time, Gavin held the Bible in both hands whilst glaring away at Nines freely.

“Pray,” Nines hissed, “if not for your own sins, then for your father’s and mother’s.”

Gavin snapped, “What the hell do they have to do with me?!?”

Ignoring the profanity, Nines smiled, “Honor the authors of thy being, son; thy father, and thy mother.”

Gavin rolled his eyes and let out such a strong puff of air, that it made his bangs hanging into his eyes move upwards a little. “Do I have to?” he asked with great attitude in his voice, thick and raw.

A cold sneer was his response, and then it was followed up with dead silence.

Gavin stared at Nines until he himself felt uncomfortable. Groaning, Gavin whispered out in the empty, large chapel, “Looks like I’ve got no other choice, huh?”

Nines was still silent.

Sighing, Gavin grabbed the Bible, flipping it open towards a prayer or segment on ‘forgiveness’ while Nines sat down on the pew closest to him. Petting the spot next to himself, Nines mutely motioned for Gavin to join him, and the boy reluctantly crashed down onto the wooden pew.

Holding the Bible open, his eyes swam over paragraphs and verses, and when he’d been about to flip through more pages just to waste more time, Nines finally stuck a hand out. His finger latched onto a page, and Gavin shyly looked up at him with curious eyes.

“Stop right here,” Nines ordered, “remember to read out loud.”

Swallowing nervously, Gavin’s eyes quickly glossed over the verse, and then he backed away and turned his nose up from it. “I won’t—”

“Stop wasting my time,” Nines growled, “the sooner you repent and ask for forgiveness, the better.”

Gavin laughed a dry, pained laugh while shaking his head, “I didn’t do anything wrong, Nines,” he pointed out evenly, “why should I have to beg for forgiveness?”

Nines’ eyes squinted at him in a warning. “You’ve got to learn to swallow your pride and ask for forgiveness, Gavin,” he snarled, “it’s nothing shameful.”

“I know, but—”

“No arguing,” Nines growled, and he shoved the Bible right against the boy’s sturdy chest. When Gavin stared at the Bible, and then at Nines, and then once more at the Bible, Nines’ upper lip curled back, and he growled again in a low warning.

“Okay, okay!” Gavin cried out, and he let out one final groan before he closed his eyes, counted to ‘three’ and then held the Bible out before himself steadily.

“O Lord, Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior, forgive my sins, just as You forgave Peter’s denial and those who crucified You,” Gavin began in a confident tone of voice, though it wavered from time to time, “count not my transgressions, but, rather, my tears of repentance. Remember not my iniquities, but, more especially, my sorrow for the offenses I have committed against You.” Pausing, he stared over at Nines, and the android merely folded his hands in his lap before he nodded for Gavin to continue.

The boy sighed, “I long to be true to Your Word, and pray that You will love me and come to make Your dwelling place within me. I promise to give You praise and glory in love and in service all the days of my life.”

Now that he was finished, he closed the Bible, and he glared at Nines. “There! I did it!” he barked out, “are you happy, now?!?”

Nines smiled a cold smile, “You should seek the Lord’s happiness and blessings first, Gavin,” he reminded the boy while still resting his hands in his lap, “you’ll find that your own happiness truly relies on that of the Lord’s.”

Gavin shrugged, “Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

Irritation seeped into Nines’ system once again. He hadn’t been expecting for Gavin to just shrug off the punishment so easily, and he felt he had to come up with something else immediately to challenge the boy with. However, before Nines could actually dream up the punishment, Gavin hissed out something under his breath.

Had Nines not been as advanced of an android as he currently was, he wouldn’t have caught it the first time. But he had, and he’d heard Gavin Reed hiss out in a volume of voice no louder than that of a serpent’s, “I wish my mom would’ve shut her slut mouth for even suggestin’ to my dad to send me to this messed up school!”

While the young boy sat with his arms folded across his chest, eyes cast down to the floor in deep-seated hatred, Nines could almost see a strange glow rising off the boy’s shoulders. He hadn’t been able to recognize what it was at first, but due to his experiences and abilities to read through most troubled youth, Nines finally understood what was powering and firing up this young Gavin Reed.

It was nothing but rebellion.

Rebellion in its truest form.

The boy clearly had no respect for the Brothers in the school, and Nines had already seen how Gavin Reed had treated Father Anderson. This youngster feared and respected not a single soul except himself. He was conceited, selfish, and nothing but a spoiled brat who took everyone in his own life seriously for granted…and he seemed to loathe his own mother…

No, this was no good.

Sneering at him, Nines stared up at the fancily decorated ceiling looming high and mighty above their heads. “So you don’t even respect the woman who brought you into this world after God bestowed and granted the gift of life upon you?”

He wasn’t waiting for an answer. He turned back to Gavin, “I detest bratty children who can’t respect women-especially their own mothers.”

Already, Gavin was fumbling and stumbling for words to piece together an excuse. His cheeks turned bright punk, and his breath caught in his throat while his eyebrows furrowed and tightened along his brow ridge.

Nines shook his head and held up a hand. “I don’t wish to hear it, Gavin,” he stated calmly, and the boy gave up eventually.

Glaring heatedly at him until it hurt Nines more than Gavin, the android spat viciously and cruelly, “I want for you to sit on this very spot, don’t move an inch, and I want you to give me five ‘Hail Marys’.”

He stood to his full height, and he placed his long arms down by his sides while he tilted his head down at Gavin. It gave the boy a creepy vibe, and he shivered as he rolled his eyes back and groaned.

“I can’t!” he cried out, eyes still shut.

Nines said, “You will, otherwise, I’m not going to allow you to leave this room.”

Opening his angry eyes, Gavin peered right into the center of Nines’ eyes, and he’d done so in such a dramatic, angry manner, that the tall android nearly crashed down and fell to the floor from it. Picking himself and his strange emotional reaction off, Nines merely brushed himself off, and he folded his arms down over his lap.

“Do it.”

Making eye contact with the boy, Nines held up an index finger. “One.”

Gavin inhaled, and then closed his eyes. “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”

“Two,” Nines counted, “you have to carry on until five!”

Gavin’s eyes remained tightly shut, and he continued a little faster. “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”

“Three, a little louder,” Nines encouraged while he stood back and stared at Gavin up and down completely, taking his time with it.

Gavin paused, but then ground out, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen!”

“I can’t hear you, four!”

Raising his voice, Gavin almost screamed out, “Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus!! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen!!”

It still wasn’t enough.

“LOUDER!” Nines screamed out as well, “SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT, MR. REED!”

Finally standing up, Gavin threw his head back, and he cried out as though he’d been breathing for the last time in his entire life. “Hail Mary, full of grace!! The Lord is with thee!! Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus!!! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen!!”

His lungs no doubt burned terribly, but he stood before Nines just the same. The height difference was too much, but it seemed as if the boy didn’t care; he stood and didn’t even blink at Nines until his eyes grew red. He wiped them with the back of his hand, sniffling and then blinking rapidly many times.

Nines held out his hands, and he pet Gavin’s head. A huge, wide smile was upon the android’s face, and while he ruffled Gavin’s hair, he whispered, “Well done, my child, well done.”

He was forgiven.

All would be well…for now.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Kicking the dormitory door closed almost violently, Gavin stumbled close towards his own bed shortly after supper. It was almost eight o’clock, but he felt exhausted enough with the day’s events to want to at least have a small nap just to recuperate and get his energy back.

During dinner, Gavin hardly ate much, and it was because he’d been far too pissed to even enjoy the meal. Hell, he didn’t even remember what they’d served…he supposed it’d been turkey meat with mashed potatoes, rice, and a side dish of steamed vegetables…perhaps.

The dining hall was huge and grand, filled with long rectangular, thick tables, and rows upon rows of students seated at the benches while they feasted by candlelight. At the front of the room was the staff table, but since the Android Brothers didn’t eat, they merely used their vast, long table to their advantage, and they’d stared at the students the entire time. A few fights and arguments had broken out among some of the rowdier fourteen and fifteen-year-old students, and the androids had rushed in to pacify the irate boys whilst also ushering them out of the dining hall hurriedly.

Through it all, Gavin had looked up to catch Brother Nines watching him with a very odd look upon his face…

Truthfully, Gavin had no idea what made Brother Nines stare at him so bluntly and obviously, but the android hardly took his eyes off Gavin. At first, Gavin didn’t care a lot about it, but soon, it grew to be a major issue. For one, it made the sixteen-year-old feel far too uncomfortable. He stopped eating altogether, and while he glared at Nines, the android merely smiled and grinned pleasantly at him while a hand rested beneath his shapely chin.

The android and the teenager soon engaged in their own ‘staring contest’, and Gavin lost when he blinked many times and had just been distracted by a few younger boys whose names he still hadn’t learned. The children ran around him, offering him sweets and cookies, but Gavin ignored them and tried getting back to his staring contest with Nines. When he’d looked up the last time, Nines’ spot at the table was vacant, and the android was nowhere to be seen.

Fucker.

Now, Gavin couldn’t seem to erase away the cold, blank-yet creepy-face of Brother Nines from his eyes and mind. Anytime he blinked, he saw that android’s stupid face, and it made him want to claw his own eyes out.

Grumbling, he’d nearly made it to his bed, when his feet knocked into something, and the object went skittering across the floors.

“SHIT!” Gavin cried out in fear, and then he heard a loud hiss of a, “SHHHH!!!”

“Huh?”

Staring down at the floor where the noise had come from, Gavin’s eyes adjusted to a tiny little light shining from beneath the bed closely aligned next to his own. Two eyes gleamed out at him suddenly, and he nearly leapt up towards the ceiling in fear when he saw shiny eyeglasses resting on the bridge of Mackenzie’s nose. The boy had been lying down on the floor beneath his own bed, and he pushed his long, blonde hair back over his shoulders before tying it back in a tight ponytail.

Gavin glared at him, “Who the hell are you again?”

Mackenzie smiled as he inched and wriggled out from underneath his bed. Holding out a dirty hand before Gavin for the other boy to shake, he whispered proudly, “Mackenzie Armstrong, at your service!”

Gavin turned away from his dirty hand, “Gavin Reed.”

“Yeah, I know,” Mackenzie giggled, the white of his dress shirt uniform almost a horrible light-yellow color from the dirt, “you were hilarious in class this morning, Reed!”

While Gavin stared around the dormitory, he wondered why it was mostly empty, but he supposed that in a school full of energetic young boys, perhaps eight o’clock was still too early to go to bed. Curfew wasn’t even until ten, anyway…

Shrugging when he remembered his stupidity that same morning, Gavin grumbled out, “Well apparently, Brother Nines didn’t think it was all that cute, man, so whatever.” He shrugged out of his uniform, and he flung it on top of his messy bed while running his fingers through his long, messy hair.

While he sat down on the edge of the bed and kicked off his heavy boots, he glared at Mackenzie. The boy had fingerprints all over his glasses, and he truly looked like one big mess. Paper and other bits of dust and dirt clung to the ends of his ponytail, which had horrible split ends…

Mackenzie merely gave a half-shrug, “Brother Nines is a bit of a ‘hard-ass’, as Greg and Travis often call him!”

Gavin raised a curious eyebrow at this, “Wah?” he let out a chuckle, “thought you guys liked Brother Nines!”

Mackenzie shook his head, “I guess some of us do for sure, but I personally think he’s a shitty teacher; he’s way too hard of a marker, and he’s too fuckin’ strict.”

Hearing the other boy swearing and cursing at the android, Gavin felt pleased, but then, that feeling had been quickly replaced by suspicion. He couldn’t help but push out hurriedly, “Wait, if you hate Brother Nines so much and think he sucks as a teacher, why do you all work so hard on tryin’ to impress him?”

When he’d asked this question, Gavin hadn’t been expecting for Mackenzie to appear a little frightened, suddenly. Still, whatever Gavin had been holding as far as an expectation was concerned truly didn’t measure up much to reality. Mackenzie indeed was frightened of something, and Gavin’s eyes weren’t playing tricks on him at all. The other boy pushed his glasses up with a pinky finger by sliding it back up the length of his nose bridge, and his eyes darted around the room quickly for a moment before he just cleared his throat and then shifted his weight from foot to foot.

Gavin snorted, “Don’t wanna talk about it, huh?”

Mackenzie only offered him silence, and Gavin sighed.

“Fuck it.”

He turned back to undressing for the night, when he heard Mackenzie shifting. The boy with the beady eyes and worried expression nervously tugged on his ponytail before whispering out softly, “Brother Nines doesn’t really get angry often, but I’ve heard from Brother Ralph that there’s a reason why we should never aim to actually make Brother Nines angry…even by accident…”

This caught Gavin’s curiosity. Pushing his shoes down and away from his feet, he sat up cross-legged on his bed. His hands were nervously shaking, but he held his breath for a brief second before he licked his lips to moisten them. Eyeing Mackenzie warily, he asked, “Has Brother Nines ever hit you guys?”

The question seemed to knock Mackenzie off his fear for a moment. He recoiled from Gavin and his question, nose scrunched up and eyes wrinkled behind his thick eyeglasses frame and lenses as he hissed out, “No!! I don’t think any of the Brothers would do that, Gavin!!”

Gavin visibly deflated when he got his answer. He didn’t know why, but for some reason, he’d been so sure that at least Brother Nines had hit or physically assaulted someone…he seemed as though he could do it. After all, physically, he was enormous and tall, and no doubt strong, from the looks of it.

Placing his hands on either side of his body, Gavin relaxed a little. “I don’t get why ya’ll are scared of him, then,” he scoffed, “if he hasn’t hit anyone or done anything weird, then it’s safe to say that he’s just all talk, right?”

“I wouldn’t want to actually be the one to test that shit out one day, Gavin,” Mackenzie responded bluntly, adjusting his glasses again, “no one has ever actually seen Brother Nines get mad, but we’ve seen the other Android Brothers when they are mad.”

Gavin shrugged, “So?”

“So they’re all not that bad,” Mackenzie explained, “I mean to say that they always lay their cards on the table. Like, for example,” he began while chewing on his dry and cracked lower lip, “I know that if I do crazy shit in Brother Simon’s class, he’ll yell at me a bit and then ask me to leave class. And if I slack around in Brother Markus’ courses, he’ll dish out extra homework, make me write lines, and sometimes just throw a sarcastic comment here and there paired with a dirty look or two!”

Gavin caught on, “But you guys haven’t seen Brother Nines angry at all…”

“We fear what we haven’t seen,” Mackenzie stated while wringing his hands nervously, and then decided he was going to stuff his hands in his dress pants pockets. From his body language, Gavin still felt he was hiding a lot, but he chose to ignore it. He was lucky that this strange kid was even talking to him and trusting him enough to provide him with this information, so he chose not to push Mackenzie’s buttons and force him to go beyond his limits and comfort zones.

“We like Brother Nines when he’s oblivious to what we’re doing behind closed doors, which is why we just act our best in front of him!”

That cleared some of it up, as Gavin himself had long since mastered the art of manipulation and used it against his parents whenever he’d lied to them about going to classes in his high school while he’d skipped to either smoke, do drugs, shop lift, hang out with his friends, play video games, or try and hook up with girls. It hardly surprised him that the boys here were also playing the manipulation game, but he still didn’t buy everything that was going on.

“What about Reese?” he asked gently, and Mackenzie’s eyes widened a little.

Chuckling, Mackenzie shook his head, “Reese is seriously a lost cause, man,” he explained while grinning widely, “he’s one of the only kids close to our age, and who isn’t an ‘Elder’ who legit is so fuckin’ gay for Brother Nines it’s not even funny.”

Nodding, Gavin chuckled, “Yeah I mean, I figured he’d want to just bend down and suck Brother Nines right off, given how much he pays attention to the damn android.”

“I think it’s because he seriously looks up to Brother Nines,” Mackenzie theorized while humming, “I don’t know otherwise, and quite frankly, I don’t give a shit.”

Frankly, Gavin was starting to feel the same way. As long as the boys here weren’t being abused or taken advantage of by any of the staff members, then he supposed he just had to wait things out, pretend to be ‘decent’, and the sooner he did that, the better it was, and that meant the faster he’d be getting clean out of this place.

On the plus side, it would help if he had a friend or two, he thought.

Grinning playfully at Mackenzie, he pointed beneath the bed, “Were you smokin’ weed or something?”

The other boy answered, “Nope!”

Gavin sighed wearily, “The fuck were you doin’ beneath the beds then anyway?”

It was now Mackenzie’s turn to smirk, “You know that box you kicked accidentally?”

“Yeah?”

“I had a few mice I caught from the fields in it.”

Gavin gasped, “As pets?”

Mackenzie laughed, “Nah man, I just had them in there because I was gonna light them on fire later tonight.”

This had taken Gavin completely by surprise. Upon first glance at Mackenzie, Gavin truly felt that the boy was a huge nerd. It wasn’t just the glasses or his overall appearance that brought Gavin to this conclusion; it was just how shy, quiet, reserved, and odd Mackenzie seemed to be. But now? He was openly admitting to setting mice on fire?

Looks truly were deceiving.

Gavin winced, “Why do you wanna do somethin’ that messed up, bruh?”

Mackenzie giggled almost impishly, “I’m an arsonist, Gavin; it’s just what I do…” a strange, creepy glare rose off his glasses, and he leaned down close to Gavin as he whispered, “…if you wait until it’s real dark, then light up the mice, they run straight ahead because they’re in pain, right, and imagine this: perfectly dark night; nothing but the darkest of the dark…and then suddenly,” he made a wooshing and then a zipping noise with his mouth, “like a spark in the darkness, you see something bright and lit up just dash in front of you, and then it just…stops…” he dropped his hands to his sides, “…it doesn’t move, and the light just…fades…heehee!!”

The rather graphic description of his favorite pastime truly disturbed Gavin, but he supposed that if all the boys in the reformatory school were problem-free to begin with, none of them would be here after all…

“Oh…” Gavin then sighed in defeat, “…well, I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover after all!”

Waving a hand in the air at him, Mackenzie sat down after he’d grabbed his ‘mouse box’ up off the floor. Holding it on his lap, he peeked down at his mice from the little crudely fashioned holes he’d made in the box. “It’s all good,” he sang out, “I don’t really care if you think I’m sick or if I have a problem; after all, we’re all fucked up in some way, right Gavin?”

Considering this for a long time, Gavin eventually decided it was true. He himself was far from perfect, and he wasn’t going to spend his already-shitty summer lying to a guy who could potentially be his friend. Friends were tough to come by already in his life, and now that he was forcefully stuck in hell, he supposed it would be better to accept things as they were.

Grabbing a pillow, he placed it beneath his chest, and then laid himself down over it and his mattress. The accessories weren’t exactly comfortable, but he made do with them as he stared at Mackenzie. “Can I call you ‘Mac’ for short?”

The other boy glanced up at him slowly, and then a warm glow was in his eyes. Smiling widely at Gavin, he chirped out eagerly, “Yeah! My folks call me ‘Mac’ a lot, so yeah, totally, Gavin!”

“Great,” Gavin turned around, and he lay on his bed as he folded his arms beneath his head.

As he closed his eyes and just listened to Mackenzie fumbling and moving around, he found that he was soon lulled and pulled into a deep sleep in minutes.

Unfortunately, he’d been plagued by strange nightmares the entire night.

Chapter Text

Gavin suddenly was violently pulled out of his dreams by a rough, heavy force slamming down onto his bed. Rearing up in fright, his eyes flew open, and he gasped when he was face-to-face with a seven-year-old child. This young boy was Charlie Snow. The platinum blonde haired, ice-cold blue-eyed child was dressed in his uniform already, but he’d also been wearing a tiny blue bandana over his face, and a black eyepatch over his right eye.

“YARRR!” he cried out loudly, and Gavin saw Charlie waving around in his face a tiny, stick-thin makeshift little toy sword.

Rolling his eyes at the childish display, Gavin asked, “What time is it?”

Charlie growled, “A pirate doesn’t care for time!!! Yarrr!!!”

Gavin grabbed his sheets in his hands, and he stared out the large windows at the rising sun. It seemed still too early for all this to be happening, but before he could speak up again, the eight-year-old identical twins Peter and Ronald also leapt up on his bed. They ran about with Charlie, their little legs weighing down over Gavin’s while they played and screamed in excitement.

It was all too much for Gavin to take this early in the morning. He groaned as he held a hand over his right ear, and he stared around in the rest of the dormitory. Oddly enough, most of the other boys were already out of bed. Their beds were tidied and made, and Gavin saw a few of the other students bustling about as they entered and exited the large bathroom adjacent to the large dormitory.

He hated waking up early, and he hated busy mornings.

While the youngsters continuously chased each other on his bed, Gavin looked around, and through his headache and sore, tired eyes, he saw Reese standing by his own bed, already showered and clean, buttoning up his uniform dress shirt. The teenager had neatly buttoned up all the way to the second last button, and he paused as he fingered the round white buttons for a moment. It appeared as though he was almost internally debating on whether or not to fully button it up, it seemed…

Or so Gavin thought.

When Reese noticed Gavin staring at him, he turned his head over to him, and he sneered.

Instinctively, Gavin sneered back.

Before he could do much else, Charlie took his ‘sword’, and he made a small ‘x’ motion over Gavin’s heart upon his chest.

“YARRR!!! X marks the spot, matie!!” Charlie giggled out, “I shall now gather my men to dig up the treasure!! Arrr!!!”

Peter frowned while shaking his head at Charlie, “You can’t find treasure there!!”

“Yes I can,” Charlie argued back, tugging lightly at Gavin’s shirt.

Shaking his head in mild annoyance, Gavin chuckled softly. He hated to admit it, but these boys suddenly reminded him of his younger, baby brother…it’d been almost three years since he’d seen little Elijah…

Shaking himself out of the sad memory, Gavin drowned out the argument Peter, Charlie, and Ronald had gotten into.

“A pirate knows where he’s buried his treasure, and ‘x’ means the treasure’s mine!” Charlie cried out, cheeks puffy and red while he tugged at his eyepatch.

Gavin gently picked the boy up, and he placed him down on the floor as he got up and wandered off towards the bathroom slowly. He didn’t want to think about it, but given how quickly the rest of the students were moving, he assumed something big was going on for today’s schedule. He didn’t like it, but a part of his curiosity wondered what was going to happen today.

Following him closely, Charlie, Peter, and Ronald chased after him, all while still arguing with each other.

Making a reach for his ‘sword’, Ronald cried out, “I put a curse on my treasure, and no one can touch it!!”

“I still don’t think you buried your treasure on Gavin, Charlie!!!” Peter screamed in anger, but Charlie skipped on ahead right behind Gavin.

Giggling, the playful, innocent child threw over his shoulder in a funny pirate accent, “Yarrr!! I did, and ye can’t prove a thing wrong in that, matie!!”

Gavin snickered while shaking his head in exhaustion, “Dead man’s chest, alright.”

At least he found he still had his sense of humor, thank god. In a place like this, humor was all that was getting Gavin through his days. Even now in the super large bathrooms and shower rooms, Gavin braced himself as he picked up a clean, white towel off a long row of shelves bearing the towels, a bar of soap, a shampoo bottle, as well as a tiny tube of conditioner. He felt he didn’t need the conditioner a lot, so he dumped it into the large, black garbage can against the wall of the entryway to the shower room.

Plenty of boys were already either showering or finishing up their showers in the center of the room. Steam and water sprayed about while they all stood behind white, thin shower curtains, and suds, soap, and more water drained down along the blue and green tiles and swirled down the tiny drains installed every couple of feet in the floors. Mirrors stood a few feet away from the showering area right on the walls above sinks where a few boys were fixing their hair up, drying off, and brushing their teeth. Long rows of benches supported a few more boys while they dressed quickly into their school uniforms, and in less than a few minutes, they were gone and ready to start the day.

Gavin snapped out of his daydreaming when he felt Charlie, Peter and Ronald brush past him, already holding their soap bars and shampoo to their chests while their bare feet tapped along the wet tiles. They ran into the showers, and Gavin knew he should’ve been doing the same.

Groaning, he found the last available shower stall, and he hurriedly disrobed and threw his dirty clothes into a plastic bag before pulling the curtain behind himself. It wasn’t much in the way of privacy, but it was good enough, and his rumbling stomach told him he had other things to attend to for now.

He at least thanked god for the fact that warm water poured liberally over his sore, aching muscles and bones. It soothed him, it relaxed him, and it made him think of home and all those he’d left behind when they’d—

No…

Forget that.

Shaking his head, he washed his face, seeing anger and white-hot rage behind closed eyelids while the warm water beat down over the top of his skull. He didn’t want to ruin such a peaceful moment with thoughts of his treacherous family, so he didn’t.

And Gavin found he hardly regretted thinking badly of them at all.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin sat in the dining hall with buttered toast and milk before himself, when Mackenzie slid a breakfast tray next to him and sat down real close. “Morning, Gavin!” he chirped cheerfully, glasses clean, hair freshly washed, and uniform ironed and clean, “how’d you sleep?”

Tossing him a pained grin, Gavin sighed out, “Just peachy, man, just peachy.”

“First few weeks are always tough,” Mackenzie admitted while munching on his own toast. The crumbs gathered in the corners of his mouth, and Gavin studied him carefully, noticing that the boy was already growing thin facial hair above his upper lip. Wiping his lips with the back of a hand, Mackenzie smiled confidently at Gavin, “you’ll get used to it, don’t worry.”

“I’m sure I will,” Gavin mused, and before he turned to eat the rest of his meal, a pair of dark-skinned hands suddenly snatched away his toast.

Gavin turned in his seat aggressively, “Hey!!” he glared angrily up at Travis, Greg and Patrick. The boys stood by Gavin’s side, and Travis was waving Gavin’s toast before him like a carrot on a stick before a donkey.

Swiping at the toast, Gavin growled, “Can you guys not be dicks first thing in the morning?”

The boys began staring among one another, and Greg finally chuckled softly first, inviting himself to sit down beside Gavin while he clapped him on the back firmly. “We’re just playing, Reed,” he then paused, a frown upon his face, “it’s ‘Reed’, right?”

Gavin only nodded.

Travis sat down beside Greg and tossed the toast back onto Gavin’s tray, “We’re not out to kick your ass, Reed,” he stated truthfully, stretching his long legs out before himself beneath the wooden table as he nodded over at Gavin, “we legit think you’re kinda cool, man,” he said without a hint of deception in his voice and eyes, which helped Gavin relax.

Still, he turned over to Mackenzie, and the boy nodded eagerly as he grabbed a glass of freshly squeezed, natural orange juice. “I told them about how awesome you were to chat with, and honestly, we all could use someone funny around!”

Blowing a tiny raspberry Gavin rolled his eyes, “Oh thanks guys,” he chuckled dryly, “so what am I to ya’ll now? Some kind of clown?”

All the boys sitting with him shook their heads no.

“You’re just…different, Gavin,” Greg answered, his soft, brown-red hair, fierce green eyes, and light-colored freckles almost glowing in the morning light, “different is good around here!”

Eyeing Reese from across the dining hall, Gavin shivered when he caught the other boy glaring openly and quite obviously at him while a few of his other ‘friends’ were trying to talk to him. Reese had hardly touched a bowl of his cereal while glaring away at Gavin.

Staring back down at his own breakfast tray, Gavin said in almost a faint whisper, “I don’t think being ‘different’ is gonna get me real far in here…”

“That’s a load of shite,” Greg snapped, and Gavin noticed that when angry, Greg’s Irish accent seemed really obvious in his speech. He had to force himself against laughing at it when he heard and saw how furious Greg truly appeared to be.

Sitting up, the other boy pounded a clenched fist on the surface of the table, causing a few utensils and trays to jump up and clatter slightly. “I’m frankly tired of everyone in here playing pretend like they’re all so eager to listen to the Android Brothers whenever they teach or deliver their bullshit religious speeches!!”

Mackenzie held up a finger while picking some sesame seeds off his toast, “Told ya, Gav.”

So it appeared that no one had been lying to him after all…

Frowning in confusion, Gavin asked the question he’d directed at Mackenzie last night one more time. “So if you guys all hate what’s goin’ on here, why don’t you just tell the head Priest or Father Anderson?”

At once, all the boys held back laughs, but some of their loud voices and giggles slipped. Mackenzie and Travis rolled their eyes as they straightened out their uniforms.

“Look at yourself for a minute, Reed,” Travis pointed at Gavin’s appearance and clothes, “you haven’t even been here for two days yourself, and already you’re abiding by that damn dress code!”

Looking down at himself at the same time the others around him did, Gavin noticed that Travis had been right. He hadn’t held his black pants belt down like an accessory today. Instead, it was right over his waistline where it should’ve been. Gone were the muscle tops and tank tops, and instead, he merely wore a white undershirt beneath his clean uniform dress shirt and freshly washed and ironed black dress pants. The only thing Gavin had kept of ‘himself’ happened to be his combat boots, and he wiggled them up at the boys lightly beneath the table.

A sad smile crept its way along his face as he sighed out, “Look, I already got into a lot of shit with Nines the other day after class; I’m honestly just too tired to fight for now.”

Elbowing him gently, Patrick’s light brown eyebrows shot up, “What’d Brother Nines even do to you yesterday?”

“Yeah!” Travis also piped up, “we’d been meaning to ask you that, but you just disappeared afterwards!”

Gavin sighed, “Well he—”

“Oooh!! I know!” another voice chimed in, and all the boys turned to see thirteen-year-old Andrew join them, and he slid his lanky, tall body beside Mackenzie’s while grinning mischievously. “Did Brother Nines make you wash all the floors and windows as punishment??”

All eyes were on Gavin.

“No.”

Andrew frowned, his thick, dark brown eyebrows coming together tightly, “Well…did he make you do extra homework!? I bet he did!”

Gavin sighed, “No.”

“Did he—”

“He just made me ask for forgiveness, and then I had to repeat ‘Hail Mary’ five times for sayin’ something dumb about my mom; that’s all.”  

All the boys around him visibly seemed disappointed, and Andrew took the number one trophy for that. His shoulders slumped forward, his eyes turned dark, and then a bored expression crossed over his face as he whispered, “Oh…”

Mackenzie snorted while tugging on his ponytail, “Looks like Brother Nines actually went easy on you, then!!”

This observation and exclamation seemed to be one that confused Gavin, but the others surrounding him had to agree. They all nodded in unison, and some of the boys even seemed…angry? Gavin couldn’t tell, honestly, as he still had no real idea who half these boys even were and what they’d done to land themselves in this hellish school.

Deciding to ask, he looked at everyone except Mackenzie. “Wait, what the heck made your parents ship ya’ll off here anyway??!” he hoped the question wouldn’t be too insensitive and rude, but Greg didn’t seem to mind it as he stuck out a hand and proudly shook Gavin’s hand.

“Greg Jefferson,” he introduced himself formally with a sly grin, “long-time victim of familial abuse-mostly from my asshole, alcoholic, and pathetic excuse for a dad, high school dropout, and I have no future goals or ambitions!!”

They shook hands, and Gavin snorted at him. He thought Greg was actually pretty interesting, and the fact that he’d stated having some issues with his father…well…perhaps he shared a lot in common with Gavin himself after all.

He then peered over at Travis.

The African American grinned as well. “Travis Kingsley,” he introduced himself, though he didn’t try to shake Gavin’s hand, “mother left my dad when I was four because she met some other dude online, dad tried to raise me and four other brothers, but I ran away from home and school because I just thought I’d be a burden on my dad’s shoulders,” he explained his story as he sighed, eyes slightly vacant, “I’m addicted to weed mostly, but I actually like sports and will become a famous basketball player one day; you’ll all see!!!”

The boys all nodded and smiled at him, and then Andrew naturally took the ‘stage’ next to introduce himself. He clapped Gavin on his shoulder and pointed his thumb at himself, “Andrew Morales; I have a Spanish mother who married a guy her dad thought was perfect for her,” winking at Gavin, then, he almost whispered, “but she went on vacation to the USA, and she met and hooked up for one weekend with a guy from New York, and he knocked her up!” Pointing at his round, blue eyes and then slightly tanned skin, he said, “I look Spanish, but as you can see, I also look more American!!”

Gavin smiled at him, “It’s nice to meet you, Andrew.”

Patrick went next, and he waved at Gavin with a friendly look in his light green eyes. “I’m Patrick Dale,” he then scratched away at his shortly cut blonde hair, “I think I’m kinda British from my grandfather’s side of the family, but I was born and raised in America!” shifting in his seat, he proudly boasted, “I hate authority!! I do what I want, whenever I want, however I want!!!” tapping a finger over his chin, he groused, “a lot of therapists say I have issues, though,” he then raised his fingers and mimed air quote motions, “I have ADD apparently, as well as high-levels of anxiety, but I feel fine if people aren’t being dicks!”

Travis chuckled, “I feel like that’s everyone, man.”

Gavin beamed at Patrick, “I hear you loud and clear on that one, Patrick.”

The twelve-year-old boy high-fived Gavin, and yet again, Gavin found himself smiling involuntarily, almost.

Andrew then looked over at Mackenzie, “And he’s—”

“A pyromaniac and an arsonist,” the rest of the boys excluding Gavin announced, “we all know.”

At once, they all broke out in cheerful laughter, abandoning their breakfasts as they shared in the good humor. As Gavin stared around at his small group of acquaintances, he noticed that they all of course had their own peculiarities and oddities. Sure, they all seemed to be weird and outcasts in their own special ways, but they were individuals, and unique. He actually found the boys growing on him, and he thought to himself that perhaps things wouldn’t be so bad now in a strange, foreign land when he at least had a shot at making new friends.

Feeling much better than he had since the moment he’d gotten off the boat, Gavin beamed at his new-found friends. “It’s good to meet ya’ll,” he snickered, “you guys seem fine.”

Raising his orange juice glass high in the air, Mackenzie giggled, “This is as good as it gets for an arsonist, so I’ll take that compliment!” pausing, Mackenzie sniffed his orange juice, and then groaned. His nose wrinkled up in disgust as he peered over the rim of the glass, “Does this shit have pulp in it, you guys?”

“If you have an issue with the contents of your beverage, Mr. Armstrong, then I suggest you take it up with the chef after Mass this morning,” a cold, deep voice that wasn’t befitting a teenager suddenly hissed down at them all. A dark shadow had fallen over their area of the tables, and the boys all glanced up to see Brother Nines standing tall with his hands down by his sides.

He was dressed in black dress pants, black dress shoes, and a black, long-sleeve dress shirt with white buttons. His clerical collar stood out among the buttons-which had been tightly done up to his neck. Sneering at the boys equally, he then paused and glared the hardest and longest at Mackenzie. “One hundred lines with the sentence ‘I shall make an effort to clear up my language choice’ should suffice for you, I think.”

Mackenzie groaned, but hid his face behind his orange juice class.

While Gavin threw Nines a nasty glare, the android ignored it as he bent down and picked up a large basket resting by his ankles. It was filled with envelopes, papers, other small boxes, and strange items.

Picking up a white envelope resting at the top of the rest of the pile, Nines gently placed it down in front of Mackenzie. “From your parents, young man,” he announced, and when he caught the odd head tilt from Gavin, he sighed, “I’m merely delivering the weekly mail and postal packages, and you have one as well…” hands fishing down inside the basket, Nines then withdrew a small package that was able to fit into his large hand.

“Here we are,” he handed it over to Gavin, and the young man swallowed nervously while the other boys around him studied the package.

“What do you think it is?” Greg asked, leaning over and tapping the box.

Travis nodded, “Shake it to see if you can guess what’s inside!!”

Sighing wearily at them, Nines hissed shortly, “I believe that’s only Mr. Reed’s concern, gentlemen,” he chided sternly, “you’d do well to read your own letters and play with your own gifts!” Handing over the rest of the letters, items, packages, and boxes to the other boys, they one-by-one began excitedly tearing open their parcels and envelopes, eyes shifting as they read news from their parents and relatives.

While Gavin read the note attached to the package sent to him by his mother, tiny footsteps suddenly approached.

Staring up curiously, Gavin saw little Charlie tugging on Nines’ dress pants. When the tall android stared down at the child, Charlie held up his short, chubby hands, clearly begging and asking to be picked up.

Nines chuckled, “Alright, little one.” Bending down, he swept the boy up into his arms, and he held him against his chest while the young boy smiled appreciatively at him.

“Can you see the world, now?” Nines joked lightly, bouncing the boy up and down on the crook of his arm while Gavin studied them.

Brother Nines suddenly didn’t seem so frightening and foreboding…the younger kids seemed to like him enough to be held in his arms!! Had Mackenzie lied about Brother Nines just to scare him??

Maybe…

Before Gavin could think on it more, a letter fluttered in his face, followed by the sound of wrapping paper crinkling as it was wildly torn into. Not a second later, young Patrick gasped as he held up a bright red fire truck toy.

“My dad says he bought this for me in a shop in Jamaica!” he cheerfully announced, and then held up the fire truck before Nines, “he was away on a business trip, and he said it was specially hand-crafted and painted by someone famous there!!”

“Ooooh!” Nines winked, “rather impressive and lucky for you then, Mr. Dale, you best take extra care of your new prize.”

Placing the toy back into the wrapping paper gently, Patrick nodded enthusiastically, “I will!!”

While still rocking and bouncing young Charlie in his arms, Nines pushed out, “Make haste, boys; we have Mass to attend to in less than ten minutes, and I want to see your plates clear in that time.” Without another word, he walked off with the basket draped over his free arm, while the other was still tightly supporting Charlie’s body by resting against his back.

Watching as they walked away, Gavin then looked back down at his note.

Curiosity got the best of Patrick and Andrew, and they leaned over to read Gavin’s note over his shoulders.

“What does it say, Gav?” Mackenzie piped up.

Immediately, Gavin folded the note, and then shoved it in one of his pockets. “It’s nothing, you guys,” he smirked, grinning with white teeth at his friends, “just some stupid letter from my mom; boring shit.”

Due to their short attention spans and all the other activities going on so far in the morning, Gavin’s friends decided to chat, compare and discuss letters, and then hurriedly finished up their meals before a tiny bell chimed, signaling it was time to clear the dining hall.

Throwing one last look at the exit of the large hall, Gavin sighed as he picked up the pace and prepared himself for one heck of a boring day.

Chapter Text

“I soooo don’t want to be here,” Patrick whispered into Gavin’s ears while they all stood in a single-file line before the large doors of the chapel.

Gavin nodded in agreement, but otherwise remained silent when Brother Markus opened the chapel doors and greeted everyone. Ushering them all inside, next, soft music came from Brother Simon’s church organ, which had been placed next to the right-hand wall of the chapel a few feet away from the right-hand line of pews. He played a soothing, merry tune Gavin would often remember hearing when his parents had forced him to go to church when he’d still been at an age young enough to be controlled by them…

He stopped remembering and thinking of them when he watched how all the other Android Brothers marched inside the room almost silently. Their footsteps blended in well with Brother Simon’s soft music, and the rest of the boys in the school merely watched in silence while the Android Brothers stood at the front of the room.

Behind an old lectern, Brother Markus began preparing some items, though from his vantage point at the back of the chapel, Gavin could hardly see a thing. He decided not to leave it all to his imagination, and he merely stared at the walls and ceilings instead. He was already bored out of his mind, but he kept that to himself when he saw the number of religious symbols and crucifixes mounted high practically on every wall in the huge chapel.

To start the Mass off, Brother Markus and the helpers-which consisted of a few unknown Elders- walked slowly to the altar. Everyone else had to stand up, now. Gavin stood next to Patrick, sighing while the music soared through the air.

He remembered that usually, a song was always sung at this time.

Trying to make it appear as though he’d been singing along, he merely moved his lips while breathing in and out through his mouth. He studied the other students in the chapel, and they were all singing pleasantly in tune and along in time with Brother Simon’s accompaniment.

Drowning it out, Gavin stared over at the front of the chapel, and accidentally, his eyes made contact with Brother Nines’…

Looking away when he saw that the android was staring intently at him, Gavin felt heat pooling in his cheeks, and he held his head down in embarrassment while singing random gibberish. Truthfully, he had no idea what the lyrics even were to the song, and he hated that he’d been caught staring by Brother Nines…

The android who was to begin the Mass was obviously going to be Brother Markus. He’d already donned the white and gold-decorated Priest robe which the Elders had aided him with putting on over his head. They all bowed to the altar, to Brother Markus, and then began to take their spots before Brother Markus at the front of the chapel.

While Brother Markus walked over to a little table before his lectern, Gavin finally saw him lay out a basket bearing tiny, round bread. It was the Eucharist, and no doubt wine sat in the fancy old bottle next to the basket. Gavin wasn’t a fool, however; he knew that there was no way in hell Brother Markus was going to be giving everyone wine. Likely, it’d just been there to serve the ‘aesthetic’ purpose and to fit in with the ambiance of the worship.

Brother Markus closed his eyes, and as the music went on, he began ‘Crossing’ himself. The other Android Brothers mimicked it next. It was done slowly and in a very odd, creepy way, at least to Gavin’s eyes. He found it off-putting watching the androids first touching their foreheads with a finger of their right hand while whispering and saying, “In the name of the Father,” then touching down to their lower chest, saying, “the Son,” touching their left shoulder, saying, “and the Holy,” and finally touching their right shoulder, all while saying “Spirit.”

Gavin had been used to seeing numerous priests doing this, as he’d been forced to say ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’ multiple times throughout his young life. His fingers seemed to burn and tingle just at the thought of mirroring the motion.

Meanwhile, the choir and their words did nothing for Gavin, but it was all his ears had to listen to as he stared at the young alter boys dressed up while singing their hearts out cheerfully.

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all!!”

It was at that precise moment when Mackenzie-who’d been standing behind Gavin while the students poured into the chapel and sat on the pews-whispered out, “No fuckin’ shit He did.”

Gavin smirked.

“Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their little wings! The purple headed mountain, the river running by, the sunset and the morning that brightens up the sky…”

“My ass itches,” Mackenzie then interrupted for the second time, and Gavin bit down hard on his tongue to keep from laughing. He made sure his feet kept moving, however, knowing that Brother Nines’ cold blue eyes were closely watching him. He hated that the android was being so damn creepy, but he supposed he was doing his ‘job’…or so he hoped, anyway.

The singing voices grew louder when Brother Simon motioned for everyone to sing at the top of their lungs.

“The cold wind in the winter, the pleasant summer sun, the ripe fruits in the garden, He made them; every one!”

Another boy closely behind Gavin sighed on the exact same note the singers were singing on, and Gavin honestly had to give these young boys credit for being so crafty and clever. They were obviously goofing off and making a complete mockery of the entire service, yet no one had been caught by the Android Brothers.

Very clever, and Gavin had to wonder just how long this had all being going on for.

“The tall trees in the greenwood, the meadows where we play, the rushes by the water, we gather every day!”

As the choir finished on the last few notes, Brother Markus finally rose to his full height, and he motioned for everyone to sit down. Obediently, at least sixty bodies sat down on the long rows of pews, and the lights brightened right above Brother Markus so as to draw complete and undivided attention unto him.

The android beamed at everyone while holding his hands together before his sternum. Finally, he opened his mouth, LED light blue, and he said clearly and loudly for all to hear, “As we prepare to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s love, let us acknowledge our failures and ask the Lord for pardon and strength!”

Gavin rolled his eyes, and he saw that Greg, Travis, Andrew, and Patrick also showed attitude and rebellion in their own ways by sighing, making weird hand motions in their laps, and just by shifting in their seats uncomfortably.

Brother Markus looked up towards the ceiling with joy in his eyes. “After we remember our sins for a while, we shall pray!!”

No one said anything, and Brother Markus took the lead.

“I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers, that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers, to pray for me to the Lord our God!”

When he finished, he stared at everyone, and the boys all followed in repeating the same prayer. Like tiny robots, they all seemed to pray out in a dull, monotone voice, and Gavin groaned his way through the prayer as if it’d been a damn chore.

Brother Markus blessed everyone while one of the Elders grabbed some Holy Water and sprayed it casually over everyone’s head as he walked by swiftly. “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life! Amen!”

“Amen!!”

It was still so odd to Gavin seeing androids literally praying seriously and taking the Mass to heart, but Brother Markus wasn’t finished yet…

Pacing over to the front of the lectern, he held his hands outstretched, palms facing up towards the celling as he breathed out, “Lord, we have sinned against you: Lord, have mercy!”

The students repeated, “Lord, have mercy!”

Brother Markus sighed out pleasantly, “Lord, show us your mercy and love! Grant us your salvation!”

Again, the students repeated, “Show us mercy and love!! Grant us salvation!!”

Turning to Patrick sitting beside him, Gavin mouthed, “How brainwashed is everyone here?!?”

The other boy merely shrugged as a response.

Still eager to act as the priest, Brother Markus led everyone in the following way of a prayer again, “Lord, have mercy.”

Students calmly spoke out, “Lord, have mercy.”

“Christ, have mercy.”

Nodding, they said, “Christ, have mercy.”

Gavin wasn’t following through with anything else; he was far too entertained by Patrick and Mackenzie whispering.

When Brother Markus had prayed out, “Let us Pray; we ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Mackenzie had instead rearranged the words of the holy scripture and turned it into his own bastardized, terrifying remix. Mackenzie’s version went as such, “Let us fuck; we cry this out through intense orgasms, OH GOOOOOD!” he’d howled and whined, mimicking a woman having an intense sexual release, and the sound of it caused the group of friends including Gavin to lose themselves to a round of giggles they’d worked hard at concealing and hiding.

Holding his hands up high, Brother Markus sang out loudly, “We pray to you, oh Lord, Jesus Christ!!”

Mackenzie hurriedly whispered out, “I pray to thee, Lord Satan!”

Brother Ralph and Brother Josh had been pacing around so as to keep an eye on everyone, and when Brother Ralph’s scarred and burned-up face peered over in their direction, Travis winced before looking away.

“Gross,” he whispered after Brother Ralph had walked away slowly.

Gavin agreed, but he knew they had to work extra hard on being silent since the Android Brothers were carefully watching them. It was just so difficult with Mackenzie groaning and moaning sexually like a porn star, however…

Brother Markus bellowed out, “Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever!”

Mackenzie again changed the words, and he whispered, “My slut, who gives the best head in all the wide valleys and lands makes me cum forever and ever and ever!!!”

Gavin nearly choked on his laughter. Sadly, Mackenzie didn’t seem to want to stop clowning around anytime soon.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit!” Brother Markus finished.

“In the name of the balls, the sack, and the holy dick!” Makenzie concluded as well.

Enough was enough.

Knowing he wouldn’t be able to take it anymore before he lost himself to a wriggling mess of laughter and uncontrollable giggles, Gavin quickly whipped around to ask Mackenzie to shut up, when he was face-to-face with Brother Nines instead.

He froze right away, stomach dropping into the pit of his torso, and he swore he felt his heart skipping many beats. Gavin wasn’t one to be easily scared. In truth, he knew that given the noise and disruption, they were all bound to get caught at one point or another. No, that wasn’t entirely the issue.

The issue was the creepy facial expression the android had on his face while staring directly at Gavin.

Brother Nines was smiling widely at him, and while his eyes gleamed dangerously as if warning Gavin, his lips pulled back, and he revealed his pearly white, perfectly straight teeth…they appeared like the fangs of a wolf ready to snatch up its prey, and Gavin suddenly felt beyond scared and nervous. This was a drastic look and a huge difference in comparison to the smile Brother Nines previously held on his face while holding little Charlie up in his arms. Right now, in the glow of the chapel lights, Brother Nines looked menacing and evil.

‘Evil’ wasn’t usually a word Gavin ran around using or even thinking of, but he found himself unable to describe it any other way. Brother Nines loomed and towered over him, fully using the advantage of his height, and he truly seemed purely evil.

Not wanting to back down from the challenge, Gavin glared daggers at him until Brother Nines finally backed away. Still smiling, the android turned his head, and he walked back until he was standing by the wall closet to Gavin’s pew. His eyes turned over almost reluctantly to Brother Markus and Brother Simon, the latter Android Brother making his way over toward the little table bearing the Eucharist bread and wine, now.

Shivering nervously, Gavin leaned against Patrick and Andrew. He was careful not to make it seem obvious that he was whispering, and he hardly moved his mouth and lips as he ground out loudly enough for only the boys by him to hear, “Do you think Brother Nines heard us?”

Patrick’s sharp eyes peeked over once at Gavin, and he shook his head. “Nah, I just think he was tryin’ to be weird and pick on you because you’re new.”

Deciding to go with that answer, Gavin sat up and stared straight on ahead.

“We shall now have our Eucharistic service,” Brother Markus announced.

Immediately, everyone got up, and one-by-one in a single-file line, the students approached the table and Brother Simon standing before it.

Gavin threw a confused glance over at Andrew and Patrick. Truthfully, he hadn’t done this in years, and he knew that every service and every church went about doing it differently.

Andrew smiled knowingly. “This next part is very special,” he whispered to Gavin, “this is where the bread and wine get changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, or so we gotta pretend to believe!”

Snorting in mild humor, Gavin waited in line until it was his turn. He’d witnessed the other boys standing before him approach the table and Brother Simon, and they’d bowed their heads and knelt while the Android Brother sprinkled them with Holy Water and blessed them by saying a few words of nonsense. He’d then given them the thin bread, and they’d eaten it and merely held the silver wine cup in their hands while listening to Brother Simon. They hadn’t been permitted to drink it, thankfully.

Gavin stood awkwardly before Brother Simon, now. He knew students were still waiting behind him, but for some reason, he froze right in place. His eyeballs even seemed to freeze in place, and he engaged in a weird staring contest with Brother Simon. The android’s light blue eyes pierced through his, and Gavin still found himself rooted to the spot.

After moments of awkward, blank stares, Brother Simon sighed out, “You’re supposed to kneel now. Whatever you do, don’t sit. Christ is King, and when a king enters a room, nobody sits,” he explained calmly. “It’s been known to happen that a king will cut off someone’s head if he sits while the king enters a room. Luckily, King Jesus never did this.”

Gavin cringed, “Err…right…”

Someone from behind shoved him down into a kneeling position, and Brother Simon nodded down at him, “If you feel weird about kneeling, do it anyway. You’ll look really out of place if you sit now, as sitting is a sign of disrespect. If you don’t want to kneel, you can stand, but if everyone else is kneeling, you’ll look out of place again, but that’s okay if you can’t kneel for too long.”

Nodding, Gavin assumed the position, and Brother Simon closed his eyes as he continued with the prayer and blessings.

Knowing that there were a number of different prayers that could be said now, Brother Simon chose which one to say that would end this all quickly. Gavin drowned out his words, but otherwise felt grateful when Brother Simon looked at him with patience and kindness.  

After the Android Brother had been praying for a while, he reminded Gavin of the Last Supper. He then held up the bread and said the words Jesus said, supposedly.

“Take this and eat it,” he spoke down at Gavin, “for this is my body which will be given up for you!”

The memories all came back to Gavin.

As these words had been said to him before, the bread-in the minds of the insane-changed into the Body of Christ. Apparently, this was currently such a special moment that the Elders began to ring tiny silver and gold bells.

Holding up his thin bread well in between strong fingers, Brother Simon showed the Body of Christ to Gavin. The Android Brother quietly prayed out, “My Lord, and my God.”

Staring down expectantly at Gavin, the boy knew something was missing, and he knew something was required of him, but he was drawing blanks.

Sighing, Brother Simon gently pressed a hand down on top of Gavin’s head. “Bow,” he whispered.

Obeying him, Gavin waited for the Android Brother to pray a bit more, hold up the wine cup, and say the words Jesus said once more.

“Take this, and drink from it!” Brother Simon practically sang out, “this is the cup of my blood; the blood of the new and everlasting covenant!”

All Gavin was permitted to do was hold the cup to his lips, but he never took a sip, for Brother Simon quickly snatched the cup away just when Gavin had been thinking of sampling the wine.

Placing the cup back on the table, Brother Simon said, “It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven! Do this in memory of me!!”  

As these words were said, the wine had to change into the Blood of Christ. Again, this is had to be a special moment, as the bells rang. Brother Simon showed the cup with the Blood of Christ to Gavin next, and the Android Brother quietly prayed, “My Lord, and my God.”

After this, Gavin remembered he should bow his head as the android genuflected.

Everyone stood up now, and Gavin sighed as he rose to his feet while shoving the bread into his mouth.

Brother Simon nodded at him, “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

Gavin again fumbled for words. “Umm…”

Brother Simon rolled his eyes this time, visibly losing some of his patience. “Just say ‘Amen’.”

When Gavin froze again, Andrew coughed, and then elbowed Gavin hard in the back.

Yelping, Gavin jumped up and cried out, “Amen!!”

Brother Simon softly said, “The Lord be with you, my child.”

Grumbling under his breath, Gavin whispered back, “And also with you…”

Finally. It was now done.

Brother Simon shooed him away with the wave of a hand, and Gavin moved down the long line towards the back of the chapel. He’d been so eager and excited to exit that he failed to notice a pair of dark blue eyes carefully studying him from the shadows.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

It was a boring, rainy afternoon. When Mass had ended, classes continued for the day, and Brother Nines didn’t have much of a lesson planned. Nothing intense had happened, thankfully. The class began with Nines passing along pencils, pencil crayons, as well as old packages of thick crayons for the younger age groups.

Arranging the room so that the desks were fashioned in large circles in the center of the room, Nines handed out coloring books for the younger boys, and then gave out blank sheets for the older students. They’d simply been told to color and draw the happiest memories of their lives, while the younger students had to color in identical images and pictures of Jesus on the Cross…

Gavin had taken a peek at the image in the coloring book, and he couldn’t believe that such a gruesome image of the nails embedded in Christ’s palms and feet had actually been printed in a children’s’ coloring book to begin with.

There was just something so off about this damn school, but he didn’t have much time to think about it and talk to his friends. Brother Nines ordered them all to remain silent while they drew and colored. The Android Brother sat behind his large desk at the front of the room simply grading papers in silence while the students worked.

The scratching sounds of pencils and crayons on paper soon grew louder and louder in the room to the point where it made Gavin feel sick to his stomach. He’d had a heavy lunch, and while he’d initially been energetic to continue laughing and joking with his new friends, he found it was impossible to do when the room they were all kept in was just so horribly silent. Even the raindrops outside beating down on the windows were louder than gunshots in the air, and Gavin held a hand against one of his ears as he stared down at his blank sheet.

This was just plain stupid. There had to be a catch to all this! Gavin refused to simply believe that someone as strict and annoying as Brother Nines had nothing in the way of a lesson planned for everyone, especially on a Wednesday mid-afternoon. Sure, it was raining cats and dogs, and the sky was dark and utterly gloomy. But why would the rain put an end to the lessons?

This had to be an exam or a test…but of what?

Sheer obedience? Was there something more to the drawings than Brother Nines had led on?

With his mind drawing nothing but blanks, Gavin soon felt beyond annoyed. He’d been sitting there in the middle of the classroom grinding his back teeth together while also tapping his pencil over his blank page. It created little dark marks on the paper, but that didn’t change the fact that he was bored, he had no idea what to draw, and he really didn’t want to stick his hand up and call Brother Nines over to ask him for further clarification…

It was all just too confusing for Gavin.

While he had been thinking, a part of him worried as to whether or not this was somehow a weird punishment Nines had concocted because he’d perhaps somehow heard Gavin and his friends goofing off…

No…that wasn’t it.

Even Patrick and Andrew had said it was highly unlikely that Brother Nines had heard them…but what of Mackenzie? After all, the boy had been seated behind Gavin, and he should’ve seen Brother Nines approaching more than anyone else from his vantage point…

Eyeing the boy in question, Gavin saw how closely Mackenzie had been seated to his left side, and while Gavin knew they weren’t allowed to talk, that didn’t mean they were permitted to ‘communicate’ in some other way…

Sneakily, he grabbed a loose bit of paper from the binder he’d stored inside his desk. Careful so he wouldn’t make a sound, he ripped the page out of the binder rings, and while making sure Brother Nines was still grading papers, he placed the paper on his lap, and he grabbed a pen.

Hurriedly, he wrote out a note, and then slid it beneath the desk onto Mackenzie’s lap.

The boy paused, and then peered down at the offered note.

It read: man, it sucks that we cant use cells here to text.

Eyes still on Nines, Gavin waited for Mackenzie to finally grab his pen as well, and then he wrote a reply.

Gavin looked down at it.

Yep but this is still creative, right?

Gavin wrote back: sure is. Mass was boring, and im even more bored now too…help me lol

Sliding the paper back to Mackenzie, their hurried motions soon caught Greg’s interest. The Irish boy smirked at them, leaning forward as he read through the conversation whenever he could.

Eventually, he too decided to join in, and he used a red colored pen to write out: stop shit talking me loool

All three boys giggled softly, and then Gavin added in: id rather shit talk Brother Nines…dude’s creepy.

Mackenzie nodded and wrote: yeah he always weirded me out when i first joined the school last year, but ive found that if you keep to yourself, hes not so bad.

Catching up, Greg leaned in and responded: yep, and just whatever you do, dont make him angry, for the love of god, Gavin.

There it was again; the same mysterious warning regarding not making Brother Nines angry. It’d come to him in less than ten hours, and Gavin trembled as he read over the sentence at least once more before he heard Ronald coughing. The boy resumed coloring afterwards, and Gavin peered at Nines.

Still working, thank goodness.

He stared back down at the paper, and he knew his friends were waiting for him to write. Mackenzie had already written: i warned him about that, Greg.

It was Gavin’s turn to write back, so he did.

Thats the second time someone has told me not to make Brother Nines angry…whats with that?

It was Greg who answered his question.

The quiet ones are the ones you gotta watch out for, thats all.

Gavin wasn’t entirely satisfied with this answer. It seemed deep down in his gut that both boys sitting on either side of him were lying. Gavin had been good at reading people for the most part, and getting into so much trouble at an early age had almost ‘built in’ a mechanism within himself that almost alerted him to when people were either holding back on telling him how much they knew about something, or purposefully misleading him.

He didn’t like supposing that it could be a possible mixture of both these things or either of them, especially surrounding his new friends. Gavin already had plenty of trust issues, and he didn’t want to start doubting Mackenzie and Greg, now.

Holding his pen steadily, he fleshed out his continuation of the conversation, but he cleverly avoided asking questions he felt the boys wouldn’t answer.

Mac, do u think that Nines heard or saw us when were all jokin around during Mass?

Quick to read the question, Mackenzie shook his head and wrote back: Nah, Brother Nines was listening to the b.s. going on himself.

Gavin frowned at this answer. then why did he target me so quickly when no one heard him even approaching?

Snickering lightly, Greg butted in and wrote down: i like to think that Brother Nines mastered the art of silent running, and thats why we didnt hear him

Ur dumb, Mackenzie wrote back to Greg after he’d drawn a little arrow pointing at Greg’s statement, and then underlined his own response, i didnt see shit, so just chill.

u chill, hoe, was Greg’s response to that, and Gavin nearly groaned as he gripped the page tightly and furiously wrote back with his own pen.

Stop arguing, you guys! we seriously could be in trouble after goofing off in Mass, and that doesnt concern any of you?!?

Hardly able to contain himself, he nervously began sweating while Greg and Mackenzie read his sentence, and then commented back in kind.

Greg wrote, mate, im tired of being scared all the time. u should just relax. i find it gets easier to live that way rather than worrying all the time.

Directly beneath his commentary, Mackenzie added in, hey greg, after class, do u wanna help move the extra bed from the schools attic next to yours and mine?

Frowning, Greg asked, why? We have plenty of beds in the dorm already, and ur bed is fine.

Oh, I dont need it for sleeping, Mackenzie had jotted down in a mess, i just wanted to set the extra bed on fire.

Oh for goodness sake…

Resisting the urge to slap them both, Gavin brought their attention back to the real topic at hand. Stop fucking around, guys!!! do you guys think Brother Nines is gonna tell the others about the crap we were doin at Mass?!?!

Moving the paper upwards so he could write properly, Mackenzie shook his head confidently while he replied with, nah, i saw Brother Nines paying attention to the assembly himself, so its safe to assume that—

At once, a large hand snatched the paper clean away from the boys and high into the air.

Gasping, they all turned around to find Brother Nines standing directly behind them, and he held their ‘note’ in a hand while glaring evenly at all three of them.

“My three chatterboxes,” he hissed, and he finally looked down at the written contents of the page.

Internally, Gavin was one heck of a mess. He kept repeating in his mind: ‘Please don’t read it, please don’t read it, please, oh please don’t read it!’

Unfortunately, they all knew Brother Nines was reading their conversation. His eyes moved from left to right as he ate up all their words slowly. Hanging his head in shame, Gavin exchanged embarrassed and mortified looks with his friends, and then their faces held fear, concern, and nothing but worry.

What would Brother Nines do to them now that he’d caught them writing bad things about him?!?

Gavin didn’t want to think about the consequences. He looked out the window while his hands and toes grew numb and cold. Outside, a nasty storm was still billowing and wreaking havoc on all the lands, and yet, Gavin still preferred being outside as opposed to indoors right close to Brother Nines where the android could do God-knows-what to them.

Trembling, he held himself together as he listened to the hard sounds of raindrops beating down almost angrily and violently down on the rooftop of the school and thick panes of glass on the windows.

Was Brother Nines finished reading yet?!?!

Chancing a glance up at the android, Gavin found that Brother Nines had slowly lowered the note down.

Here it comes…

While Gavin braced himself for nothing but the worst in terms of a reaction, when the paper fell, Gavin nearly felt himself growing ill with shock and amazement when he saw the facial expression Brother Nines had on his face.

It was truly terrifying indeed, and nothing he’d been expecting to see…

Chapter Text

Brother Nines held the note down by his side, and nothing short of the widest of smiles was plastered on his face. It didn’t seem forced or pained, however; it seemed truly genuine! His eyes were in small slits as his eyebrows rose up almost to his hairline, and his teeth gleamed and shined brightly down at the three boys who’d been the authors of the note he’d read.

What was going on???

Gavin was seriously confused.

Nines really seemed…happy…truly, it seemed as if this was the best moment in his entire life…

Exchanging confused glances with his friends, Gavin saw the other two boys merely shrugging while gaping at him equally. It appeared as though they were just as confused as he was, and this only seemed to make the situation worse. Although Gavin would never aim to admit this out loud to anyone, he was truly scared. Honestly, he’d been expecting Brother Nines to scream at them while his LED light beamed red straight into their eyes. He’d wanted the tall android to tower over them like he’d done so back in the chapel when he’d been alone with Gavin, and the teenager had expected Brother Nines to practically break glass, flip tables and chairs over, and just act insanely mad and furious.

And yet…here he was, standing tall while he smiled as though Gavin had told him a beautiful story.

Odd…

Creepy…

Disturbing…

Disgusting…

Terrifying.

Gavin had no idea what to say, but thankfully, Brother Nines sighed as he gently placed the note into his opposite hand and rolled it up neatly. Still smiling in a friendly way, he sighed out, “Oh, you boys and your creative thoughts and ideas,” chuckling a deep rumble of a chuckle, he tapped the back of Greg’s chair, “I often find myself envious of your imaginations…”

While Greg swallowed nervously, a dark and nefarious look flashed in the center of Brother Nines’ eyes, but then it was gone in a split second before any of the boys could see it. The rest of the class remained completely oblivious to what was currently going on, but Gavin suspected at least one other boy had to have been listening in…

Peering down at the three friends, Nines’ smile grew wider, and wider, and wider until it’d practically seemed so artificial and fake. “I would be careful about story-telling if I were you, however,” he said in a warm, friendly tone, but all three boys knew he was dishing this out as a threat clear as day.

Leaning down and gazing at Gavin first, he then made sure to turn his eyes over to Greg and Mackenzie. The other two boys stared away at their drawings, and they nervously trembled when Nines collected their ‘artwork’.

Just when Brother Nines had turned to peek over at the surface of Gavin’s desk, a tiny cough sounded from closer down towards the floor. Brother Nines turned his head and bent his neck down, and he smiled lightly. Standing close to him was little Charlie Snow, and he was holding his drawing and colorings up with pride.

“Do you like it, Brother Nines?” the small boy asked in a hopeful tone of voice.

Once again, Brother Nines was all smiles as he bent down before the young boy. His eyes were like twinkling and sparkling diamonds, and he almost glowed with happiness that couldn’t be real at all, or so Gavin thought. Brother Nines pet the top of Charlie’s head gently, “I simply adore it, Mr. Snow; you’ve done very well.”

The drawing was just of a few animals that were drawn crudely in stick figures, and the boy clearly still was unable to color within the lines of his drawings. Truthfully, it was all a mess of colors and incoherent things, but Brother Nines remained polite and kind until Charlie giggled and ran back to his own desk.

Standing upright then, Brother Nines cast an annoyed glance down at the note the boys had all written together, and then scowled back up at thee trio in question. Pointing at Mackenzie, Brother Nines carefully whispered softly, “You’ve yet to show me your required one-hundred lines on poor language choice, Mr. Armstrong, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you…” Mackenzie blushed and then scraped his feet down along the classroom floor, nodding sadly.

“Yes, Brother Nines.”

Gavin gaped at Brother Nines in awe and shock. Not even a few seconds ago when Charlie had been among them, Brother Nines had seemed so…kind…so gentle!! His smile had made him look years younger in comparison to when he was frowning or scowling, and he seemed so friendly!! It was all just a game, and it was all a fake!! Realizing how quickly the android could switch back and forth between exaggerated emotions truly disturbed and frightened Gavin to no end. It made Brother Nines all the more challenging and difficult to read and understand, now, as there was no telling what was real, and what was all a fake…

Tsking with his tongue against his teeth, Brother Nines shook his head at Mackenzie while waving the note before the boy. “I see your intent to destroy and damage school property on full display here as well, Mr. Armstrong,” he grinned, and it wasn’t a pleasant one at all, “I think two-hundred lines with the sentence ‘I shall not touch and burn things that aren’t my own’ may help you ponder and reflect on your own corrupt desires, indeed.”

Mackenzie visibly paled, but he nodded weakly while Greg whispered, “Sucks, mate.”

Now that the punishments were all doled out, Brother Nines returned to his original task at hand; inspecting the drawings and works of the boys. Moving his long arm over to Gavin’s desk, Nines gasped, “Blank, Mr. Reed?” he then snickered softly, “I thought as much.”

Trying to come up with a good enough excuse so they all wouldn’t land into more trouble than they already likely were in, Gavin protested, “But I’m not done yet!!”

While Brother Nines grinned at him, Gavin made an attempt to grab his pencil crayons. “Just give me a few minutes, and I’ll—”

On cue, the loud church bells resonating from the bell tower on the other side of the large school rang mightily. It signaled the end of the class day, and all the students in the classroom sighed out in happiness and relief.

Wiping the sweat off his forehead, Greg stood up, and he practically snatched his personal belongings into his arms. Bowing his head down, he spat out hurriedly, “Forgive us, Brother Nines!”

“Y-yeah!” Mackenzie pushed his chair back on the floor, and he too stood up while also bowing his head down submissively in a move of pure obeisance, “forgive me, Brother Nines!!”

Holding a hand up high in the air, Brother Nines cried out, “Submit your drawings to me now, and we’ll discuss them tomorrow in class!!”

One by one, the students all basically threw their papers at Nines. The android caught them all nicely, and stacked them up into a neat pile which he placed over on top of his own desk at the front of the room.

“You’re all dismissed,” Brother Nines called out, and as the classroom door flung open, Gavin began packing up as well, eager to join his friends.

Suddenly, he was stopped in his movements when he felt a firm, strong, heavy hand rest upon his shoulder. Gavin froze right away, and his eyes grew as wide and large as golf balls. He knew it was Brother Nines’ hand upon his shoulder even without looking. His friends staring back in shock and fright at him confirmed that for Gavin as well, and they all seemed to wince and cringe on his behalf while lingering in the open doorway.

“I said you’re all dismissed,” Brother Nines purred, and then tightened his grip on Gavin’s smaller shoulders, “all of you…except for you, Mr. Reed.”

There it was.

Raw fear reflected back in his friends’ eyes, and Greg waved as he turned and ran straight into the halls while crying out, “See ya later, mate!!”

Patrick turned away, next, almost stammering out, “T-talk to you soon, Gavin!”

Mackenzie lingered for a moment, but then he too backed away from the door as he nodded up at Gavin and then simply waved ‘goodbye’.

Gavin still found himself unable to move, even after Brother Nines had closed the classroom door softly. For some reason, though the door hardly made a sound as it shut, it sounded like the slamming of a prison cell door, at least to Gavin’s ears. He felt entrapped, and in a horrible cage. The room seemed smaller and tighter, and he could hardly breathe…

Turning around towards him, Brother Nines smiled as he unfolded the handwritten note and waved it in the air above Gavin’s head. “Gossiping in my class are we, Mr. Reed?” he shook his head, “and I thought young girls were bad…”

Snapping out of his daydreaming and frozen fears, Gavin jumped in to defend himself. “It’s not really like that, Brother Nines!” he cried out energetically, “we were just randomly saying stupid things; don’t take it seriously, please!”

Staring at the page again, Nines scoffed, “It appears serious enough in my eyes, Mr. Reed…how can you truly expect me to believe otherwise?”

For this, Gavin truly had no answer. The note was written in English; the words were right there in plain sight. How could he argue his way out of it? The implications would hold up against him, and he didn’t want to even think about what Brother Nines would do to him if he lied…

Shivering, Gavin offered the truth, finally. “Look,” he began, staring around the room while Brother Nines waited in front of him patiently. “We were just curious—err, I mean, I was personally curious about you, and I was just asking them because they’ve been at the school longer.” He felt heat pouring into his cheeks and face, and his neck and back started sweating heavily as if he’d been wearing many layers of clothing.

Gavin felt uncomfortable beneath the scrutinizing gaze Brother Nines was giving him presently, but there was little else he could do. Lashing out didn’t work; Brother Nines always doubled his efforts to punish him for it, so it seemed. For now, even though he felt his skin crawling, Gavin merely stood by and allowed Brother Nines to stare curiously at him.

The clock in the room ticked loudly like a beating drum, and it did nothing for Gavin’s nerves while Brother Nines just looked at him from head to toe as if seeing him for the first time ever. The strange manner and nature of the look worried Gavin and instilled great levels of discomfort and fear within him, but Nines paid it no mind…that is, if he even noticed…

Whether Brother Nines noticed or hadn’t was immaterial for now; all that mattered to Gavin was what the android had in mind for him. It seemed impossible to tell, sadly. Brother Nines held a very blank and neutral face, but then he broke out into a small half-smile while he walked over towards his desk. Pulling out the top drawer, Nines fished inside it and moved some items around.

Gavin was unable to identify what the items could’ve been by noise alone, and he tried waiting as patiently as he could while his stomach felt queasy, and his heart raced in his chest a mile a minute. He hid how nervous he was to the best of abilities, right up until when Nines closed his drawer shut and paced back around the desk over towards Gavin.

The android was definitely holding and hiding an object behind his back, Gavin soon realized. He could hardly see anything; Nines was far too broad and huge. Hiding the object well enough behind his back, Nines held out a free hand and motioned over towards the front edge of his desk.

“If you’d be so kind as to bend over and place yourself on the desk now, Mr. Reed; chest lying flatly on the surface, please.”

What.

The.

Hell…

Had his ears failed him?!

Shaking his head a few times, Gavin blinked hard. Thinking it was all just a joke, Gavin pointed at Nines and laughed. “You’re funny, Brother Nines!” he barked out in a short, clipped laugh, “as if I’d ever—”

An evil grin formed on Nines’ face, and it made Gavin cease in laughter.

Oh God…

Brother Nines was absolutely serious…

Realizing what the android had truly requested of him, then, Gavin took a few steps back while shaking his head back and forth from side to side slowly. “No…” he wheezed out painfully, “I won’t do that!!”

Arms moving away from his back, Nines reached forward with his free hand, and he grabbed onto Gavin’s shoulder roughly. Dragging the boy close towards himself, he spat down while looking intently into his eyes, “You can, and you shall!”

Without another word, Nines shoved Gavin towards his desk. The boy refused to move at first, but then Nines leaned over him and whispered hotly against his ear, “I’ll go a lot easier on you if you stop refusing me, Gavin…”

Did he have any other choice?!

No.

Gavin didn’t want to cry out for help; he just wanted this all over with. It would be nothing short of embarrassing and humiliating if his new friends found out he was incapable of handling himself.

Clenching his fists together tightly, Gavin walked over towards the desk closer, and he placed himself right over the edge. His chest hit the flat, cold surface, and Brother Nines pushed aside some papers and pens, making room for Gavin. The boy silently just lay there with his back and ass turned towards Nines, and when Gavin turned to peer over his shoulder, he felt Brother Nines pushing his head back around.

“Don’t do anything unless I tell you to, are we clear, Mr. Reed?” Nines purred down at him in a clear enough warning.

Nodding, Gavin remained as calm and as silent as he could. He soon heard and felt shuffling behind himself, and he closed his eyes and thought of his friends when he felt Nines gripping his hip.

Suddenly, without warning, something heavy and rough landed against Gavin’s backside after Nines had pushed Gavin’s hips backwards a little.

“AHHH!” Gavin cried out when the flat, rough object slammed into his ass once more.

“Shh!” Nines spat, “can’t you act as tough as you want to truly be, for once in your entire life??”

What was going on?!?

He hadn’t been allowed to look back, otherwise Gavin would’ve forced himself to. All he could do was close his eyes and imagine what the object hitting him in the ass was. Again, and again, it slapped against his round cheeks, and he winced and whimpered every time it made contact with his sensitive, sore skin.

It had to have been some kind of ruler. It felt flat, sturdy, long, and horizontal!

Taking a quick peek over his shoulder while using his peripheral vision, Gavin nearly cried out in panic when he saw Brother Nines indeed holding a ruler. It was an old, thick one. Gavin hadn’t ever received physical discipline in his entire life, and he whimpered when he saw how tightly Nines was holding onto the ruler while staring straight at his ass.

Before he was caught staring, Gavin looked back at the front of the room.

Chuckling, Brother Nines delivered another blow to Gavin’s ass. “You didn’t complete your assignment today, Mr. Reed,” he pointed out in an authoritative tone, “what’s to be done about that?”

THWACK!

The ruler had been the answer.

“Please,” Gavin found himself begging, though he was unable to finish his sentence.

THWACK!

“Repeat after me,” Brother Nines hissed, “I shall listen to my elders.”

Groaning in pain, Gavin repeated, “I shall listen to my elders!”

THWACK!

“I shall respect my teachers!”

THWACK!

“I shall re-respect my t-teachers!”

THWACK!!

Luckily, he still had his pants on, otherwise, Gavin was certain the beatings would leave bruises for sure. Brother Nines was at least clever to think of this, and he had to give the android credit for a split second…just a second, anyway.

Closing his eyes tightly, Gavin felt and heard Nines spanking him with the ruler strongly a few more times until he paused. Nines shifted again, and Gavin felt a heavy weight press against his shoulder. A hand gently rested beneath his while he’d been gripping the edge of the desk for dear support, and Gavin gasped when he felt a puff of warm air against the back of his neck.

“Undo your trousers please, Mr. Reed.”

No…no…no…no fucking way…

His nightmare had come true; gone would be his pants, and Brother Nines would beat him directly over his skin…

NO!

“NO!!” Gavin willed himself to cry out in protest, and he nearly turned around, ready to make a break for it, when Nines slammed a hand violently into his chest. It felt as though a train had rammed into him at full speed. Gavin’s back slammed against the desk, and he was then turned around almost savagely. Sternum hitting wood, Gavin felt two skilled hands quickly divesting him of his dress pants in no time.

Crying out in fear, Gavin tried stopping Brother Nines. “PLEASE DON’T!”

“Silence, you stupid child!” Brother Nines barked out at him, “do you really take me for a fool, boy?!” Nines’ nimble fingers unbuttoned Gavin’s dress pants, and he dropped the pants down to Gavin’s ankles. They boy was clearly in panic mode, and thinking that the android was going to pull down his underwear, next, Gavin’s fingers hooked onto the fabric, and he shook his head ‘no’ the entire time while shaking violently.

Snickering, Nines growled, “You are permitted to keep those on; seeing you nude would be disgusting, foolish child.” Glaring away at Gavin’s back and neck, Nines held the ruler tightly, and he delivered one brutal blow right to the center of the boy’s ass.

Gavin was wearing black underwear, and Nines found the color suited him. It brought out his white skin, and Nines couldn’t stop staring at the back of the boy’s thighs as he beat him repeatedly. It amazed him that Gavin wasn’t growing too much body hair, yet, and Nines enjoyed the view as he beat the boy over and over until he lost count.

Surprisingly, Gavin remained silent throughout most of it, and Nines was impressed.

THWACK! The android’s large hand wielding the ruler came down over Gavin’s ass, and the teenager bit down hard on the insides of his cheeks while shutting his eyes as tightly as he could.

“I know Mackenzie and Patrick were whispering something in your ear during Mass, Gavin,” Nines purred down at him while pausing in his beatings, “would you like to share with me what it was?”

He then brought his hand down again. THWACK!

Gavin trembled, and he sucked in a sharp, pained breath.

“No?” Nines smiled, “are you certain you don’t want to tell me?”

“Nnnuh!!” Gavin vocalized, and Nines smiled at him.

“Come on…”

One again, the ruler was mercilessly brought down over his soft flesh. THWACK!

“I c-can’t!!”

Brother Nines didn’t even hesitate in his beatings. THWACK!

“You should…”

THWACK!!!

Still refusing to relent, Nines came up with another brilliant plan that possibly would work. Setting the ruler down, he moved away from Gavin for a moment.

Thinking it’d been over, Gavin sighed out in relief. He opened his tear-stained eyes, and the contents of Brother Nines’ desk met his eyes. It all was so blurry and messy that Gavin was unable to differentiate between a globe resting on the desk and an old stapler. It all looked the same to him, and he sniffled, praying and hoping it truly was all over.

Without looking back at Brother Nines, he whispered, “Can I please g-go now?”

A deep hum hit his ears in no time. “Not quite; I have another method that may help you talk freely,” Brother Nines then chuckled in amusement, “don’t move.”

Gavin didn’t, and he again heard shuffling. Eyeing the shadow looming above the one he made on Nines’ desk, he knew that the android was standing directly behind him. He wasn’t surprised or shocked at all when Nines breathed into his ear, simply allowing Gavin to feel just how close to him he was…

Smiling down at him even though he couldn’t see it, Nines asked, “Do you know what happens to naughty young boys, Mr. Reed?”

Closing his eyes tightly, Gavin shivered.

Nines breathed hotly into his ear, next, “I’ll tell you…”

Gavin didn’t want to know, but he braced himself for the answer he knew was coming.

“…They get spanked.”

His eyelids flew open, and at the same time that they did, he felt the palm of a strong hand connecting with his ass.

SLAP!

“AAAAARRRGH!!”

This really hurt.

There weren’t any layers of clothing and fabric separating skin from skin, now, and Gavin threw his head down as he cried out in pain over and over again. His ass stung and burned, but Brother Nines didn’t care or seem to want to stop anytime soon. In fact, it appeared as if the android was enjoying himself; he inched himself closer and closer to Gavin’s body while delivering the hard slaps to his ass.

“Tell me what you and your friends were joking about in Mass.”

SLAP! Again, he brought his hand down without hesitation.

“Mmmnnnooo!”

SLAP!

“Just say it!”

SLAP!

Gavin writhed in pain, eyes watering and tears leaking down his cheeks. He couldn’t even see the nose on his face before himself, and he bit down hard on his tongue when Brother Nines spanked him again.

SLAP!

“I don’t like beating the truth out of you, Mr. Reed,” Nines sighed wearily down at him, but his hand yet again connected with the teenager’s ass.

SLAP!

“Believe me, this hurts me more than it is hurting you…”

SLAP!

Gavin cried louder, then bit down hard over his lower lip. He could’ve sworn he tasted coppery, metallic blood in his mouth, but he had to put up with it until Brother Nines was finished.

SLAP!!

Not wanting to show the android how much pain he was in, Gavin’s nostrils flared as he breathed in deeply and slowly, thinking about anything except for where he was, what was currently happening to him, and who specifically was doing all this to him. He thought of dirt bike racing, fishing, smoking weed with his friends, eating pizza and his favorite snacks, and making out with a hot girl who had a wonderful pair of breasts.

Strangely, while he thought of this, he found himself growing hard in his underwear…oh God, his cock was honestly hard…but why?!??! He knew he didn’t find this sexy or pleasurable, but it had to be a physical reaction due to his hips gently gyrating against the desk whenever Brother Nines hit him. It was just friction and contact!!! Nothing more, right??

SLAP!

“Noooo!”

“Shut up!” Brother Nines spat angrily at him, “you should’ve considered the ramifications of your stupid actions before all this happened, Mr. Reed!”

SLAP!

“Please…”

“This is all your fault!”

SLAAAP!!!

Yes, yes it was his fault. Knowing he didn’t want to sell his friends out and betray them, Gavin had to consider for a moment if this was all truly worth it. Would his friends take a beating like this for his own sake?!?

SLAP!

He truly wondered…

SLAP!!

“Ahhh!!”

Right when he thought he couldn’t take it anymore, Gavin saw Nines’ shadow looming over his own, and they meshed together. Nines had been practically eyeing his ass while leaning above him, and he hummed to himself as he studied the bruising and red handprint marks he’d left behind after pulling Gavin’s underwear to the side for a brief moment.

Eyes swimming with joy and zeal, Brother Nines smirked at Gavin. “You’re the loyal sort, I see,” he pointed out, “I won’t learn a thing from you, will I?”

Silently, Gavin managed to shift his weight to his right hand-the dominant hand of his body while he took in many sharp, labored breaths. His eyes stung with tears, and he was hardly able to stand up when Brother Nines moved back.

“Do you think you’re slowly beginning to learn your lesson now, Mr. Reed?” Brother Nines inquired while pausing.

Taking advantage of the break from the brutal beatings, Gavin sucked in a deep mouthful of fresh air. Realizing how badly his lungs ached and burned for it, he had to have really been in severe pain after all.

Brother Nines must’ve noticed it as well. He leaned against Gavin and softly whispered, “You’ve been drowning, haven’t you?” Cooing softly, he rubbed Gavin’s chin, and then wiped the last bits of his tears off his cheeks.

Turning him around, Nines stood above Gavin, and he withdrew a tissue from his black dress pants pockets. “Wipe your face off,” he instructed the teenager, and then pet him lightly on the head.

While Gavin dabbed away softly at his pink, tear-stained eyes, Brother Nines bent down and pulled Gavin’s pants back up. Zipping the boy up carefully, Nines did in fact notice the semi-erection Gavin was sporting, but he chose not to comment on it. He hid a sly, knowing grin while staring down at the floor, and when Gavin had finished wiping his eyes, he grabbed the tissue and tucked it back into his pockets.

Wagging a finger into the boy’s face, Nines smiled while cheerfully singing out, “This is our little secret, Gavin; you tell anyone else about this and I’ll rip your jaw off.”

The threat hung in the air between them, and Gavin sniffled again. He could hardly move; the beatings he’d received definitely was going to leave his skin and ass with the android’s handprints all over, but it was too late, and Gavin found he didn’t care much. Truth be told, he was worried about his mouth and jaw being ripped off his face, and he blinked back a fresh round of tears while steadying himself on his legs.

Beaming down at him, Nines smirked, “That’s a good lad,” he ruffled Gavin’s messy hair once more playfully and tenderly, “I may make a refined gentleman out of you yet, Mr. Reed.”

Right then in that moment, there were so many things Gavin had wanted to say to Brother Nines. He’d wanted to throw something at him while punching him a million times in the face. He’d wanted to spit into his eyes and claw at his LED light. Anything he could do to degrade, humiliate, and inflict some sort of damage unto the tall android, he’d wanted to take full advantage of. Sadly, these all existed as fantasies in his mind, and Brother Nines was liable to just snap him neatly in two if he even dared to do such a thing.

Brother Nines smiled widely at him, “You’re now dismissed, Mr. Reed.”

With no other options left, Gavin limped over towards his desk, and he grabbed his binder, notebooks, and pencil case in his hands and held the items tightly to his chest while sniffling softly.

Trying to conceal his limp, Gavin made it all the way to his dormitory, and the moment he’d located his bed, he threw his school items onto the floor next to his bed, and he hid himself deeply beneath his sheets. Even the mattress hurt and stung against his lower back, and Gavin pulled his blankets and sheets up over his head.

He didn’t want anyone to see him in this sorry state.

He didn’t need the world seeing his tears at all.

No one cared, anyway.

Moving the sheets away from his eyes for one final glance around the dormitory, his eyes met with that of a neatly painted portrait of Jesus Christ. It was mounted on the wall across from the beds, though for some reason, Christ’s eyes weren’t even looking at anyone or anything in particular. It was odd; in spite of staring up at everyone from the vantage point on the wall high above, Christ’s eyes seemed…already to be staring at something else…something otherworldly, perhaps.

Yes, no one cared at all.

 

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin found he was finally able to sit down and walk about like a normal human being the next morning. Unfortunately, the skin over his ass was a horrible shade of light purple, and he made sure no one saw it as he showered hurriedly that morning. He’d made it down to the dining hall in once piece, and he found Greg, Mackenzie, Ronald and Peter, as well as Andrew sitting down in the same spot Gavin himself had sat down in the other day during breakfast.

Plopping himself down roughly beside the boys, Gavin glared daggers straight at Mackenzie, and then over at Greg. “Thanks for ditching me yesterday, you sons of bitches!” he cried out angrily, his shoulders tightly bunched up.

Eleven-year-old Ronald pushed Gavin’s breakfast tray over towards him, the younger boy’s dark, chocolate-colored eyes and long black eyelashes fluttering up anxiously at Gavin. “Are you okay Gavin?” he asked in a shy and tiny voice which implied he was frightened of Gavin.

Rolling his eyes, Gavin snatched off his tray a few crackers, and then stacked a small slice of cheese onto the crackers. “Oh yeah, I’m just fuckin’ peachy,” he grumbled while biting into his breakfast, the crumbs falling and flying out messily, “in fact, I’m soooo thrilled and happy to have friends that got my back through heaven and hell!!” Emphasizing his anger and words, he glared at Mackenzie, and then at Greg. The other two boys winced and shrank back in their seats upon the bench, their cheeks flushed deep pink.

Clearing his throat, Mackenzie answered, “Gavin, we honestly wanted to wait outside in the halls for you, but the moment Brother Nines closed the door, Brother Josh and Brother Ralph approached us, and they told us to go back to the dormitory…”

Greg nodded in confirmation, “Mate, I swear I’m not a bloke who’d just abandon his mates,” he explained hurriedly, eyes growing wide with concern and fear, “but some of these androids can be so damn—”

“Creepy, I know,” Gavin interrupted, shifting forward on his seat to grab some apple juice in a large jar, but the moment he’d moved on his ass, he groaned when the sensitive and sore areas rubbed against the hardness of the bench. He was forced to sit back down, and he pointed at the jar. “Can someone please help me get some of that??”

Eyeing him warily, Mackenzie whispered, “What happened to you, anyway?”

“Yeah, what happened??” little Ronald and Peter piped out while thirteen-year-old Andrew bit and chewed on one of his fingernails nervously.

Gavin was at a dead-end for once in his life. A horrifying dilemma had slammed into his brain at once, and he had to consider asking himself the following question:

Do I tell them the truth, or do I lie?

Telling the truth had as many advantages as lying did, but it also had a significantly greater number of disadvantages. Not wanting to be seen as some weakling in front of his new peers-and especially the younger kids-telling the truth simply would do no good. He didn’t need saving; he didn’t need protecting, and he certainly wasn’t some victim! Telling the truth was also just plain pointless in terms of logic and actions. After all, what could a bunch of kids just starting to go through puberty do for him?? They were all just as tiny, weak, short, small, and innocent as he himself was at the end of the day. Acting tough and mighty was just a portrayal of how frightened and weak they all were at the end of the day, and neither of them sitting at the table right then and there had to explain it for the message to be made loud and clear.

He felt he also had the option of reporting the incident directly to Brother Markus or possibly Father Anderson, but then again, there were just so many problems with that! What if they didn’t believe him?? What if they thought he was lying for attention and punished him?? What if they needed lots of proof?? Gavin didn’t exactly want to run around the school dropping his pants so just about anyone and everyone could see his ass. No way!! It was all just too embarrassing, and there were too many risks and fears associated with it.

Peeking up at the head table, Gavin found to his horror that Brother Nines was already smiling directly into his eyes. The Android Brother grinned with wild, unabandoned confidence shining brightly as the sun in his eyes, and he tapped a finger along his lower lip.

“This is our little secret, Gavin; you tell anyone else about this and I’ll rip your jaw off.”

Unbridled, the memory of the terrifying threat slammed into his mind and ears, and Gavin gasped before he was able to slap a hand directly over his mouth to conceal his cry.

Brother Nines had threatened him…how could he even dream of telling anyone what had happened, now?!?

“This is our little secret, Gavin; you tell anyone else about this and I’ll rip your jaw off.”

Reeling back from it, Gavin trembled, and he grabbed the edge of the table as he hung his head down low. He could still feel the android’s cold blue eyes almost spearing in through the top of his skull, and it took every bit of control and willpower he had left in himself to just drown it out and ignore it. Let Brother Nines stare; he could stare all he wanted, but he wasn’t going to show the android how weak and frightened he was…no…no!!! That would be just the very thing the cruel monster was looking for!!!

“Gavin?”

Hearing confused voices ringing in his ears, Gavin opened his eyes, and when he stared back up around the table, he found all the boys seated by him regarding him with fear and concern evident in their wide, round eyes.

Letting go of his grip on the table, Gavin cleared his throat. “Sorry guys,” he coughed while trying to cover his worries and troubles, “I’m just kinda homesick, I think…”

Greg wasn’t buying it at all. He frowned and leaned into Gavin. Holding up a hand against Gavin’s ear and cheek so the younger ones wouldn’t hear, he whispered, “What really happened between you and Brother Nines?”

Batting him away, Gavin snapped, “Nothin’!!! What’s wrong with you, Greg?!”

Mackenzie shook his head while crossing his arms over his chest, “We’re wondering what’s wrong with you, Gavin,” he looked at Gavin up and down and snorted, “ever since you came out of that classroom, something’s been different about you.”

Feeling more defensive than ever for letting his guard down enough so that people could easily read him, Gavin flicked a few cracker crumbs over at Mackenzie. “Mind your damn business, man,” he groused angrily, “can’t a guy have a rough day?!?”

“Well,” Mackenzie snickered, “that depends on how ‘rough’ it was…”

The start of the perverted joke spread like wildfire, and Greg joined in while giggling, “Yeah, I’ll bet that Gavin totally likes it rough all the time!”

“Eeeww,” younger Andrew shivered while growing pale, “I don’t really need to think about who likes it rough and who doesn’t, especially during breakfast…”

Motioning at Gavin with a thumb and a head tilt, Greg said, “Gavin’s just too shy to share the details, but I’ll say that Brother Nines probably gave him a run for his money, ey mate?” Gripping Gavin around the shoulder, Greg pulled the other boy flush against his body, and he playfully messed up his hair.

At least they were all laughing, now, which was a complete change in the behavior displayed earlier. Not wanting to create suspicion in his friends again, Gavin felt he had no choice but to give in and play along, even though he knew that Greg simply joking about Brother Nines in that way deeply troubled and disturbed him.

Forcing a smile onto his face, Gavin rolled his eyes and laughed, “Ha-ha, yeah you’re truly a fuckin’ comedian, bruh.”

“Come on then mate!” Greg chuckled, “you tell us what dirty things you got up to all alone in Brother Nines’ strong arms!!”

Mackenzie winked at Gavin, and thankfully, young Ronald, Andrew, and Peter had left the table, chasing each other around and playing together instead. Gavin was relieved, as less ears and eyes were on him, now.

“So?” Mackenzie chuckled while throwing a cracker at him, “what’ll it be, Reed?”

Rolling his eyes up to the ceiling, Gavin waved a finger in the air as if he had been conducting an imaginary orchestra. “Yes, yes,” he sang out on a dull note, “I’m a total slut for Brother Nines.”

Gasping, Mackenzie held out a hand in front of Greg, “You owe me twenty,” he laughed while winking again at Gavin.

“You wanker,” Greg hissed, and then chuckled in Gavin’s direction, “you still didn’t specify what kinds of naughty things you got up to, Reed…”

It was Gavin’s turn to wink, and he whispered, “Oh, it wasn’t anything extraordinary; after effectively seducing me with his charms, Brother Nines just took me to his room, took off all my clothes, and I got on my back, spread my legs, and thought of England the entire time…”

That had done it.

Mackenzie spat out the juice he’d been drinking, and thankfully, his head had been pointing to the side, otherwise, he would’ve sprayed Gavin and Greg seated across from him. He spat out his juice while coughing, desperately making a grab for napkins while Greg nearly fell off the bench in rounds of loud, boisterous laughter.

Seeing how happy he’d made his friends, Gavin couldn’t help but laugh as well. Their laughter had been far too contagious, and he soon joined in as he clenched his eyes tightly and just let loose. He knew from he sounds of other conversations growing quiet around them that they were making far too much of a noise, but he found he didn’t care.

He deserved a laugh.

Nearly losing himself to his laughter, Gavin hadn’t seen or heard the fifteen-year-old Reese making his way over towards their table, and he wasn’t empty-handed. Without even so much of a warning, the hot-headed British teenager dumped a tiny can of Diet Pepsi he’d been hiding behind his back in his hands right over Gavin’s head.

The cold liquid splashed all over Gavin, effectively wetting him down until it reached his dress pants where it soaked and stained the fabric. Gavin gasped in fear and shock, and as he stood up to face whoever had done it, Reese aimed a clenched fist at Gavin’s jaw.

Before he could make contact with the other teenager’s bone, a strong hand flew up into the air, and immediately, it wrapped itself around Reese’s smaller, tightly clenched one.

Chapter Text

Gavin sputtered in confusion while he dabbed away at his sticky, wet uniform. He reeked and smelled of Diet Pepsi, and the entire dining hall had grown silent as at least one hundred pairs of eyes landed and rested only on Gavin Reed. He hated being the center of attention, but for now, he was far too livid and angry to care.

Glaring maddeningly at Reese, he cried out in irritation and pure anger, “MOTHERFUCKER! WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROB—”

“Silence, Mr. Reed,” Brother Nines’ clipped voice hissed down at them both.

It’d been the tallest Android Brother out of the bunch who’d practically zipped his way towards Reese, and he was currently holding onto the boy’s clenched fist so tightly, that Reese winced. His face slowly turned almost as red as his hair while he gasped out in minor pain.

A chair dragged itself back along the old stones of the floor in the dining hall, and Brother Markus cried out while still at the head table, “Brother Nines!!! What’s the meaning of this?!”

Not giving Brother Nines the opportunity to lie, Gavin yelled out, “Reese poured his drink on me!!”

At that moment, Gavin felt napkins being pressed over his clothes, and he looked down for a second to see Mackenzie and Greg gently pressing paper towels and napkins on him in the hopes of drying him off faster.

While Gavin hurriedly dried himself off, Brother Nines dropped Reese’s hand. The boy cradled his pink hand, moving his fingers as he whispered, “I’m sorry, Brother Nines…”

Brother Markus finally reached where they were all standing, and he screamed out before Gavin, “What did you do to enrage this young man?”

Gavin paused in the middle of his drying, and he cried out, “I didn’t do anything! I was just sitting and talking to my friends, and he just walked over and poured his drink on me!!”

Nodding, Greg butted in with, “It’s true, Brother Markus, Gavin was—”

Rounding on him quickly, the android snapped, “I wasn’t speaking to you, Mr. Jefferson,” coldness crept its way in his eyes, and Greg silenced himself while throwing Gavin a sullen and an apologetic look.

Choosing instead to address Brother Nines, Brother Markus sighed out, “What really happened here, Brother Nines?”

Still peering down at Gavin the entire time with an unreadable facial expression, Brother Nines proclaimed, “I did in fact witness it for myself; Mr. Reed isn’t lying.”

Straightening out his black wool priest frock, Brother Markus shook his head at Reese. “Mr. Carter, I’m very disappointed in you,” his words made Reese shrivel up in fear, and he looked away. “I expected more from you, young man,” Brother Markus finished while turning away from them all.

Before he left, however, he leaned against Brother Nines, almost standing on his toes to whisper out, “I shall leave it to you then, Brother Nines; they’re your pupils, and I’ll leave their punishments for you to hand out. Good day to you all.”

Swallowing nervously, Gavin began panicking immediately.

Brother Markus was going to leave their punishments to be determined and decided upon by Nines?!?!?

No way…dear God…please no…

Weakly staring up into Nines’ eyes, Gavin cast him a pleading look, but the android ignored it.

Licking his lips, Brother Nines looked at Reese first, and then over at Gavin, where his gaze remained centered and most focused. “What am I going to do with you young boys, hmm??” there was something so dark and sinister in his tone that even Reese was trembling.

“What am I going to do with you…”

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

“I shall nevermore call their sins to mind, or their offences, Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 17!”

“Continue, Reese.”

“As the distance of east from west, so far from us does He put our faults, Psalm 103, verse 12!”

“Again, if you will.”

“I shall nevermore call their sins to mind, or their offences, Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 17!”

Reese’s young voice echoed against the walls of the tiny stairwell leading up to the chapel while Gavin stood almost statuesque before Brother Nines.

The long-legged android had led them both into the medium-sized stairwell far away from anyone else, and he sat himself down on the third step closest to the floor while smiling almost sadistically at Gavin. He’d ordered the sixteen-year-old not to budge while Reese had been instructed to head to the back of the old stairwell, face the wall, and recite lines and verses from the Bible centered on sins and forgiveness.

Gavin could hardly believe this was happening, as it’d been one of the most awkward, strangest, and creepiest forms of ‘punishment’, if he could even call it that. It appeared that Reese had received the brunt of it as he chanted away mindlessly in the far corner of the stairwell, but Gavin felt he truly deserved it, after all…

Brother Nines hadn’t even allowed him to go wash himself off, and he hated how sticky and cold he still felt while the wind howled outside and beneath the doors and tiny crevices in the windows of the stairwell. Only Reese’s words were loud enough to make Gavin believe this was all real and happening to him, and he groaned when Nines’ eyes swept over his body probably for the fifteenth time in such a short period of time.

He hated this stupid android…God, he really did.

“Jesus said: “Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either,” Reese sighed out, “Matthew, chapter 6, verses 14 – 15.”

Smiling in pride, Nines sat back comfortably, arms resting back as he placed majority of his weight on his elbows.

When he was silent for far too long to the point where it creeped out Gavin enough, the short teenager hissed out, “This is really freakin’ awkward, Nines, I hope you know that.”

“It is who blot out your acts of revolt for my own sake and shall not call your sins to mind. Remind me, and we will judge this together; state your own case and justify yourself! Isaiah, chapter 43, verses 25 – 26!”

Merely grinning like a Cheshire cat, Nines sighed out, “To you, perhaps it may very well be, Mr. Reed, but I’m in charge here, and I’ve deemed this as necessary for both yourself, and Reese.”

Challenging him immediately, Gavin whispered, “How??”

“Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,” Reese pressed on, “Acts of the Apostles, chapter 3, verse 19…”

Nines huffed, “I am helping you grow, Mr. Reed, isn’t it obvious?”

As the wind howled in response, Gavin shook with anger, though he didn’t move from his spot. How Nines was able to say something this blatantly stupid was beyond the boy, but he held his composure as he ground out through tightly clenched teeth, “You know it wasn’t my fault, Nines; you know that damn well!”

A strange gleam appeared in the android’s eyes, suddenly, and he didn’t move while Reese carried on reading. After a few minutes, Nines finally shifted, and he sat up a little while smiling happily at Gavin as though the boy had wished him a Happy Birthday. “What can you really do about it, Mr. Reed?” Brother Nines chuckled, “you wield no power, do you?”

“I—”

“Because that is what He has done. It is He who has rescued us from the ruling force of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son that He loves, and in Him we enjoy our freedom, the forgiveness of sin,” Reese interrupted loudly, “Colossians, chapter 1, verses 13 – 14!”

Placing his hands on his kneecaps, Brother Nines leaned slightly into him, and he again repeated his question. “What can you really do, Gavin? Hmm?”

What could he do…?

Truthfully, he didn’t know.

“This is our little secret, Gavin; you tell anyone else about this and I’ll rip your jaw off.”

What power did he really have?

Staring reluctantly at Nines, Gavin mulled over his thoughts, trying so very desperately to at least think of something.

What could he do??

“This is our little secret, Gavin; you tell anyone else about this and I’ll rip your jaw off.”

He couldn’t believe that stupid threat still loomed above his head and was scaring him, but it was. To deny it would be foolish, and Gavin vowed not to be foolish any longer. Perhaps if he instead changed his approach and tactic, perhaps…maybe…MAYBE Brother Nines wouldn’t be so cruel??

“If we acknowledge our sins, He is trustworthy and upright, so that He will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil, John, chapter 1, verse 9!”

Studying him in silence, Brother Nines still kept on a happy, pleasant face, and he cheerfully grinned at Gavin. “You’re a smart young man after all,” he snickered, “I admire that.”

Gavin wanted to lash out and curse away at the android like there was no tomorrow, but he held his tongue and bit down hard on the insides of his cheeks as he forced his head to nod and bow down in phony obedience. Brother Nines sniffed, but otherwise kept watching him.

While Reese’s voice drowned away into the background, Brother Nines shifted himself again, and he looped and crossed his right leg over the left. “Hand, or mouth?” he asked so silently, that Gavin had missed it the first time.

“What?”

“Hand or mouth?”

What was he—

“And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too, Mark, chapter 11, verse 25.”

Nines’ eyes were shining in a predatory manner, and he sneered at Gavin, “Young men these days aren’t so innocent, are they?” he wasn’t looking for an answer to his question, and he pressed out, “when you’re seeking out a woman you fancy, is it your wish for her to pleasure you with her hand, or her mouth?”

Gavin’s blood ran cold right then and there. He still was unable to accept the fact that an authority figure had asked him a highly sexual, inappropriate, and deeply troubling question. Lunging at Nines, Gavin growled, “You fuckin’ pervert—”

“Careful, Mr. Reed,” Nines purred, LED light red in a warning, and something in his eyes flashed and kept Gavin rooted to the spot.

Nines only smiled in triumph when the boy ceased moving. “I’ve asked you to stay put, have I not?” he obviously felt the need to repeat the old instruction, “so you stay put, and answer me.”

It’d grown silent in the background, suddenly, and Brother Nines scowled. “Reese?” he cried out while still staring intently at Gavin, “Reese, I can’t hear you!”

“…through His blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins. Such is the richness of the grace, Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 7!” the other boy continued dully.

“From the beginning, now!” Nines barked out at him, and a tiny groan came from Reese before he sniffled and breathed in sharply.

“I shall nevermore call their sins to mind, or their offences, Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 17!”

Nodding, Nines hissed at Gavin, “Answer me, brat.”

What could he say? He knew he technically had the option of screaming out to Reese that Brother Nines was truly a sick, disgusting, twisted monster, but the boy wasn’t exactly on ‘friendly’ terms with him, and wouldn’t believe him, likely! It was a wasted effort even thinking about that, and he abandoned it right away.

Shaking, Gavin chose to be brave, and made a mental note to try and sneak in an insult disguised into his answer. “It depends,” he whispered, keeping a close eye on Reese’s turned back the entire time, “it all honestly depends on the mood I’m in…”

“As the distance of east from west, so far from us does He put our faults, Psalm 103, verse 12…”

Something akin to amusement was shining in Brother Nines’ pupils, and he grinned while rubbing a finger on the white pallor of his own neck. “Tell me about your moods, then…”

“This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, Matthew, chapter 26, verse 28…”

Something suddenly clicked into Gavin’s brain, then. He knew exactly why Brother Nines had selected this as a form of ‘punishment’…Reese had his back turned to them and was ordered to read aloud so Brother Nines could take advantage of his distracted state and ask Gavin perverted things…

Sick…

Sick fucking disgusting beast…

Unable to believe that the android was so manipulative in his game, the teenager chose to accept the challenge, then. If Brother Nines was going to play this game, then Gavin was willing to show him just how good at it he was. It wasn’t just the topic of sex; it was the fact that Nines was a master at manipulation, and he knew very well what he was doing, as he’d planned it already in advance.

So be it, then.

“It is who blot out your acts of revolt for my own sake and shall not call your sins to mind. Remind me, and we will judge this together; state your own case and justify yourself,” Reese droned on, “Isaiah, chapter 43, verses 25 – 26.”

“Mr. Reed?”

Gavin smiled politely at Nines, “Yes,” he nodded, “it’s just a matter of what I like…” it was at that moment he decided to slowly begin flipping the tables on Brother Nines, “…wouldn’t you agree that mouth is better than hand?”

“It is for the Lord our God to have mercy and to pardon, since we have betrayed him, Daniel, chapter 9, verse 9…”

Slightly taken aback, Brother Nines frowned, “I believe we are speaking of your experiences, Mr. Reed,” he pointed out, “what would—”

“That’s true,” Gavin interrupted, aiming to really get on Nines’ last nerve, and he knew he had to be pushy and aggressive, else he would lose. “I’m merely saying that while the hand is excellent for a quick release, there’s nothing in this world that can even compare to a warm, wet mouth slowly sucking you and milking you dry…”

“And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too, Mark, chapter 11, verse 25…”

Taking half a step towards Nines since he was silent, Gavin felt he had the android right in his grasp. Perhaps his sexual prowess was the only thing he had with him now as a weapon, and god damn it, he was going to fully use it to his advantage. Purring down at the android, he whispered in almost a seductive tone, “After so long, everyone finds they miss oral pleasures, Brother Nines…” when the android stared directly into his eyes, Gavin unconsciously wet his lips with his tongue, “…everyone knows how wonderful getting sucked off is…everyone…”

Everyone except…

“…through His blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins. Such is the richness of the grace, Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 7…”

Brother Nines’ LED light flashed yellow, and it thoroughly pleased Gavin seeing it. He knew he’d gotten under the android’s skin, and he inched up another step towards him, almost reaching out while he cooed out, “How many times have you been sucked off, Brother Nines?”

“Jesus said—”

“That’s enough, Reese!” Nines suddenly snapped, causing the other boy to turn around in panic.

Gaping at the android, Reese croaked out, “But you told me to keep going, Brother Nines!”

Rounding on him, the strong android grabbed his shirt collar, and he began dragging him towards the exit of the stairwell. “I know what I said, Reese,” he hissed thinly into his ears, “but now I’m sending you off to join your class!”

As he opened the door to the stairwell, Reese cried out, “What should I tell Brother Josh if he asks me why I’m late?!?”

Gripping the door tightly so that his fingers and knuckles turned white, Brother Nines was shaking. Gavin had never seen such a reaction from the massive android, and to see it now was just shocking. He wondered what he’d done to the android and what kind of an effect his words truly had, but then Brother Nines growled out to Reese, “Tell him you had to run some errands for me,” he then slammed the door on the boy’s face, and Reese backed away slowly before finally running away as quickly as he could.

Now that Gavin was all alone with Brother Nines, he truly began fearing for his life. The last time they’d been alone, Brother Nines had inflicted a great deal of harm and pain unto him, and he expected much the same, now.

However, before he could panic and worry about that, Brother Nines-while trembling violently-turned back to face him. He hardly blinked as his hands shook, and his LED light flickered red, and then yellow. Something had to have either snapped within the android, or he’d possibly been broken or malfunctioning?

Gavin hoped it was either of the two, but before he could observe to find out, Brother Nines loomed over him. There was hardly a gap and space between their bodies, but still, the tall android approached and practically meshed his body against Gavin’s.

Only stairs were behind him, and Gavin reached out with a hand and grabbed the handrails of the stairwell before he fell down onto his already sore ass.

Brother Nines sneered cruelly at him for many long, painful minutes in silence before he ground out, “Everyone knows how wonderful getting sucked off is, huh?”

Gavin swallowed when the wind howled and the windows slightly rattled. He felt so much colder, now.

“Everyone…” Brother Nines repeated, a dry laugh hanging on the last word as he gripped the bridge of his nose. He refused to back away or turn away from Gavin, however, and the boy only looked up at him with confusion evident in his eyes.

Finally, Brother Nines dropped his hand away from his face, and he practically drooled and salivated down over Gavin. “Well,” he purred deeply, “if that’s your thought, then you thought wrong!” he cried out almost over the wind blowing against the windows.

Gavin could do nothing but stare in awe at the android he both feared and loathed more than anything else in the world.

He knew he was truly stuck, now, but a silly part within himself hoped and prayed that Nines would just scream at him and then let him go…yes, wasn’t this what he did when he was angry?!?

WASN’T IT?!

Desperation leaked out of his eyes when Brother Nines placed a hand on his shoulder. Moving the teenager back up the stairs slowly, Brother Nines hissed out, “Hurry up; your punishment’s not over, yet.”

While Gavin’s heart was racing in his chest, he could only obey while hoping that he would soon be let go. If he just listened, obeyed, and just kept silent, this would be over so soon, and they would never talk about it ever again…

With the last bits of a fight still left in him, Gavin picked up the pace, but he paused long enough to glare over his shoulder at Brother Nines and spit out with venom, “This is complete bullshit!!”

A strong hand was upon his back, and Gavin turned around when he felt Nines’ breath beating down on the back of his neck. “Whatever way you wish to define it, it just so happens to be your deserved punishment,” Brother Nines jeered at him menacingly, and Gavin only pushed down feelings of regret, sorrow, and anger as a result. He eyed the top of the staircase, and he knew where he had to go.

“And when I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it,” Nines added on behind him, shoving him quickly up the steps.

Gavin was amazed that anytime he’d almost tripped due to how his knees trembled and shook, Brother Nines had caught him and supported his weight against his strong arms and chest each and every time…

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin nearly vomited when the empty classroom door clicked shut, and then Brother Nines grabbed a key and hurriedly locked it. Placing the key back into his frock coat, he turned around to face Gavin.

Outside, the sky had grown terribly dark, and it all added on to the scary ambiance. The lights in the room were quite dim as it were, and Gavin could hardly see much of anything while Brother Nines leaned against the door. There was a confident smirk upon his face, and he studied Gavin for a moment before he waved a hand at him.

“Strip, please.”

………..

Gavin actually laughed. He knew he shouldn’t have, but it was just a natural reaction out of hearing such an insane thing coming from Brother Nines.

Strip?

No way he’d actually said that…

“I don’t find it amusing, Mr. Reed,” Brother Nines’ voice hit his ears, “strip every article of clothing you have on your person, now.”

He realized he was crying, and all Gavin could do was slowly turn around while he peered around the empty classroom. No way was this happening to him in real life…no…

He’d read about things like this happening before, and he’d certainly seen it in movies. But this wasn’t a movie; this was real life, and it was his life!! Brother Nines had to have been joking, and to test this, Gavin turned around and shook his head defiantly.

“I won’t do it,” he argued back, and Brother Nines merely closed his eyes and hung his head down in response.

Moving away from the door and over to a small wooden chair against the wall in front of Gavin, Brother Nines merely stood tall before the chair. “Take off your clothes, Gavin.”

………..

“Please…”

“Do it.”

He had no choice…he just had no choice. No one was here to help him, to save him, to listen to him, and to stop this. Gavin clenched his molars together to endure it; this was like torture. Perhaps all he was biting back was his useless self-respect…

At last, he reached for his belt with trembling hands.

Closing his eyes, Gavin felt his fingers and hands getting to work, and they all practically moved on autopilot. The cold air of the classroom hit his naked flesh, and it was that defining moment that Gavin knew he’d almost stripped down to his underwear. He felt so cold, naked, and violated just from Brother Nines’ eyes sweeping over his pink flesh alone than anything else. Whimpering softly, he kicked his clothes back, standing only in his underwear, but then Brother Nines growled that it too had to be removed.

Dear God…

His fingers went stiff like they had been bewitched to remain that way when he undid his belt, opened his fly, and slid down his pants initially. Gavin was frozen more upon realizing he was stark naked.

A lazy purr came from Nines, “Cast off your shame; you don’t need it.” The disdain in his words and in his gaze stabbed at Gavin, but even then, the boy didn’t object.

Gavin swiftly took his underwear off, and he stood with his hands covering his genitals while Brother Nines walked around him in a small circle. His exposed cock showed no sign of wilting; it palpitated with a faint, but growing heat.

The windows were rattled by the heavy, strong gust of wind, and Gavin wished he was anywhere except right before the scrutinizing gave of the cruel android before him. When he opened his eyes, however, he found that it wasn’t the case at all, and that he hadn’t moved an inch…

Life was far too cruel.

When he’d made his final circle around Gavin, Brother Nines chuckled lightly, “Hand or mouth? Hmm, I choose hand…”

The android kept on whispering other nasty, horrible things to him, but Gavin had been trying to drown it all out. He’d lost the ability to think clearly, though he’d been looking at nothing but the dim ceiling and rafters above. Suddenly, vivid blue eyes came into his sight.

Gavin glared at Nines, and the android gasped in shock. “Such a wild look you have,” he pointed out, and his fingers wavered and hovered in the air right beside Gavin’s cheeks, though he made no move to actually touch him. Dropping his hands finally, Nines chuckled softly to himself and sighed out, “I’ll drag you down to the depths of hell, boy.”

Feeling despair and chagrin, Gavin could only drop his hands limply to the side when Brother Nines pried his arms away from covering himself. The android backed away slowly, standing before the old wooden chair once again. Something close to appreciation flooded into his eyes when he stared at Gavin’s young, delectable body, and the teenager felt goosebumps rising all along his flesh as a result of the android simply choosing to stare at him for so long. His heart ached as if it would shred and shatter into a thousand pieces when he realized this was his true punishment.

Reese had been the lucky one; not Gavin.

Brother Nines was closely watching him, and Gavin didn’t understand why, but he felt the smallest twitch and motion stirring from his dick as a result.

“Fuuuck…” he couldn’t help but palm his erection, praying it would go down, but the stubborn, treacherous flesh only rose higher when the heat of his skin rubbed against it.

Brother Nines sat down on the chair, and crossing a long leg over the other, he hummed at first, and then chuckled a long, deep chuckle. “If you’re unable to take it any longer,” he suggested in a lazy drawl, “why don’t you-instead of fighting me-devote all your energy and attention to getting yourself off?”

Gavin looked down at his cock.

Was he that aroused??

Upon glancing at his flesh, he concluded that he was indeed becoming increasingly aroused, but he couldn’t focus…of course not; he was so humiliated, he almost wished he were dead at this moment.

And yet…his cock still ached with desire and want…

Something was terribly wrong with him. This wasn’t a super model or cam girl spreading her legs on a bed as he’d seen on the internet all over porn sites; this was a sick, twisted, perverted, horrible male android, and his words had this effect on Gavin?!?

No…

But he couldn’t help but desire to desperately chase after a faint, elusive thread of pleasure he knew his body had been badly yearning for. It pulled back to him, again and again, and he decided to seek it out to heighten his own arousal. Dropping down to his knees, he tried getting out of Nines’ line of vision, but the android sat still, neck bent as he adjusted to the new angle.

Willing himself not to pay attention to Brother Nines, Gavin got as comfortable as he could, all things considered. He regulated his breathing and just focused on balancing himself on his knees. If he let his guard down, it would all be over, and he felt he would lose his sanity and mind amid the panic and shame Nines was bestowing so easily and effortlessly onto him.

Without understanding how it’d happened, his fists moved clumsily up and down as he gripped his hardness. He hadn’t realized how wet he already was, and the motions were sloppy and uncoordinated as Gavin panted down eagerly. It’d been a while since he’d pleasured himself, but he suddenly felt so…needy…so dirty…

Those blue eyes kept watching him…

Nines was sitting pleasantly in the chair and silently watching Gavin on bent knees with his legs spread wide, fingers grasping at his cock and trying to bring himself to a climax. It was all so very shameful and wrong, but due to his teenage body and hormones, Gavin was far too gone to stop and think about it, now. For the time being, he just wanted release…

The smile on Nines’ lips was that of a conqueror.

A mocking whisper soon was pulled from the android, “You just love pain and humiliation, don’t you, Mr. Reed?”

“Nnnnghhuu!!!” Gavin responded unintelligibly, hands moving up and down firmly while his wet, naked flesh made obscene sounds in the quiet classroom.

When Nines had uttered his cruel words, Gavin was about to argue back, but when he tugged on his own cock, he swallowed his words and settled for simply glaring, instead. Not that it had much of an effect on Nines anyway…

“Must be frustrating to leave things half-unfinished,” Nines murmured so softly that a shiver ran down the younger man’s spine. But the words that came out of Nines in the very next second were like a splash of ice water to the face for Gavin.

“Console yourself more with your own hands, Mr. Reed…”

This was all the confirmation Gavin’s brain and ears needed. This was really happening…

“Let it all out,” Nines encouraged, and while Gavin didn’t know exactly what he meant, he felt disgusted enough to get the gist of it.

Just how much additional humiliation would Brother Nines ask him to tolerate???

Simply unable to determine that, Gavin groaned and tried steadying himself on his knees while continuously pleasuring himself slowly. “I f-fuckin’ h-hate you, Nines,” Gavin protested, and then moaned sensually.

Nines only smiled at him, “You have spirit, but don’t forget whom you’re talking to…” His gaze, chillier than the still-showering rain that had revisited the world outside, poured straight down on Gavin. “I won’t let you refuse.” Nines’ tone was absolute, and there was little room for a fight, now.

Just when it seemed like he was nearly about to reach climax already, the pleasure Gavin was feeling would slip right through his fingers. He knew Nines was closely watching, and perhaps that had been what’d kept on interrupting him. His futile whining and panting was all that filled his wordless space while the android seated calmly before him growled softly.

Maybe it would help cum faster if he just thought of an ex-girlfriend??

Gavin tried it, but then there was laughter in Nines’ voice, suddenly. It was like he could read past Gavin’s thoughts, somehow…

“No need to think about anyone or anything else,” Nines warned, “I never gave you that right.”

His seething rage had yet to ease up. Gasping with anger, rather than because he was jerking himself off, Gavin shut his eyes again. All he wanted right now was to escape this mortification as quickly as possible, but it was just too difficult with someone else there!!

Sensing his reluctance and hesitance, Nines growled, “Well? Go on and make yourself feel good…or do you require help?”

“Nooo!!!”

Peering back down, Gavin’s hand resumed its movements. He would rather kill himself than allow Brother Nines to touch him!

“Good,” Nines purred, complacent once more, “let yourself be intoxicated by misery and pain.”

Gavin felt an unexpected pang when a peculiar pain coming from his abdomen combined with hearing Nines’ whispered voice. It was a strange, sweet feeling that crept through him, just like when he’d first started drinking…

“Waahh??” He kept mumbling nonsense, but he couldn’t stop. This new throbbing sensation made his pulse rush faster; it felt as if he were floating. In the closed-up classroom and darkness, Gavin’s own hand-still closed around his cock-felt extra hot. His heart jolted. The breaths spilling from his lips had begun to take on a different sound from before.

Without thinking, Gavin garbled out, “Niiiiinesss…” he had no idea why he was crying out for Nines at all. Perhaps it was just an emotional reaction mixed in with the sexual act he was engaged in, but Gavin didn’t want to think about it on a much deeper level than that.

A deep, comforting chuckle hit his ears. “So you admit it,” Nines almost crooned, “you’re a depraved fool who enjoys degradation.”

Dismayed, Gavin wanted to protest, but all that came out of him was, “Niiineesss!” The hand he had on his cock started moving of its own accord, and he couldn’t help but be keenly aware of each and every finger he had twined about himself while staring openly at the muscular, tall, well-built android seated in the chair before himself.

At once, sticky drops of seminal fluid overflowed from the head of his penis, and it got worse when Nines made eye contact with him. It was as if he were no longer in his own body…

From what Gavin could see, Nines’ eyes were right there; fixated on him. Those blue eyes gazed at Gavin’s cock, and it was alone enough to make his skin crawl.

“Oh…oh…ugh…!!” The ecstatic urge pumping through his body came bursting from his lips as it sought an exit. Before he knew it, he’d spilled enough precum to wet his whole hand, and his pleasure had doubled. Gavin could hear lewd, wet noises he himself had been responsible for creating, but even those same sounds rang out tantalizingly in his eardrums and spurred him on. The sheer notion that he was being closely watched while engaging in a deeply private act cut through to his brain and heart, and it hurt as if he were being stabbed by one-hundred needles…and yet…it still felt so good…

“Doesn’t take much of an effort to make you lose your mind, does it?” Nines pointed out while rubbing his chin, eyes shining with pleasure as he trained them constantly on the motions of Gavin’s hand between his legs.

Nines’ deep, amused voice vibrated through the air, which was now filled with the sound of Gavin’s ragged breathing. “Keep going,” the android encouraged.

“Aaaah!! I…a-am!” Gavin cried out while panting desperately.

For some reason, he couldn’t get over the fact that those blue eyes were always watching him; always violating him.

Without realizing it, he’d become completely absorbed in pleasuring himself. Gavin’s embarrassment had suddenly evaporated. He just wanted to feel it…he just wanted a sense of release! He was so hard now, that it almost hurt. Furiously, Gavin pumped away at his erection.

The wood-infused scent of chairs and desks in the classroom blended in with the chocking masculine stench of his own sweat and come had risen up around him. Gavin had rubbed himself so much, that he was surprised he wasn’t bleeding by now. His left hand had transformed into one solid mass of pain, given the speed he’d been jerking himself off, and yet it only heightened his excitement.

The intense numbness gathering in his hips swelled enormously without warning; he arched his back, his head pressed roughly against the legs of the desk behind him. He used his thumb to dig hard at the tip of his cock. Something he couldn’t identify-something powerful, both painful and blissful-pounded up through him. Gavin’s body jerked, and his thoughts went white hot. Everything truly seemed to fade away…

“Hoooolllyyy fuuuck!”

All of his sensations floated in the empty space as burning liquid sprayed from his tightly clenched cock.

He’d fucking had an orgasm…

He’d came…he’d came right in front of Brother Nines…

Clearly, the show he’d put on for the android had been greatly appreciated and entertaining enough. Brother Nines seemed both pleased and apathetic, and his eyes traced every shape and curve of Gavin’s body, taking in the sights of his muscles, bones, light brown colored body hair sparsely decorated on his skin, and his exhausted eyes, last.

Trembling as tiny waves of pleasure rippled through him in the wake of it, Gavin sucked in halting breaths of air. Fluid was scattered across his stomach when he studied himself. There was no mistaking what he’d just done to himself at all…Gavin didn’t even have the energy to be pissed off anymore.

He found himself peeking up at Nines while his body slumped down flatly to the floor.

The android remained perched on the chair, and he scoffed, “Pathetic.” Smiling coldly, Brother Nines held a twisted sense of glee that resided deeply in his eyes.

Gavin groaned, but couldn’t formulate words. The last few drops came out throbbing painfully out of his cock and glittered up at them in the dim lights. Gavin’s left hand was completely plastered with white cum, and he hated that Nines was taking all these in.

After Gavin had collapsed on the floor, listless, Nines got off the chair, and bending down before the teenager, he put a hand beneath his chin and pushed Gavin’s head up to peer closer at him.

“Clean up; we have to leave,” was all that Brother Nines said while he straightened out his frock and moved swiftly into the shadows of the room.

Gavin lost track of time before he was finally able to get back into his Pepsi-stained clothes after he’d wiped his hands grossly over his pants. Making a metal note to shower as soon as he reached his dormitory, he swayed about on knees that felt like tiny toothpicks. He didn’t know how he had been able to stand, but he made it to the front door of the classroom, ready and eager to leave, when Brother Nines stopped him by slamming a hand down hard on his shoulder.

Gavin didn’t flinch due to heavy exhaustion, but he gazed up at Nines in silence while he waited for the android to say whatever he’d wanted to say.

After an age, Brother Nines grinned cruelly, and his eyes twinkled while he ground out delightfully, “Two-hundred lines, Mr. Reed,” his breath and words tickled Gavin’s cheeks and the tip of his nose, but he could hardly move away. “Two-hundred lines as follows,” Brother Nines continued while using his index finger to trace an unknown, random shape on Gavin’s sternum.

“I shall make an effort to watch my language, and I shall always think before I speak…” his eyes met Gavin’s, and he smiled widely, “am I clear?”

Weakly, the boy whispered, “Yes, Brother Nines.”

Petting Gavin on the shoulder, the Android Brother beamed at him. “Excellent; you’re forgiven now, my child. The Lord is with you.”

Gavin could hardly hear himself, but his lips and mouth already pushed out the soft, gentle words like a soothing caress on the skin, “And also with you…”

Chapter Text

“And so, he charmed the tenderest virgins with delight; his manly sway capturing the hearts and setting them affright, though were it not for the coldness of his hand upon their bodices, the maidens still relented, and bowed down their heads while lifting up their dresses!!”

“HEY!! Travis!!” Brother Ralph screamed out while snapping his fingers loudly, “that’s not in the script!!”

Gavin simply couldn’t believe being required to take acting and theatre courses had been a part of his timetable. Despite having joined late in the school, Father Anderson had handed him his timetable of set courses that very same morning. First thing on Friday mornings, Gavin had ‘drama and acting’ with Brother Ralph, and the class was held in a medium-sized auditorium in the basement of the school.

The air down there was stale, cold, bitter, and horrible. Gavin and the rest of his class had been currently half-seated-half-lying down on the black stage floor while Brother Ralph danced around with a strange colored tie wrapped around his head. It hung loosely over the back of his neck, but he passed along a script from a play he claimed he’d been working on so the students could perform it in front of the entire school on the second last day of classes before the summer ended.

Whatever it was, Gavin was grateful he didn’t have a huge part in it, and he’d only spoken out one line of ‘Alas, I’m tragically lost,’ before he had to sit down while the lead actor went about his lines.

As the other students recited their lines, Gavin and his friends soon located and discovered old props in a small box buried beneath a loose floorboard of the old stage. Brother Ralph’s attention was so divided as he sat before Travis to observe and ‘tutor’ the boy, that he’d failed to notice that the small group of boys grabbed the props and had been fooling around and goofing off with them.

Travis-the lead actor-had been reciting his lines in a monotonous voice while Patrick and Andrew grabbed cardboard, cut-out cucumbers. Placing them between their legs so they could mime long, gigantic penises, they stood up and tip toed behind Brother Ralph’s chair. Waving their hips and thrusting in the air silently, they soon made Travis burst out in a fit of giggles.

Evidently, Brother Ralph wasn’t too impressed with this. He sat with a cross expression painted onto his scarred face while he shook his head at Travis. “Travis, you can do better than that!” he sighed out, completely oblivious to Andrew flipping him off behind his back repeatedly. Patrick soon joined in, raising both middle fingers on his hands, and then as Andrew followed along, four middle fingers were raised rebelliously behind Brother Ralph’s head.

“Y-yes, sir,” Travis held back his laughter, staring down at his script. “Shall I start again?”

“That’d be wise!” Brother Ralph sang out, extending a hand in the air, “this time, with passion!! With form, with grace, with agility!!!”

Sighing and mumbling under his breath, Travis ignored the strange hand signs and motions Andrew and Patrick made, and he read on with his lines. “Given the air of the springtime, it is a most su-sucu-su?” he frowned in anger and confusion, a finger pointed at the word he was clearly having difficulty with. “Brother Ralph, what’s this word?”

Eager to help, the eccentric android stared down at the script, and his eyes twitched for a moment. A few students seated close to Brother Ralph held their breath, as if waiting for him to lash out. He’d been known for mood swings and random fits of a violent, weird temper, but thankfully, he merely blinked a few times as pleasantly as he could before smiling up at Travis.

“My dear boy,” he began in a small giggle, “the word is succulent! Succulent!”

Travis raised a curious black eyebrow, “Succulent?”

“Succulent!” Brother Ralph repeated once more, an innocent expression on his face, oblivious and ignorant to Andrew and Patrick grabbing their ‘cucumbers’ and pretending to deep-throat them.

Greg turned towards Gavin, and he winked flirtatiously at him, “Dat succ, tho…”

Gavin couldn’t help it. He laughed like an idiot. He threw his head back, cackling at the ceiling, and it caught Brother Ralph’s attention immediately. Luckily, before the strange android had the chance to completely turn around in his seat, Andrew and Patrick ducked down and they pretended to be engaged in reading over their scripts.

LED light yellow, Brother Ralph giggled as well along with Gavin, “Hehehe! That’s the spirit, Gavin!” he chirped cheerfully, “when one is acting, it is always important to have fun in the role, and just be yourself!!” After he’d stated that, he turned his body back around to face Travis once more.

“Wow…” Greg elbowed Gavin, “I love how he didn’t throw you out of the classroom or anything…”

Flicking Gavin’s nose, Mackenzie snickered, “If only I had that luck!!”

“Yeah,” Greg added in, “good luck with getting by on that shite in Brother Nines’ classes for sure!”

Once again, Gavin felt his mood turning to crap once the infernal android’s name had been brought up. It definitely conjured up images and thoughts he had been working hard on forgetting.

After heading to his room last night, Gavin had to shower quickly after his encounter with Brother Nines, and nearly waking up the younger boys, he hurried and showered in silence, practically slinking back to his bed with his hair still mostly soaked afterwards. He’d had horrible nightmares again all night long, and now, anytime someone mentioned Brother Nines, Gavin’s face would grow pale with fear, his toes and fingers would grow numb and turn cold, and his eyes would just become vacant and empty.

He tried keeping silent about the ordeal, but he knew he was suffering, and he knew he should’ve talked to someone he trusted about it…if only he could trust someone.

Eyeing the abrupt change in his behavior, Mackenzie shook him lightly, “Yo, Reed,” he whispered while keeping a close watch on Brother Ralph so they wouldn’t get reprimanded for talking in class, “you okay, man?”

After being shaken a few more times, Gavin snapped out of it. “Yeah, m’fine,” he whispered, but Greg and Mackenzie weren’t convinced at all.

Tapping Gavin’s fingers, Mackenzie hissed, “Dude, you’re shaking…what the fuck…?”

Staring down at his hands, Gavin confirmed it was true. Still, he battled within himself to remain strong, and he gathered his fingers into the palm of his hand and folded his hands in his lap. “It’s cold in here is all, Mac,” he responded plainly, “don’t worry about it.”

Nodding, Greg sighed, “Yeah, the air kind sucks down here I guess.”

With nothing left to really add, Gavin wanted to turn over to stare into empty space once more, but then the auditorium doors flung open. Only Gavin jumped when he saw long legs in black dress pants, and he held his breath when Brother Nines walked in proudly, hands clasped behind his back.

“Speak of the Devil, and he shall appear…” Mackenzie sighed, nodding over to Brother Nines.

“I think you mean ‘douche knuckle,” Greg whispered back in a correction.

Spinning around in his seat, Brother Ralph’s eyes practically glowed as brightly as his LED light while he watched Brother Nines approaching the stage.

“Welcome, Brother Nines!” he cried out while adjusting the strange tie around the circumference of his skull, “what brings you here on this lovely Friday morning?”

Brother Nines didn’t even falter; he merely stood by the edge of the stage, not really looking at anyone or anything specifically while he ground out, “Good morning, Brother Ralph, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind me borrowing the boys in my class away for a late morning swim?”

Gavin gaped at Greg, and then at Mackenzie. “There’s a swim team here?!?”

For a moment, Greg stared at him as if he had five heads attached onto his neck, but then his eyes grew more focused, and he nodded, “Oh yeah, Brother Nines has been trying to make some kind of sports and swim team for the older guys.”

Mackenzie groaned painfully, “I forgot about that…Brother Nines says he wants to prepare us to compete with another Catholic school sometime before the summer ends apparently.”

So it appeared the school had a lot of programs that involved interactions with other students from other schools? Gavin was truly shocked to hear and learn of all this new information.

Brother Ralph smiled excitedly at Brother Nines while toying with the ends of the tie circling his head, “Of course you may, Brother Nines!” he giggled out childishly, “take anyone you want!”

“I’ll just need a few of the older boys; they know who they are…” peering over his shoulder at them, one by one, the older boys including two ‘Elders’ rose to their feet. Carlos danced about eagerly, while Momose and Julius remained silently next to his ‘Elder’ brother. Following them, another fifteen-year-old boy Reese often hung around of British ethnicity named Michael got in line, followed by Patrick, Andrew, Travis, and Mackenzie.

Only Greg seemed a bit hesitant to get up and join the rest of the group, but he did when Brother Nines threw him a strange glare. Sighing, the dirty-blonde-haired Irish youth moved towards the line, and only Gavin and Reese remained seated on the dark stage floor.

Brother Nines smiled at Reese, “Mr. Carter?”

There was a lingering, heavy pause for a moment, and then Reese looked over at Gavin. The other teenager threw him a confused, disgruntled look, and fifteen-year-old Reese merely scowled for half a second at Gavin before his lips twisted downwards into a grimace of a pained expression. His pale-colored eyebrows clenched together on his brow ridge, and the tip of his long, thin nose turned upwards. Huffing, he looked away from Gavin at last, and he got up to his feet and joined his classmates.

Brother Nines approached Gavin with determination shining in his eyes. “Last but not least; Mr. Reed…” he waited until Gavin calmly brushed dirt off his uniform pants before he peeked up curiously. Tilting his head at the teen, Brother Nines said, “Come now, Mr. Reed; the wonderful summer of England doesn’t often gift us with lots of sunshine this early in the day! Why not take advantage of that while you can?”

Rolling his eyes rebelliously, Gavin hissed between clenched teeth, “I’m not joining you guys.”

Something dark suddenly passed over Brother Nines’ face, then. It was akin to a dangerous, menacing shadow, and the android’s eyes turned horrifying and menacing for a moment. Gavin caught the look, and he swallowed nervously while he expected Brother Nines to reach down and yank him up to his feet violently.

The android’s LED light color remained on yellow, and his lips were pressed into a thin line…yes, he really seemed…annoyed?

Before Gavin could question it further, Brother Nines merely smiled calmly as his LED light switched immediately to blue. “Suit yourself,” he beamed at the young man sitting down on the stage floor. Nodding at Brother Ralph, he cried out, “I appreciate it, Brother Ralph.”

As he strode away, Gavin gaped at him, and cried out, “H-hey! What am I supposed to do then?”

Pausing, Brother Nines threw him an evil grin, “You’re obviously going to continue your lesson with Brother Ralph, Mr. Reed…good day to you.” As he then ushered the rest of the boys towards the exits, Gavin felt eyes on the back of his head.

Turning his neck around slowly, he cringed when he saw Brother Ralph almost drooling at him in a very odd, bizarre manner.

To hell with it.

Springing up, Gavin almost flew off the stage, and he yelled out, “WAIT FOR ME!!! I CHANGED MY MIND!!!”

A deep, mellow chuckle hit his, and Brother Nines held open the auditorium doors for him widely, “I’m glad you’ve changed your mind after all, Mr. Reed.”

Gavin only prayed he’d made the right choice, but he felt he’d be better off with his friends at least, and he caught up to them all in no time as they all began exiting the school through the back.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

There was indeed a deep, large lake at the back of the school beyond a huge meadow full of the best and prettiest roses and flowers Gavin had ever seen before. While the warm, bright rays of the sun beat down over the vast, grand meadow, the large bushes and stocks of wheat and barley blew about, and it all suddenly reminded Gavin of the front cover of one of his mother’s stupid romance novels. He hated to admit it, though, but the view was serene, calming, soothing, and it helped him forget how much he was frightened of and disturbed by Brother Nines while the tall android led the boys down through the meadow.

Beyond this meadow happened to be a wide clearing, and gravel and rocks soon replaced mud and grass beneath their feet. As they grew closer and closer to the edge of the forest that led right up to the brink of the lake, Gavin heard and smelled the water a good distance away. Above in the air, seagulls cawed and croaked, and he knew they were by the waterside in no time.

Hanging back beside Greg and Mackenzie, Gavin made sure not to trip over the fallen and broken twigs and logs while simultaneously trying to shield out the harsh beams of the sun from blinding him. It helped whenever he didn’t look up, but he wanted a good view of those peaceful blue skies…

Finally, they were out of the forest, and a huge dock and pier led up to a tower of sorts. It was all made up of old wood, and the planks and boards creaked and groaned as the group of boys marched down the long pier. Looming high above them in the clouds was the wooden tower right on the edge, and it held a long wooden diving board at the very peak. Steps leading up to the diving board were the only way one could climb up the tower, and Gavin felt a little queasy staring at it. Everything here was so old, and it all smelled of rotten wood.

Peeking over his shoulder, he was able to make out an old, large hut of sorts, but he supposed it was a changing room. It was not much bigger than a tiny cabin, and the windows were old, dirty, dark, and the pointy rooftop was in dire need of having its shingles changed…many years ago, though. Years overdue…

Gavin felt and heard the boys ahead of him in line cease walking, and they stood in a single file line before Brother Nines. A small old rowboat with a tiny blanket, pillow, a teddy bear, old oars, and a dark green covered book sat beside the pier tied to one of the wooden pillars. The waters twisted and churned about, making the unoccupied boat rock up and down on the dark surface of the lake.

A mild gust of wind blew by, and majority of the boys shivered from it, as well as their own excitement while Brother Nines smiled at each boy for a brief moment or two. Pacing around them all, he announced, “We’re just going to be leisurely getting acclimated and accustomed to the water, as it’s been quite some time since we all had a dive together.”

Reese nodded eagerly, while Travis whined, “But it’s so cold, Brother Nines!!”

Snorting at his protest, Nines shook his head, “It’s not too cold for you, boys,” moving back, he extended a hand towards the changing rooms, “hurry along, there should be plenty of swimming trunks and gear in the hut there, make haste!!”

The boys all moved hurriedly when Brother Nines clapped his hands, and they all darted towards the changing rooms. Gavin hurried along as well, not wanting to be the last person inside. In no time at all, the beating hot sun rays had eased off the back of his neck and shoulders, and he felt relief when he retreated into the shadows and cool air of the changing rooms.

The boys all bustled about, locking and closing old stall doors that had light green paint chipping and peeling off and copper hinges that were already rusting. Doors squeaked open and shut, and everyone began undressing quickly.

Gavin soon did the same, and as he stood inside his own stall, he heard groaning and sighs of protest all around him.

“I’m too tired and it’s too early in the morning for this!” a boy-perhaps Michael-whined out loud.

Clothes rustled, and Travis barked out, “Stop bitchin’, man!”

“Yeah!” another boy chimed in, “just get this shit over with!!”

Back and forth, the boys argued, and they were so wrapped up in undressing and changing, that they failed to notice a small hole in the wall facing the changing stalls. Behind the wall, peering right at them with the use of the peephole, was a blue eye.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Of course he’d been careful enough to make sure the door of the changing area was tightly sealed shut before he’d peeked through the peephole at the young ones dressing and undressing. From his vantage point, it was tough to see anything when the boys cleverly were hiding and shielding themselves behind the changing room doors. A few of them walked around with towels firmly and tightly wrapped around their lower torsos, and he had to give them credit for being so modest.

It didn’t matter much anyway what they were doing; he was only searching for one specific body…

Gavin Reed.

The boy certainly took his time changing. Not that Nines had an issue with it, but it made for a difficult viewing and peeping when he was pressed for time. He’d already had to be quick as a flash when he’d knelt down by the wall bearing the small, man-made hole he’d long since drilled into the building cleverly many years ago. He hadn’t used the peephole or glanced in it for many long months due to never having a good, solid purpose or reason to do so…but now, he truly had one.

Gavin Reed was delightful to look at.

Ever since the boy had let loose and masturbated before him, Nines had to admit to himself that the mere sight of the pale and flushed skin under intense and rigorous exercise had delighted him and lit a strange pit of fire within himself he’d never been ware of possessing. Humans were beautiful creatures to look at, and he couldn’t stop appreciating Gavin’s body the most. He’d in truth found many people pleasant and lovely to look at, but he’d known of the difference between understanding someone was attractive, and then actually being invested enough to personally find someone attractive.

None of the boys changing in the building next to him on the other side of the wall were attractive at all, aside from Gavin Reed. The boy was practically an art piece sent down to him after being selected by God Himself. Nines appreciated him so much, and he pressed and meshed himself closer and closer to the wall while zooming in on Gavin’s form.

Eventually, the boy exited from the changing stall, and now that he had his shirt off and shorts tightly hugging his hipbones, Nines felt himself coming apart at the seams from the gorgeous sight.

Oh, what he would give to just watch Gavin all alone at every single hour and minute of the day. Unfortunately, he knew he couldn’t, as the other students were walking around, laughing, yelling, screaming, throwing their clothes at each other back and forth, and just being belligerent.

It ruined the mood and broke the spell.

Immediately, Nines backed away from the peephole, knowing he didn’t have much time before the first few students burst forth out of the tiny building. Bracing himself for it, he moved back over towards the pier, and he paced up and down the length of it while staring fixatedly down at the ground.

Had anyone else been peeking at him and studying him, they likely would’ve assumed that he was just taking a walk down by the pier until he’d reached the small rowboat tied next to one of the masts and pillars. But in truth, Nines wasn’t just taking a walk to clear his mind or thoughts. He wasn’t even taking a walk while waiting for his students to emerge; he was taking a walk in the hopes that the new sights and views would clear all thoughts of Gavin Reed from his mind. Whenever he blinked, he just kept seeing the boy naked, and half naked, and he hated it.

He enjoyed having control and superiority over his own life, but also over these young, impressionable boys.

Was this wrong? Was this supposed to be challenged??

He didn’t want to think about it on a deeper level, as it disturbed him and made him feel pulled out of everything he’d worked so hard for during such an extended period of time. Nines hated change. Change meant bad; nothing good. To disrupt and rearrange the natural order of things set in time and atmosphere troubled him right down to the core. He didn’t want the fabric of his life being altered and reshaped, not now, not ever. He was willing to fight against that until the end if it had to. He was going to defend what he’d worked for, what he’d believed in, and what had been rightfully his because he worked to earn it.

He had this right.

This was his world, and he didn’t need someone else painting a new image.

He would rather kill himself than allow someone else to ruin and destroy everything. He would rather burn himself from the inside out a hundred times, and pull out every last part of his system that made him whole.

No…

He would rather—

“Brother Nines?” a tiny voice barked out at him suddenly, “we’re ready!!!”

Being shaken out of his musings, Nines righted himself, and while composing himself hurriedly, he threw a smile at the rest of the class he’d pulled out for the swimming class. They all stood before him in the same old single file line, and Gavin Reed stood at the tail end, shaking lightly as he crossed his arms over his chest in a pathetic attempt to get warm.

How endearing…

Holding his head up high, Nines clasped his hands behind his back and got ready to provide instructions on what the students had to do next. “Carry out at least twenty circuits,” he instructed clearly, “we’re going to be focusing on developing and strengthening core stability in our bodies, so first get yourselves used to the water’s temperature, depth, weight, pull, and push as it surrounds you…” with that said, he turned and lowered one leg into the rowboat, and then the other before sitting himself down in it. He untied the rope holding and binding the boat to the pillar of the pier, and it floated down the lake a little before Nines took control over the oars. He’d carefully and skillfully turned the rowboat around the pier, and he held out his arms, motioning for the boys to get into the water.

Smiling widely, Reese courageously leapt in the water first, and then the Elders jumped in one by one after him. The definitive sounds of their bodies splashing deep down into the cold waters could be heard for some time, and the students all fell into the lake. Eventually, only Gavin stood glaring down at the dark blue depths, and he stared over at Nines quickly as though he was trying to seek validation or permission.

The android glared back soundly, and he cried out, “Get in, Mr. Reed, I don’t have all day, and neither do your peers!”

Studying intently at how his friends were shivering while trying to move around and keep their heads above the water, Gavin felt even more troubled and reluctant to join them. Why would he, after all?? The water was likely too cold, and he was positive he felt sick already just by being half naked in front of Brother Nines’ dark, piercing gaze…

But he didn’t have much of a choice.

Brother Nines was waiting; the whole class was waiting.

Reese seemed to be the most impatient of them all, and he reached down after diving beneath the water and pulled out a tiny grey pebble he’d perhaps plucked from the edge of the lake. Holding it high above his head, he aimed and chucked it at Gavin, but it’d missed him by a long shot. It sailed past his left ear, crashing and landing somewhere in the tall grass behind him and the pier.

“YOU FUCKING PIECE OF—”

“Mr. Reed!” Brother Nines interrupted his insult, “if you don’t get in the water right now, so help me God, I’ll—”

Scowling angrily and viciously at him, Gavin held his arms up in mock surrender, “Okay, okay!! Fuck sakes!!” After blurting that out, he lifted himself into the air, and propelled his body forwards and down into the water of the large lake.

Nothing had prepared him for how cold it truly was. It was comparable to diving straight into a bucket of nothing but ice, and he curled himself into a tight ball as he sank down deeply into the churning depths. Soon, Gavin floated up to the surface, and he burst forth from the top of the water, taking in pained gulps and mouthfuls of air. His lungs burned, though it was because he’d been holding his breath due to how cold it was.

How were the others swimming in this mess?!

Gaping around at his classmates, he brushed his long, wet hair back and away from his line of vision, and he tried not making it look and sound so obvious that he was beyond freezing. His teeth clattered together, rattling horribly loudly, and the waterdrops that were continuously and consistently dripping down from the back of his neck down to his spine and shoulders made it all worse. His skin was already wrinkling, as if protesting for being embedded in the watery depths surrounding him.

Brother Nines however merely sat like a King proudly in his rowboat. Glaring slowly at each and every single one of his students for a long time, he eventually spat out, “Who told you to just hover there like a sack of spuds?” he then nodded at them, “begin!!”

Soft groans and curses rang out, but Brother Nines ignored them all as he rowed away and merely watched as the students finally got to work. They swam back and forth, their little arms cutting through the water and making it rise above their heads as they propelled their bodies forward as best as they could. Each effort could be felt in a purely raw, physical, and tangible way, and Gavin even felt his energy drained as he swam back and forth between the rowboat, and then made his way back over towards the edge of the pier. He’d used that as a ‘mark’ of sorts, and he’d soon lost count of how many rounds he’d made before his arms tingled and he was certain his legs were growing numb…

Staring up at the sky, he couldn’t believe the sheer paradox that he’d been living in.

The sky was lovely; the sun was up high, the birds were chirping merry, early summer tunes, the wind blew about, the smell of flowers and nature was abundant and high in the air, and the mood and atmosphere had otherwise been lovely…and yet here they all were, swimming and trudging along almost painfully in a torment of ice-cold water while their limbs both burned and were frozen stiff with a strange numbness that only occurred once in a lifetime.

Peering up high into the skies above, for the first time in his life, Gavin truly hoped an otherwise enjoyable activity like swimming would draw to an end. He couldn’t believe it, but he wanted this day to be over already.

Oh, how he prayed Brother Nines would be merciful…

He was praying.

Chapter Text

“Why have you sequestered yourself in your dormitory room and personal bed when you know you have a timetable to abide by and follow, and a set schedule, Mr. Reed?”

Gavin opened one eye, and he nearly bit back a mighty groan of disapproval when he saw Brother Josh leaning over his bed while young Charlie Snow was holding onto his hand tightly. The dark-skinned android frowned down at Gavin, no doubt in disdain for the fact that he’d been skipping the rest of his courses that same afternoon following his ‘swimming’ class with Brother Nines.

The cold water had gotten to him, and Gavin wasn’t one to lie about it at all. No less than half an hour after they’d finished with the swimming exercise, Gavin felt his bones aching, his body trembling involuntarily, and now, his throat and tonsils really were driving him insane with pain. He simply had caught a cold, and he knew it’d been because that son of a bitch Brother Nines hadn’t allowed or given him time to adjust to the temperature of the water.

Gavin had weakly taken off after lunch, retreating to his own dorm and bed to ‘hide out’ while wishing for a speedy recovery and for his cold not to get worse. Mackenzie promised him that he’d provide Brother Josh with a good enough reason-and the truth-for why he wouldn’t be able to attend classes, but it seemed as though the lanky, gangling teenager hadn’t been able to keep up his end of the bargain after all.

He’d expected it, unfortunately. It wasn’t at all that he held no faith or trust in any of his friends; it was just the simple fact of life that boys were boys, teenagers were teenagers, and they either forgot to pull through for each other at times, or it just perhaps wasn’t plausible.

Gathering his sheets around his trembling, aching body, Gavin peered up at Brother Josh with a pleading look in his eyes. “Please, Brother Josh,” he found himself begging, “I swear, I don’t feel well!”

Glaring at him after he’d momentarily let go of little Charlie’s hand, Brother Josh placed a hand on his hip, and then the other on top of the headboard of the bed. Leaning down, he hissed out dangerously, “Do I have to wrangle you off your bed, boy?” he raised both eyebrows, as if thinking about the tempting idea over a few times, “hmm? What’s it going to take for you to stop lying and deceiving your Brothers??”

Shivering, Gavin managed to work a hand out from under his blankets, and he held it close to where Brother Josh had his hand resting above the headboard. Once their hands touched, Brother Josh gasped out in shock, and he reeled back while staring back and forth wildly between Gavin’s hand and his face.

“My word, child!” he cried out as he held a hand against Gavin’s forehead, “you’re chilled to the bone!!”

Gavin wanted to lash out with something along the lines of: ‘no shit, I told you, dumbass’, but he held his temper in control and merely nodded weakly. “I’m sorry, Brother Josh, I’m just very sick.”

Shaking his head in bewilderment, Brother Josh asked, “What on earth have you done to yourself to end up like this, Gavin?”

As if it were his own fault…the nerve…

Shrugging that off, Gavin felt his teeth clattering and chattering together, and when he went to swallow the bile rising in his throat, he found his tonsils and throat really did ache more than he thought.

Brother Josh must’ve seen his pained grimace, and even Charlie seemed to be affected by it. The small boy peeked up curiously at Gavin with nothing but concern and fear brewing and billowing about in his light-colored eyes. Eyelashes fluttering quickly a few times at Gavin, he finally whined at the back of his throat while tugging on the hem of Brother Josh’s black shirt.

The android sighed down at him, “Yes, Charlie?”

Babbling and whining incoherently, the boy began sucking and biting his thumb. The longer Gavin studied and observed Charlie doing this, the more he was reminded of his younger brother Elijah once again…

Elijah wasn’t actually Gavin’s biological brother, at least not by blood, but Gavin still accepted and considered him closer than blood. Elijah had been more devoted, dedicated, loyal, and exciting to be around than Gavin’s own relatives. The boy had been adopted and accepted into the Reed family when Gavin’s father received a late night visit a few years ago from an old University friend. Gavin couldn’t recall what the man’s name was at all, seeing as this was when he himself had just barely turned eight-years-old. But he remembered it’d been a harsh, cold night in late December, as Christmas had just been two days away when the visitor had arrived. The man had then presented Gavin’s father with a small baby carriage, and within it happened to be a two-year-old toddler…

Elijah…

Although they were six years apart in age, Gavin and Elijah were best friends. The youngster had followed Gavin practically everywhere since he imprinted on him. Gavin was more of a father to him than anyone else in the family could’ve been. The two boys were thick as thieves, and they were hardly ever seen apart…until Gavin had started going through puberty, and demanded he wanted his own free time, personal space, and wanted to hang out with a group of new friends. Still, Elijah had always been loyal and honest with Gavin, and he would always be there after school, after whenever Gavin was through with hanging out with his friends, young Elijah could be found just hanging by Gavin’s bedroom door late at nights ready to talk and spend time with his older brother.

Thinking and reminiscing about his younger brother now, Gavin felt even more homesick, and he felt misty-eyed while still gaping at Charlie.

The little boy shook Brother Josh’s hand wildly, “Brother Josh!” he cried and whined, “is Gavin going to die?”

That question apparently was so innocent, silly, and infantile that Brother Josh actually laughed at it. Gavin glared at the Android Brother for even daring to laugh, and when Brother Josh saw how irate Gavin was, he wiped the smirk and smile off his face and replaced it with an apologetic one.

“Forgive me, Gavin,” he pressed out while making another grab for Charlie’s small hand, “I’ll see to it immediately that you’re caught up in my class, but I’m going to have to leave and call upon Brother Nines so he can—”

Nearly having a heart attack upon hearing the infernal android’s name, Gavin choked out, “What?!?! Why does he need to be here?!?!” gripping the sheets tightly, he cocooned himself within them, shaking both from the hot and cold temperatures. He couldn’t believe his luck; being sick and then having to receive a visit from the cause of all his problems.

Someone in heaven must’ve hated him, and he didn’t even believe in heaven and hell…

Scowling at him, Brother Josh huffed, “Please don’t interrupt people when they’re speaking, Gavin; it’s very rude!”

Rolling his eyes at this statement and lecture, Gavin merely coughed out, “Whatever.”

Carrying on, Brother Josh explained, “I have to attend to my next class, and besides, Brother Nines is technically your homeroom teacher, Gavin…” when Gavin shook his head while throwing him a curious and perplexed facial expression, the android sighed and placed a hand on his forehead. “Gavin, your homeroom teacher’s name is printed on your timetable, and I know you have one now because Father Anderson told me you have it,” he laid out factually, “refer back to your timetable, top right-hand corner, and you’ll see it labeled perfectly clearly for you that Brother Nines is your homeroom teacher, and therefore, your overseer and temporary guardian!”

Feeling heat pooling in his cheeks, Gavin shrank back into his sheets, “He m-may be my homeroom teacher,” he argued blearily, “but th-that doesn’t m-mean he’s a doctor or my therapist!!”

A long finger had almost rammed itself into the tip of his nose suddenly, and Brother Josh leaned down while holding a very domineering, vitriolic expression on his face. “I don’t care what you believe or what opinion you may hold of Brother Nines, our school, and how things need to be run here, Gavin Reed!” the android spat down at him while gently pushing Charlie away from the edge of the bed when he got too close to the ill Gavin, “but according to our policy here, I’m required to report this to your homeroom teacher, and he will be the one who takes control from here on!!”

Not even waiting for Gavin to offer a retort, Brother Josh grabbed strongly onto Charlie’s hand, and he practically dragged the little boy out of the dormitory in a flash. Before he closed the door, he called out to Gavin, “Take your rest, Gavin, and Brother Nines will be up shortly to take care of you and give you whatever else you may require. Good day.”

The door closed shortly thereafter, but thankfully, it closed gently.

At least Brother Josh had been respectful and sensitive in regard to Gavin’s massive headache…

If he didn’t have anything else, he could at least close his eyes and relax a little better knowing one Android Brother in the entire school so far seemed more… ‘sensible’…

Wondrous.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

The dormitory door opened with a loud, obnoxious BANG!

Gavin reared up in sheer panic and fright, trying to cough out while he desperately choked on mouthfuls of air, but the moment he’d made an attempt at clearing his windpipe and throat, he was yet again reminded with how much it fucking hurt.

Yes, his sore throat had gotten worse, so it seemed.

Thinking it’d just been one of his friends who’d stormed in on him, Gavin rubbed his eyes and blinked hard to clear his vision up. He had an awful lot of rheum in the corners of both his eyes, and it made seeing anything properly difficult until he’d cleaned his eyes. Grabbing a tissue off the tiny night table beside his old bed, he carefully wiped his eyes and then threw the used tissue into an old, grey garbage bin.

Blinking up at the figure, he spat out, “You insensitive—”

“Oh, piss off, Reed,” Reese’s cruel voice cut through and interrupted him abruptly and rudely, “I’m only here to see if you’re still alive or not, and seeing as you unfortunately are…” the British boy snorted, “…well, bollocks to all that, right?”

Gavin rolled his eyes, “I don’t get what your deal with me is, Reese, but I seriously am not in the mood to bicker with you right now, okay?”

Waving a hand dismissively at him, Reese made his way over towards his own bed, and he straightened it out a little before bending down beneath it and producing a few textbooks and binders he’d obviously been storing and hiding away. Yanking them all out towards himself, he hoisted them up onto his bed with a grunt. “To you, it may seem like a ‘big deal’, Reed,” he whispered while sorting through his textbooks and selecting a few thick ones, “but to me, it’s no big deal at all.”

Pushing aside his sheets, Gavin snapped, “Then why do you hate me so much?”

The question could’ve been a slap to the face for the other boy, and there’d be no difference in his response either way. The moment Reese heard it, he froze, and he stared down at his bed and textbooks while a shocked expression dominated majority of his facial features. His eyebrows rose steadily up towards his hairline, and his nostrils flared. He seemed absolutely surprised, and for the longest time, he couldn’t even more.

Wondering if he’d somehow offended the other boy, Gavin tried repeating his question again, but his throat really was hurting…

Still frozen to the spot, a creepy, dull smile slowly etched its way onto Reese’s face. It hadn’t been the exact reaction Gavin was looking and hoping for, but it was at least something, anyway.

After smiling in silence for almost a full minute, Reese grabbed one of his thickest textbooks, which happened to be a yellow geometry textbook. Holding it up into the crook of his left armpit, he huffed an arrogant, conceited breath down at Gavin while regarding him with nothing but contempt.

Marching over to the side of the sick boy’s bed, Reese leaned over the edge, and he spat out before Gavin, “You don’t know anything about me, and you never will!”

“But I’m already friends with the other guys here,” Gavin pointed out while holding a hand around his throat, “why can’t you and I just be—”

“Be what?” Reese snarled, “friends?” throwing his head back, he laughed a dry, bitter laugh, “oh you’re bloody hilarious, Reed!”

Gavin sighed, “I wasn’t trying to be…”

“I’ll never, ever be friends with the likes of you, Reed!” Reese barked out, “I’d rather die, truthfully!”

Gavin had wanted to snap back with a million different insults, but something in the doorway to the dormitory shifted from side to side quickly. It caught his attention, and he stared over beyond Reese at the figure.

When he blinked hard enough, he could make them out perfectly well.

It was Brother Nines.

Sensing some other presence behind himself, Reese turned around, and then winced when he saw Brother Nines standing in the doorway and smiling over at them both.

The android merely grinned at both young boys for quite some time, dressed in his usual all-black garb. For some reason, in the dim lights and due to how sick Gavin was, Brother Nines appeared more menacing and creepier today. He seemed too tall, too menacing, too cruel, too cold, and too machine-like…

Gavin didn’t like it, and the longer he studied Brother Nines, the more ill he felt. Physically, bile actually rose to his throat, and he had to hold back on vomiting. It was better to just look away…

“I see no reason why you two shouldn’t become the best of friends,” Brother Nines almost purred out delightfully while inching over towards them both, “after all,” he paused, studying Gavin first, and then Reese, “enemies are often competing and fighting for the same cause, I find. Best not to waste all that energy.”

Reese stared down at the floor and remained silent. Brother Nines held out a hand, and he laid it down on Reese’s shoulder while smiling from ear-to-ear at the boy.

“You’ve done your job well,” Brother Nines declared while still smiling, “head back to your class, now.”

Throwing a dirty sneer over at Gavin, Reese quickly whispered, “Yes, Brother Nines.”

Reese left immediately, and as much as Gavin found himself hating the boy, he felt he didn’t despise him nearly enough to want to be left alone with Brother Nines. He began coughing and crying out for Reese to stay, but the boy grabbed the door handle and pulled the door shut behind himself in no time.

He was truly alone once again with the Devil.

Shivering at the prospect, Gavin inched back against his headboard, simply trying to avoid Brother Nines’ penetrating gaze. It was impossible, unfortunately; the strange android merely followed Gavin’s body and traced it every which way with his blue eyes, and he wouldn’t relent, even when Gavin hid his body beneath his heavy blankets again.

While this all went on for some time, Gavin began losing himself to rounds of serious coughing fits, chills, aches, and a massive headache. It literally felt as though his head was going to explode into a million tiny pieces, and even blinking his eyelids hurt him. Light, sounds, odors, movement; anything hurt. He’d never had a headache as bad before, and he began wondering what truly was going on. This couldn’t have been a simple cold!! It truly didn’t feel like it…

Brother Nines grabbed a stool by one of the large windows, and he dragged it over towards the left side of Gavin’s bed. Placing the little wooden seat down close enough to Gavin, he then moved back towards the dormitory showers and washroom. Gavin wondered what he was doing in there, but when he shifted and moved upwards to try and catch a glimpse of it, his lower back stung and stabbed him with intense pain. He had no choice but to lie back on his mattress. Glaring at the ceiling and the lights, Gavin found that even those warm sights hurt his eyes and head, even.

What the hell was going on???

His brain and ears told him that Brother Nines had eventually turned on one of the taps on one of the sinks in the washroom.

Whatever for???

Deciding not to think about it since it would likely hurt his brain even more, Gavin just resorted to closing his eyes while trying to drown out every sound and bit of light source from his eyes and mind.

Everything hurt…

Brother Nines finished whatever he’d been doing in the washroom, and soon, his footsteps came padding back over towards Gavin. The stool shifted, and then creaked. Brother Nines had sat down upon the stool, and when Gavin opened an eye slowly and gently, he sighed in relief when he saw the android holding a round black bowl of water in his hands, and a small hand towel draped over one of his kneecaps.

Dipping the white towel into the bowl of water, Brother Nines soaked it well enough, and then simply let it rest upon Gavin’s forehead. The water was indeed warm, and it felt so good on his heated forehead. The rest of his body felt frozen, but right now, with all the gentleness Brother Nines was bestowing upon him and his forehead, Gavin felt all the heat gathering there eventually spreading down throughout the rest of his body. It was like spring slowly coming to a winter wonderland, melting away all the ice and snow…

Shivering, he leaned up against the android’s hand over his forehead, and when he did, the cloth moved downwards slightly. The water dripped over his skin, soothing it greatly, and unwittingly, he began licking the water right up when it dribbled by the corner of his mouth. His tongue wasn’t in his own control; he let it move upwards, and he collected and gathered every bit of water he could…

Was he even thirsty??

A deep chuckle hit his ears, though it wasn’t loud or obnoxious sounding at all. In fact, it soothed him and almost tranquilized him…

“It’s not at all unusual to feel thirsty when experiencing a migraine, Mr. Reed,” Brother Nines explained gently, allowing Gavin a few more seconds of slurping up the water before he moved the cloth up and down Gavin’s cheeks.

It occurred to the teenager then that Nines was cleaning him, but he was also right…he was having a migraine!!

Smiling at him, Nines merely continued with washing and cleansing his skin. “You’ve never experienced a migraine before, I know,” he accurately stated, “there’s a first time for everything, I suppose…” as his words hung in the air between them, Gavin shivered once more, but remained silent and immobile while Nines continued washing his face. He eventually moved down lower towards Gavin’s neck. The boy merely tilted his head back, revealing the long pallor of his throat for better reach.

Sighing, Nines leaned back in his stool, though his hands never stopped moving about. “I doubt you’re the only one who’s under the weather you know,” he pointed out, “the others just don’t say a word because they feel it’ll make them seem stronger somehow…or perhaps, more manly…” his words ghosted along Gavin’s chin and neck, tickling his skin, but he was far too exhausted to move or make a comment.

Suddenly, a particularly dark, nasty thought struck Gavin right in the chest like a hammer.

Brother Nines could do whatever he wanted to him in this state, and no one would know anything!! No one was here to help him, no one was here to listen, and no one would be able to get help in time if Brother Nines—

No…

He wouldn’t!!

Would he??

Gavin couldn’t be sure, and he didn’t want to take the risk. Fearing for his life and safety, Gavin tried screaming, but it just came out like a dull wheeze or whine.

It made the android seated next to the edge of his bed snort, “Still putting up a fuss?” he tsked, “such a shame, Mr. Reed…when are you going to just permit me to take proper care of you, hmm?”

Was that even his intent?!?

Gavin groaned, eyes rolling back into his skull. He barely had enough energy to even wriggle his fingers and toes! How was he supposed to fight back against Nines, let alone scream or cry for help?!

Realizing how utterly screwed he was in this situation, Gavin blinked back a few tears while whispering out in a raspy tone, “Please…don’t…”

“Hmm?” Brother Nines wasn’t even the least bit fazed, but he paused in his cleaning.

When an eerie silence had gone on for too long, Gavin opened his eyes widely, and he nearly came apart at the seams when he saw just how close Nines really was…the android was so damn close, that Gavin was able to see his light brown eyelashes, his freckles, his cream-colored skin, every bit of perfection. The android didn’t have any pimples or acne, of course, and his skin was so smooth…absent of any hair, marks, scars, it all made Gavin self-conscious and a tad bit envious.

He gently shifted the sheets up to cover his own scar, remembering the moment he’d received it so long ago…

He’d been outside in the park playing with Elijah. Gavin himself was ten, and Elijah was four. The child hadn’t meant to, but he’d found a delightfully enchanting stone on the top of a hill while Gavin had been busy with swinging on the swings. Every time he moved up higher and higher, Gavin promised himself he would fly. He could see the entire world soon enough, and to a ten-year-old child, that had been the best sight and experience.

Still, he knew he had to be watching his baby brother.

He didn’t want to get into trouble, so he glanced up and called out for Elijah. The young boy could hardly hear him. It was natural, given how much fun they were having, and given how the other young kids in the park were all just as excitedly yelling, screaming, crying out for joy, and talking so loudly.

While swinging himself up higher, Gavin cried out for Elijah again.

It was still no use.

His voice rang out high in the air, and he had a good idea on how to get both his voice and himself up higher so that Elijah would be able to see him from his vantage point on the small hill.

Standing up carefully, Gavin gripped the ropes of the swing for leverage, and he soon planted both his feet onto the seat of the swing. It was still swinging mightily back and forth, up and down, and a few concerned parents even yelled out at him for sit down.

But he couldn’t; not until he cried out for Elijah and got his attention.

He stood to his full height at that age, and when he shifted forward, the swing rocked quickly. The wind blew wildly in his face, but it was so refreshing! He could smell the flowers, the bees, the warmth of summer, and the hot dogs roasting nearby…

Crying out for Elijah again, Gavin finally gathered enough courage to rock the swing with his legs. It moved under his weight, and just as he’d called out to his brother one final time, the youngster had turned around to face him.

Those light blue eyes met his own, and in an instant, Gavin couldn’t help but smile. Elijah had such a warm, loving, contagious smile…

Taking a step forward, he went to wave at his brother, but then the swing jolted. He must’ve forgotten he was standing up, and he swayed about on the seat while the swing cut through the air like a dart. The mechanisms of the swing groaned and creaked, and Gavin began panicking like mad. Holding on for dear life to the ropes, he tried steadying himself, but it was no use when his foot had already slipped and taken off into the air.

He’d seen what would happen even before it’d happened. He could feel the pain, and it wasn’t here yet.

Gavin let go of the ropes, and while the other kids who were witnessing the horrific event screamed out in reverent terror, there was little anyone could do to stop it. It was already in motion; a set event meant to happen in this moment, at this particular hour, on this particular day.

Sailing through the air, the young boy closed his eyes when he saw he’d flown right over a pile of freshly cut branches. The park and wildlife maintenance crew had tied majority of the branches and twigs together and stacked them in the neat pile, and while it hadn’t been anywhere near the playground, Gavin must’ve sailed way too hard and way too far. He was directly headed towards the sharp pile, and he looked away while his heart bled and ached already.

And he was glad he’d looked away.

Nothing could even remotely come close to preparing him for how it actually felt to cut and soar through the air like a bird one moment, and then in the next, the stinging, burn, throbbing, dull aching sensation across his nose and forehead was unlike any amount of pain he’d ever felt in his young life.

Later, he’d found out that after being rushed to the hospital, he’d received almost ten stitches across his nose and slightly over his cheek. He’d apparently fallen face-first right onto a particularly nasty, sharp-ended twig that had yet to be tucked away with the rest of the pile he’d flown into, but that one had cut and dragged along his skin, opening it up quite horribly. He’d lost a pretty decent amount of blood, and both his parents had been pulled out of work to come rushing to the hospital. They’d taken turns standing by his side in his room until he’d woken up from the anesthesia and post-surgery.

In the end, the scar remained with him, and he’d had a hard time for many years getting used to seeing it there on his face anytime he looked into a mirror.

“Scars and pain let us know we’re not dead yet…”

He opened his eyes and gasped up at Brother Nines, “Wha—”

The android huffed, gently moving the warm, wet towel directly over Gavin’s nose while staring intently at it. “Pain reminds you that you’re still alive, Mr. Reed,” he purred out, and then his eyes met Gavin’s, and something knowing and beyond recognition burned in the android’s eyes right then and there. Seeing whatever it was paralyzed Gavin, and he could only gape in horror.

He was truly helpless.

Smiling at him, Brother Nines gently dabbed the towel over his scar, and then moved it down towards the tip of his nose. “Your fever’s slowly going away, I’m pleased to announce…”

That was the very least of Gavin’s concerns for the moment.

For now, he’d been faced with the knowledge that he was up against a battle, and it wasn’t between himself and Nines…

No…

It was between himself, and his confusion over what he defined being right, and his concept of wrong.

Chapter Text

Gavin luckily recuperated within two days at the most. Thankfully, Mackenzie and Greg got him caught up on the notes and lessons he’d missed, and they filled him in on every last detail. Gavin ate well, slept plenty, and made sure he had extra fluids in his system, and he felt better than ever quickly. To his amazement, he also hadn’t missed out on too many lessons, thankfully, but he was caught up simply by copying Greg’s homework when he wasn’t looking.

The very next day, Brother Ralph had interrupted the lovely Saturday morning by dividing the boys up into two groups. He’d pulled group one into the auditorium for the purposes of rehearsing their part of his ‘play’. Gavin was certain group two would have to go soon, but it’d been nearly an hour since group one had left, and he assumed it would take a little while longer still.

Sitting on top of his bed in the dormitory while Brother Simon walked around the halls right outside, Gavin sighed up at the ceiling, “So what the heck is fun to do around here on weekends anyway?”

In truth, he honestly wanted to take his mind off Brother Nines. Simply put, the android confused him deeply, and Gavin hated being confused.

He was confused emotionally, psychologically, and even…he hated to admit it…but he was even confused and unsure of his own body and sexuality, now. Since puberty, he’d always liked girls. He’d been with girls, he’d had fun with girls, and he’d dated a few girls before. He’d never looked at one of his ‘guys’ and buddies in any strange way while holding obscene and perverted thoughts. His school had of course taught him about different sexualities and opinions on sexuality, and Gavin learned many years ago that he even had a gay uncle. None of that had never been an issue in the past for him because he never thought he would think about another guy in the same way he was currently thinking about Brother Nines.

But why was he even thinking about Brother Nines to begin with?!?!

Brother Nines was a god damn pervert!! He was twisted, sick, and rotten to the core!! He didn’t need or deserve any thoughts! He wasn’t an afterthought or even a priority thought!!

And yet Gavin kept on wondering, and pondering, and dreaming, and imagining, and theorizing…

Was Brother Nines gay?

Perhaps he was! Maybe that was why he was always watching him and made him do those weird, sexual things!! That had to be it!! That was the answer!!

There was absolutely nothing wrong with Gavin; the problem was Brother Nines!!!

Now, Gavin honestly felt a little sorry for the android. He was probably dealing with this in a very bad way, and he remembered his own uncle struggling with his own sexuality for a long time before he was able to cope with it and come out to everyone. Perhaps Nines was struggling in the same way!!! If he was, maybe he needed help?? If he then received help, maybe he would leave Gavin alone!

Thinking this was a good enough plan for the time being, Gavin decided to ‘test’ it first. He wasn’t sure if the Android Brothers were even allowed to have relationships or even go so far as to have sex. He would have to work that in the way of conversation very, very subtly, he supposed. It would after all be for the greater good of trying to help Brother Nines!!

Feeling slightly encouraged by good will and good intent, Gavin grabbed his blue ink ballpoint pen and chucked it in a playful way at Mackenzie. The long-haired teenager had been bopping his head up and down to music only he himself could hear in his mind, and seated next to him were Andrew and Travis. The pen hit Mackenzie in the chin, and he gasped when it made contact with his body.

Staring down at it, and then up at Gavin, he snickered, “You sly son of a—”

“Hey guys,” Gavin began softly, completely aware of the fact that Brother Simon was walking around and lingering in the halls right outside their dorm, “in all your years at the school so far, have you ever known of an instance or case where any of the androids talked about dating or having families?”

The question hadn’t even been spoken out for a few seconds when Travis and Mackenzie exchanged a few silly looks back and forth between each other and then just lost it. They laughed until they were crying, but they soon had to stop when Brother Simon poked his head in the room and glared directly at them.

Clearing their throats and just looking around awkwardly while scratching the back of their heads or arms, the boys waited until Brother Simon disappeared again. Only then did they turn to Gavin while shaking their heads simultaneously.

Gavin glared evenly at them; eyes set in narrow slits. “What?!”

Travis ran a hand through his curly mop of thick, coarse black hair, “Gav, man,” he snorted while rolling his eyes up at the ceiling, “how innocent are you, really?”

“Oh fuck off,” the other boy spat heatedly, “just answer the damn question!”

Mackenzie leaned over the edge of his own bed, bringing up his lighter and flicking it open and shut rapidly a few times. He smirked at Gavin while still snapping the lighter lid open and shut, “It’s a no-brainer, Gavin,” he snickered, “do you think the priests at your church in Detroit were off fuckin’ and screwin’ people?”

Travis chimed in while giggling, “Or maybe they were knockin’ people up?” Listening in on the conversation, Andrew pulled a disgusted face before chewing on a fingernail.

Gavin rolled his eyes and resisted the urge to throw something at them all. “Okay fine,” he hissed softly, peeking over his shoulder when he was certain he’d seen a blue LED light spinning and reflecting about outside, “you guys made your damn point!”

Travis shrugged as he lay on his stomach and chest, legs kicking up high into the air, “The androids here aren’t any different, man,” the teenager explained while Mackenzie grabbed one end of his bed sheets and held it up against the lighter when he flicked the lid open.

“They’re not allowed to pursue anything ‘materialistic’,” Travis droned on, making the appropriate air quote motions with his fingers, “they’re servants of Christ or some shit…”

Gavin nodded, “Yeah, but—”

When Mackenzie held the lighter up against the bed sheets, Travis glared over at him. “The hell are you doin’, bruh?!” he cried out angrily while slapping Mackenzie’s hand down, “you’re gonna set off the fucking fire alarm!!”

“Relax!” Mackenzie growled back, irritation clear in his voice and facial expressions, “I was just conducting my own experiment!”

Gavin groaned, “You guys suck for conversations, you know that?”

Flipping him off playfully, Travis nodded up at him with a wink, “You’ll keep us around anyway, Reed, and you can’t argue against that shit!!”

Once again, Gavin had to really wonder if this was going to be a regular thing every weekend. He threw himself back down onto his bed, closing his eyes and drowning out the sounds of the other boys in the dormitory screaming, laughing, playing, and just spending their own time together in special ways.

But what was he to do???

Sighing a long, bored sigh, Gavin cried out painfully, “I’m soooooo bored!!!”

A huff of air followed by a loud snorting sound suddenly interrupted him. “If you’re bored, Mr. Reed,” Brother Simon called out in a snippy tone of voice, causing Gavin, Travis, Andrew, and Mackenzie to snap up to attention, “then I have just the thing for you…”

While Mackenzie tried and hurried to hide his lighter, Brother Simon breezed past the beds, and when he stepped out into the hall, the boys realized he’d brought something with him…

Groaning when they all saw what it was, they were reprimanded and scolded by Brother Simon as he wheeled in a large HD TV set on a mount and stand. Seeing it there reminded Gavin of all the times in his grade school classes when teachers had forced the entire class to watch the most stupid movies aimed at teaching them the subject and topic lessons. The movies had always been decades older, boring, dull, and more like lectures than entertainment. Then again, he supposed that was the whole point, after all…

Brother Simon pulled the TV stand up to the front of the dormitory, making so that it directly faced the beds. More young ones poured in the room soon, eager to know what was going on and what movie was playing.

Peter ran in the fastest, with his identical twin Ronald tagging behind closely. They both stared up at Brother Simon with wide, curious eyes, and Peter belted out, “What movie do we get to see, Brother Simon?!?”

While still setting everything up, Brother Simon sighed a most happy sigh, and his LED light flickered blue brightly. “We’re going to be watching ‘The Miracle Maker: The Story of Jesus’!!” he exclaimed with so much enthusiasm that anyone else would’ve thought he was announcing that they all had won the lottery a hundred times over.

Scratching his head, Mackenzie sighed, “That thing came out in like 1999, and it’s a video the Brothers always show the young ones…”

Gavin groaned, but then stuck his arm up high in the air. Brother Simon saw it, but he paid him no attention, and merely chose instead to ‘clean up’ the dormitory by shuffling chairs and items about, picking things up off the floor, and tossing them all onto the beds.

Not giving up, Gavin waved his arm around, and then cried out, “Excuse me, Brother Simon?? Brother Simon!!”

Knowing he couldn’t ignore the teenager in a crowded room anymore, the android sighed and placed a hand on his hip, “What is it, Gavin?”

Slowly lowering his arm back down to the bed when he felt at least twelve pairs of eyes on his body, Gavin only looked at Brother Simon. “I was j-just wondering if there’s some other kind of activity for th-the people who may not want to watch the movie?”

It seemed as if the same question had been on older students’ minds as well. Majority of the Elders and fourteen to sixteen-year-old teenagers nodded up pleadingly at Brother Simon. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed android’s jaw clenched tightly, and then he sniffed sharply.

“There just so happens to indeed be something else you can occupy your minds with,” Brother Simon began with the ghost of a smirk eating away at his lips. It made the boys slightly nervous and uncomfortable, but they waited patiently until he tapped a finger on his chin while humming, deep in thought.

“Until Brother Ralph calls group two for their rehearsal, I think it would be in your best interest to head up to the chapel and confess your sins…” majority of the boys let out groans of protest, but Brother Simon didn’t want to hear it. “Silence!” he cried out angrily, and they all grew quiet right away.

Smirking to himself in triumph, the android continued, “Confessions usually are done on the weekends anyway, and I feel that as an example for us all, Gavin,” he waited until the boy in question perked up at the sound of his own name escaping into the air, “I feel you should be the one who heads up there first.”

Cringing, Gavin pounded a clenched fist onto his thigh.

Damn him and his loud mouth!!! It always landed him into a pile of trouble, and it seemed he hadn’t learned a thing at all.

Holding out a hand and extending it into the hallway, Brother Simon’s message was loud and clear, and he didn’t even have to say much.

Get out.

Hanging his head down low, Gavin grumbled, but he felt Mackenzie and Travis gently patting him on the back as they whispered they’d be joining him soon as well. So he wouldn’t be alone after all, he supposed, but that didn’t exactly soothe the aching tension in his belly. He hadn’t confessed in years, and while he knew he’d done a lot of weird and messed up shit lately, he didn’t exactly feel comfortable knowing he would have to share these with someone else…

Pausing at the door, he glanced up at Brother Simon shyly. “Umm, Brother Simon?”

The android sighed down again, “What is it now, Gavin?”

Wringing his hands together nervously, Gavin whispered, “I don’t really feel too comfortable with sharing my life and concerns with someone else!!”

Brother Simon rolled his eyes, “That’s kind of the entire point of confession, Gavin,” he moved further into the hallway when he saw a few of the other students trying to peek in and listen in on their conversation. “You need to be able to freely talk about your concerns, issues, thoughts, feelings, and do so comfortably with another.”

Gavin felt his arms and shoulders clench and tighten, “But it’s not easy whenever someone’s listening…”

“God’s always listening, silly innocent,” Brother Simon snorted in derision, “better get used to it now, boy; it’ll make your life a lost easier.” Placing a hand on Gavin’s back, he gently pushed the boy down the hall, but when Gavin refused to move much, he paused, and bent down to meet the shorter male’s eyes.

“Gavin,” he began with a friendly smile, “if it helps, just try talking about something else that could be on your mind,” Brother Simon suggested, “it can be a friend, a family member you’re concerned about; anything your heart desires.”

Gavin’s eyes lit up, “Anything?”

Noticing that the boys inside the dormitory were starting to grow restless, Brother Simon cried out to them, “I’ll be there in a moment, lads!!”

The boys were already trying to look for the remote to the TV so they could turn it on, and Brother Simon seemed a little rushed now. Standing up to his full height, he pet Gavin on the back and then gently spun him around so he was facing the direction he needed to go in.

“Good luck to you, Gavin!” he then disappeared back inside the dormitory, leaving Gavin out in the hallway all by himself.

While the young teenager was alone, the door to the dormitory closed, and slowly, a smile crept along Gavin’s face.

Brother Simon said he didn’t have to necessarily talk about himself and his own problems!! That was good news; it was in fact the best news he’d received all day!

That meant he’d be able to talk about Brother Nines in a subtle way so he could help him out!!

Maybe this day wasn’t so boring and bad after all.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin gently pushed open the door of the chapel when he’d finally reached it. The long walk had helped him not only get some fresh air, but it’d also benefitted him in terms of thinking. His mind was now clear, and he felt he had a good way and a strong method of how to disclose his worries about Brother Nines to another.

But who was he going to be confessing to? There seemed to be no one inside the chapel when he walked in, and when the door closed behind him, he jumped. It’d echoed louder than he thought, which was a testimony to how empty it was…

“Mr. Reed?”

His heart nearly leapt a mile in his chest when Father Anderson stepped up towards him. He had donned his full priest robes, which consisted of long white and gold trims and velvet panels with stripes on the front of the church robes. He appeared more wide, heavy, and a bit tired as he smiled down at Gavin. It’d seemed like forever since they’d seen each other, but in actuality, Gavin knew it had barely been a week, even.

Frowning up at the man, Gavin asked, “So where are we gonna do this?”

Father Anderson didn’t appreciate the question at all, it seemed. His eyes turned into little slits, his nose turned up at Gavin, and he let out a pained huff. Pointing over at the side of the chapel beyond the pews and statues of Mary, Gavin saw a tall, dark brown oak confession booth. It had dark blue curtains around the boxed sides of it, and it was no doubt meant for the most private of settings and natures.

Great.

Knowing where he had to go and what he had to do, Gavin held his breath, and then approached the confession booth. Father Anderson got in his side next to it, and then when Gavin sat down, the little sliding window connecting the booths opened, and Gavin simply stared blankly at the priest.

It was an awkward few seconds of pure silence before Father Anderson grumbled, “Begin, boy!! I don’t want to be kept here all day!!”

Gavin swallowed, and then cleared his throat, “Yes…err…right…” coughing again, he barely managed to push out, “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned…umm…it’s been…six years since my last confession? I think?”

A sigh came his way, and then Father Anderson growled, “Very well, what’s on your mind, Mr. Reed?”

A lot. Way too much.

But how was he to actually start talking?!?

He knew he couldn’t specifically talk about Brother Nines, and he didn’t want to make inferences about himself and his own private life!! Perhaps he could lie and say this was all about a friend?

Yes…that could work!!

“Well?!” Father Anderson snapped at him irritably, and Gavin nodded, even though the priest was unable to see it. It was so stuffy and tiny inside the confession booth, and while Gavin had never been claustrophobic in his life before, he could’ve sworn he was developing a sense for it, now.

“Father Anderson,” he began in a weak voice, “is it bad for a friend of mine to umm…well…is it bad for him to…” he cringed, knowing how bad this was, and how much worse it was going to get.

Father Anderson sighed, “There’s no judgment here, my child; speak freely.”

That’s what they always said until you’ve spilled your guts and deepest, darkest secrets…

Having no other choice however, Gavin thought ‘to hell with it’, and said, “Okay, see, I’ve this friend, and he may have a thing for boys—err, I mean, men in general, I think?” shaking his head at how awkward and stupid he sounded, he focused and kept at it, “is that bad or wrong? Is he going to need help for it?”

Pausing finally, he took a breath and allowed Father Anderson to think on it. It was a little quiet before the man shifted, and he sighed a long, exhausted sigh. “No Mr. Reed,” he finally whispered out, “while your friend won’t be hated or treated any different in society, perhaps, in the eyes of God, it is a poor choice to pursue…proclivities and interests with members of the same sex, as I’m sure your parents told you.”

Well, not really, but Gavin didn’t care a lot. He also didn’t give two shits about the church, religion, and what ‘God’ thought of him. He’d already messed around and fooled around with plenty of girls from his class, and if they were talking about ‘no sex before marriage’, well…fuck the church and what they thought.

Trying to bite his tongue and trying to refrain from lashing out at the priest, Gavin asked, “Okay, but what if I myself don’t have a problem with my friend being attracted to men? What should I do?”

Again, a pregnant pause stretched on for minutes before Father Anderson growled, “I see you have a very loving and accepting heart, which the Lord bestowed upon you in good faith, Mr. Reed, however, you should try to help your friend-if you care about him-come back to the path of God. Listen to Jesus; heed His words,” he suggested plainly, “acceptance is wonderful and so is compassion, but your friend needs guidance.”

Gavin agreed, but he didn’t feel it was in that specific way altogether. Shaming and damning Brother Nines wouldn’t do the trick, and Gavin himself wasn’t one to throw a Bible at people’s heads. That wouldn’t work either, he thought.

Thinking up another idea, he whispered gently, “Should I keep away from this friend? Or should I get closer to him?” Perhaps distancing himself away from Brother Nines would work, but also, Gavin worried that if he did that, what if the android chose to go after another innocent boy? What if he actually pursued Gavin harder and even more obsessively? What if he lashed out at others and hurt them? What if he just fell apart?!

There was so much to worry about, that he nearly missed Father Anderson’s dull response.

The priest merely hissed out, “It’s best for you to be as close to this friend of yours as possible, my child; you must remind him of the Lord’s blessings, lessons, words of guidance, and you yourself must act as a light in this darkness and disparaging night!”

Oh…well, that hadn’t been what Gavin was expecting to hear, but he supposed it made sense. Brother Nines needed someone by his side, and leaving him alone to suffer through this probably would’ve sucked even more than it already did. Now that he had that piece of wise advice from Father Anderson, Gavin wanted to leave so he could at least track Brother Nines down and talk to him.

Feeling heat rising in his cheeks, he was unable to stop himself from asking, “Father, do you know where Brother Nines is right now?”

The priest snorted, “I believe I’m the one handling your confession right now, Mr. Reed,” he corrected in a waspish tone, “the androids aren’t permitted to handle any confession, so I don’t see why you’re asking about his whereabouts at this time.”

Gavin rolled his eyes so hard that his eyeballs actually hurt. “I was just askin’ because you helped me pretty well here, Father,” he forced himself to say, “I just wanted to ask Brother Nines about some classwork and then maybe go for a swim?”

Wait, was he even allowed to do that all alone by himself?

Gavin honestly didn’t understand why he’d even asked it, but he supposed it was because it was all he had and all he knew since he was young. There’d been a huge, wide, vast beach a couple of hundred feet away from the old house his parents owned many years ago and whenever he needed to get away from the stress of life, or needed to calm down, relax, and think, he’d either take a walk along the shores of the beach or swim. It’d worked for him in the past before, which was likely why he’d naturally sought it out now. He only hoped Father Anderson would somewhat understand…

The curtain and divide between their ‘boxes’ suddenly was drawn and pulled back, and Father Anderson leaned in close as he stared at Gavin with a hint of what may have been either mild confusion or mild amusement in his eyes. “Mr. Reed,” he started in a gruff tone, and then offered Gavin a small half-smile, “I understand completely, and while it’s not encouraged for students to venture out into the yards and by the lake unaccompanied, I suppose it’s okay this one time…”

Gavin gasped in relief, and then Father Anderson laughed, “Well, you’re not unaccompanied; Brother Nines is out on yard duty, and he sometimes takes a dip in the lake himself. Perhaps you will run into each other.”

Gavin’s heart began racing like a wild hare in the fields, and before he could offer up another idea of what he wanted to do instead, Father Anderson pulled the curtains down once more, and he was already moving up.

Quickly blessing Gavin, he panned out desperately almost through closed eyelids, “You’re forgiven, my child,” he then made the motion of the cross, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

Gavin bowed his head, “Amen…”

He could hardly keep the tremble out of his voice, and he hardly moved when Father Anderson shooed him out of the confession booth. His body wasn’t even his own, but his feet began moving, and his ears caught Father Anderson crying out, “Enjoy your day, my child, and do try not to land yourself in anymore trouble!”

Unfortunately, Gavin wasn’t so sure about that, now.

In the end, his body and mind had won; he found himself heading down out of the school towards the lake after all.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

It’d grown a little colder by the time Gavin reached the dressing rooms. Everything was so creepy and strange now that he made the trip all by himself. He wished he could’ve turned around and headed back into the school to be with his friends, but he didn’t want Father Anderson or any of the other Android Brothers asking him why he’d returned. That would probably seem more suspicious, he thought.

Now, he had no choice but to lose himself to the wilderness, so he did. The morning turned into late afternoon, and Gavin couldn’t even tell the difference at all. He’d circled through vast clearings deep in the heart of the woods behind the school grounds. Why hadn’t any of the androids allowed them to jog or have their physical education out here?!?! It was simply beautiful today, and Gavin didn’t want to go back inside the dreary school anytime soon.

He circled the same patch of boulders and trees at least four times over, but he never got lost because he cleverly grabbed a pile of leaves and arranged them in a small, square pattern over the rocks, and then dropped more leaves on the ground every so often whenever he walked on forward. He loved being creative, and the forest was the best place to do that while clearing his mind.

Gavin had been reminded of his fun childhood memories playing with little Elijah in the forests whenever the entire family went camping. They’d always treated it like a little adventure of sorts; Gavin always tried entertaining Elijah, and he would tell his younger brother stories about wolves, bears, and other monsters late at night during a lovely campfire as they all roasted hot dogs and marsh-mellows by the heat of the flames that danced along their skin. Those were such innocent times Gavin yearned for, and he never realized just how much of his home life and family life he’d perhaps taken for granted…until now.

He knew he missed them all, but there wasn’t much he could do. He hated being powerless, and that had been precisely the reason why he’d rebelled, started skipping classes, found bad groups of people to hang out with, and just disrespected his parents. Gavin Reed wasn’t an idiot; he knew what he was doing was stupid and wrong. He very well knew he was making wrong choices every step of the way, but he didn’t care.

No one gave him a reason to care.

The sun began rising higher and higher, and Gavin had to wonder just how much time had passed by. Probably over two hours, he supposed, but that didn’t stop him from truly desiring a dip in the lake. He felt he deserved it after walking around for at least a few hours, feeling stressed, and having recovered from the insanity and confusion, finally.

It appeared his prayers and wishes had been answered when he looked up and caught the old shingles of the changing room building looming before him. However, before Gavin could make a run towards the old building, he heard splashing nearby.

His eyes scanned his immediate area, and as he drew closer and closer to the lake, he nearly froze.

Brother Nines was already here…

Chapter Text

Gavin’s eyes hadn’t been deceiving him at all; Brother Nines was taking a dip in the dark blue waters not even a few feet away from him. The powerful android showed off his strength and stamina by speeding through the waters and cutting past the waves and ripples gracefully and without much of an effort exerted in the task at all. It impressed Gavin to watch how powerfully he swam through the water, and Gavin even found himself envious of the android’s strength. To say it was ‘perfect’ was an understatement. Brother Nines no doubt could’ve been able to beat even the greatest of Olympic Gold performers in no time.

Anything he did seemed so perfect, raw, real, and beautiful.

Unfortunately, Gavin knew he couldn’t spy much longer; Brother Nines was already turning back and making his way towards the pier…he was going to be caught, and he knew he couldn’t talk his way out of this one.

Internally panicking, Gavin made a break for it towards the changing room building. He heard Nines splashing behind him, but thankfully, he was already inside the building. He closed the door quickly after himself, peeking out through the tiny peephole in the door meant for decoration more than actual ‘peeping’.

Yes, Brother Nines was here, just as Father Anderson had said he would be.

Lovely.

He rose out from the waters like some kind of aquatic god, flipping his soaked hair back as he stood up and hoisted himself up onto the wooden pier. He wasn’t naked, thankfully, but he had a majestic body, at least to Gavin’s eyes. No signs of body hairs at all, which was a rather pleasing sight. The water trickled down and off his body, puddling nicely into footprints as he marched down the long path.

And still, Gavin couldn’t take his eyes off the android’s form. He felt mortified, but curiosity coursed through him. Nines was very lean all along his body; all his muscles were taught, skin smooth and a delightful shade. As Gavin’s eyes wove their way down his body, he could see the black shorts the android was wearing. The fabric and cloth were dark, wet, and tightly sticking to his ‘goods’. There was such strength in that perfection, and it made Gavin feel a little warm, suddenly.

What was this warmth?!? Did he actually enjoy looking at Brother Nines wearing a pair of wet shorts barely clinging to his muscular, long legs and thighs pumping as they supported his weight while he approached the changing room door…

FUCK!

He needed to hide, NOW!

Tearing himself away from the door, he burst forward into the stall directly before himself, and he slammed the door shut. In his frenzy, Gavin forgot to lock it, and he’d been worrying over getting caught staring so much that he hadn’t noticed it at all.

The main door of the building opened with a loud squeak, and Gavin heard a deep, masculine sigh a second later. It beckoned Gavin to at least take a peek up along the top of the stall out of fear and mild curiosity, so he inched up on his toes.

He saw nothing for the longest time, and it irritated him. All he could hear was shuffling about, but Brother Nines didn’t make an attempt to use one of the stalls to change…was he just standing there naked, then?!?!

Gavin swallowed nervously at the prospect, and his eyes moved upwards when he saw a long arm extending up towards the wall almost directly above Gavin’s stall…

Before Gavin could scream out in fear, he saw that the shelf holding towels had been hoisted above his head. He calmed down significantly, wondering why his brain had just fogged up with nothing but perverted thoughts.

Perhaps he was the one who needed help and guidance; not Brother Nines…

Waiting until Nines had stopped moving around, Gavin took in a gulp of fresh air, and he paused when he realized he’d been depriving himself of oxygen. Why was he so nervous?? He just needed to gently talk it over with Brother Nines, and then they’d be fine!! After all, it wasn’t like before! He hadn’t broken any rules; he hadn’t disobeyed Brother Nines; there was no way the android was going to punish him.

Without the fear of punishment looming over him like a dark cloud in the sky, Gavin gathered his courage, and he pushed open the stall door.

Only Brother Nines had been standing right in front of him the moment the door barely swung open.

Gavin screamed in fright, leaping back until his legs hit the bench. Brother Nines had been mostly dried off, though he was still wearing his wet shorts. They clung obscenely to him, and Gavin gasped as he covered his eyes while crying out, “The heck are you—”

His sentence couldn’t be completed; Brother Nines reached ahead and grabbed both his wrists in his strong hands, and he yanked Gavin’s hands down away from his eyes.

Snarling at him, Brother Nines hissed, “Foolish brat!!”

“I’m not—”

“Arrogant, insolent youth!”

“I—”

“You—”

“Listen to me—”

“Shut the fu—”

The way they kept interrupting each other and cutting one another off mid-sentence got to both of them in no time. Nines didn’t like being challenged in terms of his authoritative nature, and Gavin didn’t like that Nines was still openly standing before him, half-nude, and also having frightened him.

He hated showing he was weak.

Gripping Nines’ shoulders, Gavin spat out while trembling, “Damn you!”

Roaring at him then, Nines pushed him backwards, entering the changing stall at once. The door banged shut behind them, but Nines didn’t care about the noise; he cared about the short man before himself. Approaching with caution, Nines watched as Gavin backed himself into a corner, and when he had no more room to back up into, Nines bunched Gavin’s shirt up in a clenched fist.

Yanking the shirt forward roughly, he barked out, “Take this off, now.”

Seeing the wild, abandoned look of frenzy in the android’s eyes, Gavin knew it would be a foolish move on his part to argue. As much as he hated this, and as much as it made him frightened, he had no other choice. No one was here, and no one knew what was going on.

Better to get this over with now…

Sighing softly, Gavin pulled the shirt upwards over his head, and Brother Nines helped him take it off completely. He carelessly threw the uniform shirt down between their feet, and as Gavin tried backing away, Nines latched onto his arms, and he pinned them both up over his head against the wall behind him.

Gavin didn’t move, thinking that Brother Nines merely wanted to look at him for some reason. It appeared that way for a long time at least, as Brother Nines first took his time enjoying watching Gavin’s face spin through uncomfortable expressions before he stared all over at Gavin’s upper torso. Gavin tried not moving or shaking the entire time, and he found that closing his eyes and imagining he was somewhere else helped a little. He just prayed Brother Nines would get through this quickly.

It soon became clear that watching and looking wasn’t all that the android wanted, however. Holding tightly onto Gavin’s arms, he bent his head down and sniffed Gavin’s neck. The boy froze up when Nines did this, and he didn’t even blink or move a muscle as the android studied and sniffed along the column of his neck like some starved beast.

Gavin didn’t know what Nines was doing or what he was trying to sniff and detect out, but he was certain he didn’t want to anger the android anymore. Staying put and just remaining silent was his only choice for the moment, so he gave in. His skin was still crawling anytime Nines sniffed away at it, but he held back on his screams, cries of protest, anger, confusion, and just allowed Nines to do as he pleased.

The android’s warm puffs of air hitting his chest didn’t really do anything to comfort him, but Gavin still felt locked and trapped in his own body while Nines just studied every inch of his skin as if he’d been seeing it for the first time ever. The android was thorough in his checking and a slow observer; he took his time touching Gavin’s arms, as if measuring the length of them from the top of his shoulders all the way down to his fingertips. Nines must’ve been impressed or pleased with something he saw, for he hummed deeply. He then made his way over to Gavin’s clavicle, testing out the depth and width of the bone by massaging and caressing it.

Perhaps it was due to the cold air, perhaps it was due to fear and anxiety rising and churning in his system, or perhaps it was just because he really needed to have someone else touch him. Gavin didn’t know the reason either way, and he didn’t want to play guessing games with himself. The only thing he knew was that he felt his nipples hardening under Nines’ penetrating gaze.

The android was staring at them seriously, as if he wanted to devour them whole, and it made Gavin whimper at the back of his throat. He couldn’t help but peer up along Nines’ longer, stronger, wider body in turn, and he nearly cried out in shock and awe when he saw just how strong the android really was made to be.

Nines was a towering build of muscle, power, dominance, and fear. He could’ve served as a good soldier, bodyguard, fighter, or even sports player, and yet he was in a religious school for young, delinquent boys?

Gavin didn’t understand it at all, though he supposed Nines had a purpose here. Perhaps his physique and power were meant to frighten younger boys into behaving, and perhaps it served for keeping the ‘Elders’ in line as well. He didn’t know specifically, and he found he didn’t care; not when Nines’ fingers began playing and toying with his lower abdomen.

Gavin bit down hard on his tongue as Nines’ index finger slowly traced his navel in small, deliberate circles. Once or twice when a girl had gone down on him, her hair or tongue had touched and licked up that area, but the women he’d been with had never paid closer attention to Gavin’s belly button. He felt it was now one of the most sensitive, erogenous zones, and Nines wouldn’t stop touching it.

He was slowly losing control over his own body, though he still reminded himself not to move or do anything stupid. The least he could do now was just ‘enjoy’ it, and he closed his eyes and tried picturing another hot girl touching him and moving her small, delicate hands up and down along his stomach and chest.

It was impossible, unfortunately.

Those hands gliding along his heated skin weren’t delicate or small, and what frightened Gavin to no end was the fact that he actually didn’t want the hands to belong to a female!!!

No, he didn’t mind at all that this was Brother Nines touching him; not a woman.

Maybe there was something wrong with him; maybe he’d finally snapped. He wasn’t sure, and he felt his eyes growing hot as he clenched them shut tightly.

He needed something more…his treacherous body simply felt the touches bestowed upon it, and naturally, it demanded, and demanded, and wanted, and wanted, and needed, and needed…

He wanted more.

Dear God, he wanted more from this.

Opening his eyes quickly, he swallowed back his inner protests, and he forced his arms to get moving. They had a mind of their own, and they didn’t budge for the longest time. Stubborn, all around. Gavin knew that if he didn’t receive more soon, he was going to burst apart in pure agony. He needed something; anything, and it made matters worse when Nines leaned against him and gently stroked the skin along his neck and throat.

Those fingers would be the death of him, and Gavin wondered how it was possible that Nines could stay here in the school and carry on with this as a career choice when he was a rather skilled, gentle, and attentive individual when it came to the body.

He must’ve been going insane as well, then.

Taking his time to stare down the lower torso of the tall android, Gavin wanted to test whether or not he really could be attracted to men. Sure, he loved women to no end. He loved how they felt, he loved how they smelled, and he loved how they tasted. But men? He had no idea. He’d never been curious at all about them, and he knew they lacked a lot of things he found beautiful and sensual in women. Even staring at Nines now, he knew not to expect a delightfully round pair of tits, or a sexy cleavage. There wasn’t one at all, of course. Instead, Gavin saw two dark pink nipples with semi-hard buds perky in the center. The areola was simply lovely to look at, and to Gavin’s eyes and mind, he suddenly saw no difference between how it looked in comparison to a woman’s.

A body was a body, and his brain told him that whatever Nines had been doing to his own body for the time being was helping and working him into a heated, lustful frenzy.

Gavin caved in when he looked up to catch Nines eyeing his stomach and abs with nothing but desire prominent in the center of his eyes. After allowing his own gaze to flicker down between the android’s powerful legs, Gavin saw a very masculine, heavy, thick bulge jutting out slightly, and that was it.

He made up his mind right then and there.

Reaching up with certainty in his eyes, he gripped Nines by the back of his neck, and he pulled him down as strongly as he could. The android wouldn’t budge at first, but when Gavin slowly guided his upper body towards his chest, the hint had been made quite clear.

Gavin pointed downward with his eyes, motioning to Nines where he wanted him to touch and pay attention to. The android stared at him blankly for a moment, but then-as if under a spell-he moved, finally. He bent his neck down without another glance at Gavin, and his lips immediately wrapped around a nipple. It was as powerful and intense as a small suction cup being attached to the heated, wanton nub, and the moment the android’s lips circled the flesh, Gavin groaned out in relief. He tilted his head back, letting it thud against the wall. The pain didn’t even come to him; he was far too enamored and taken by the sweet sensations of Nines’ lips gently kissing his areola and nipple.

Maybe this was why most of his girlfriends had begged him to be gentle with their breasts, and to fondle and suckle them more! It felt so damn good, and he found he never wanted Nines to stop. He’d kill him if he even dared to!

It also seemed that the android didn’t want to cease and desist either; he kept pressing gentle, soft, tiny kisses to Gavin’s right nipple, but he didn’t ignore the left one. While his lips were busy, his thumb and index finger got to work at rubbing and plucking Gavin’s hardening left nipple as if it were a wonderful musical instrument crafted by the gods.

The sounds Gavin found himself making in the tiny space they were trapped in for the time being were absolutely horrifying to his own ears. He didn’t even sound like himself anymore! If anything, he thought he sounded needy, and his voice came out in little high-pitched moans befitting that of a more feminine nature.

What the hell was Nines doing to him?!?

Unable to stop his moaning, Gavin lost himself to the strong sensuality practically smothering and choking him. How could he when Nines began lapping at his nipple with his warm, wet tongue, now?? It was impossible, and he decided to ignore how crazy he sounded and just enjoy it. In a school such as the one he was currently holed up in for the entire summer, he knew he wouldn’t have even the slightest chance to get laid, so why not enjoy whatever he got? Overthinking it all would just dampen his enjoyment, so he gave up.

Wrapping his arms around Nines’ upper body, he gently touched the android’s powerful shoulders, massaging them as he mapped out the rest of his upper torso slowly. Anytime Nines moved, Gavin could feel his sinew dancing beneath his fingertips, and he grew harder between his legs.

“Fuck,” he hissed out, resisting the urge to rub his arousal over Nines’ strong thigh which had worked Gavin’s legs apart forcefully.

Nines growled-a slight warning perhaps for Gavin’s poor choice in language, but Gavin didn’t care right now. His entire body was on fire, and he needed to seek something out and do something in order to put out this fire immediately. Having no other choice or source of alleviating himself, he began grinding his hips and erection over the android’s thigh.

Nines didn’t seem to mind it enough to pay attention; he was far too busy with licking Gavin’s left nipple, now. Bunching up as much of the muscle and fatty tissue in the palm of his hand as he could, he began suckling at Gavin roughly, now, causing the boy to wince for a moment and pause in between thrusting away at Nines’ thigh.

“Ngghh, don’t—ahh!!” Gavin changed his mind midway about that protest when Nines moved up along his chest and began kissing the rest of the skin there. Once Gavin’s wet nipple had been released into the cool air between their bodies, Gavin sighed out in relief. His nipple throbbed and ached, but it soon turned into a very delicious pain he was absolutely getting off on.

Perhaps pain and pleasure weren’t that far apart from one another, after all…

Slamming his hips against the android’s thigh, Gavin hissed out, “Move!!”

Unfortunately, that pleading cry seemed to backfire entirely. Instead of reciprocating in the way Gavin wanted and needed him to, Nines only kept pinching and touching Gavin’s sensitive nipples. The areas around them were beginning to swell up, and Gavin groaned in more pain than pleasure, now.

“Nines,” he panted, “please j-just t-touch me?” he wasn’t sure why it came out like a question, but he supposed it was due to how Nines denied him a second ago. Maybe he wanted Gavin to beg for it…

Fine.

If it meant he’d be able to finally cum, he’d beg all Nines wanted.

Whining in a fit of painful need, Gavin tried not bucking his hips up wildly against Nines. The android gazed up at him, finally pausing in between kissing and touching him. A delicate eyebrow quirked up, and he leaned into Gavin as though to say: ‘tell me what you want’.

It was amazing how they were able to communicate without even saying anything, and Gavin slid his legs apart more, beckoning Nines forward. He hoped and prayed the android would get the hint, and it seemed he had when he inched closer to Gavin. Now that they were super close, Gavin let his body arch up into Nines’ touch, and he cried out in nothing short of joy when he saw and felt one of Nines’ large hands sliding down the length of his stomach over between his legs. Allowing his hand to rest there for a moment, it only took half a second before Nines was merciful enough to just give Gavin’s protruding erection a slight squeeze through his uniform pants.

It’d just taken a touch, and that was it.

One little touch, and Gavin’s fingers dug into Nines’ back as he cried out in shock. Burying his face into Nines’ chest shamefully, he couldn’t stop himself from moving his hips forward, and the tip of his needy cock twitched. It was so beautiful finally receiving this kind of attention, and since he’d been so starved of it, he came in less than a few seconds right there in his pants with Brother Nines’ hand merely cupping his dick.

Gavin’s profanities died down in his throat as he closed his eyes tightly and saw a blinding red-white flash. He kept spilling forth, unable to stop himself now that it’d started. Feeling sticky, messy, wet, disgusting, and sweaty, there was little Gavin could do but let it all out.

Nines allowed him to hang onto his arms and shoulders, and Gavin’s eyes slowly snapped open when he realized he’d been crying out in a long, wanton, sex-crazed manner. His voice knocked against the walls of the changing room stall, and his head caved forward further against Nines’ neck. He felt the android merely standing like a pillar of support, and Gavin had to take a second to still his heartbeat, but also to check and see whether Nines was aroused or otherwise affected by this at all…

Relying on his eyes for a moment, Gavin stared down between their bodies, but he couldn’t see much through his teary-eyed vision. Everything was hazy and blurry, which meant he’d had a pretty good orgasm, at least. He blinked back the tears and his nostrils flared, but he still wasn’t able to see much.

Time to use his hands, he supposed.

Feeling bold enough, Gavin finally pressed his hands down between the android’s legs. He’d obviously been expecting to feel a cock larger than his own and far more erect, but strangely, he felt nothing.

Nines had a cock, alright, but it wasn’t even half-hard.

What…

How?

Hadn’t any of this affected him in the slightest?! Wasn’t he enjoying himself also?! If not, then why did he touch Gavin?!? Why had he done this?!?

This offended and confused Gavin right to the core. He wanted Nines to feel something; anything! Why should he be the one who was the sopping, moaning wet mess?

To hell with it!!

Without thinking about it for even a second, Gavin snaked his hands down Nines’ black shorts, but before he could even grip his cock, a powerful hand slammed down over his own.

Wincing in pain, Gavin hissed out, “You’re hurting me!”

“Then get your hands off my person,” Nines warned, and taking a step back from the sweaty teenager, he shoved his hands down to his sides.

Gavin huffed irritably at him, “Oh, I get it, now,” he spat while running a hand through his long hair, “you’re just using me for sex, right?”

A yellow LED light and dark eyes met his own while Gavin panted wildly. “Appealing to a baser instinct only humans need is foolish, you petulant brat!”

“So you think I’m disgusting for having sexual needs?” Gavin laughed, “ha! That’s real rich, Nines!”

Nines glared at him, “Seeing you half-nude is disgusting, stupid child!” he inched closer to Gavin, enjoying how the young man shriveled up and tossed aside his confidence. “Why should I ever dream of wanting more from you?”

Gavin wilted for a moment from the insult, but in a flash, his eyes turned dark with anger and hatred, and he kicked a foot down in defiance. “If I’m so fuckin’ disgusting to you, Nines,” came the low growl of a warning, “then why don’t you just fuck off and find someone else to do this shit with, hmm? Let’s see how far you get with your mpphh!!!”

He’d been cut off by Nines slamming a powerful hand down over his mouth. As Gavin struggled, Nines smirked as he leaned into the shorter boy. “Make no mistake, Gavin,” eyes shining brightly with intent to harm and cause pain beamed brightly into his own, “I’m not drawn to any of the obstinate brats I’m ordered to look after, but I find myself rather specially pulled towards you…rest assured,” he chuckled, “you’ll be the only misbegotten brat I’ll do this with.”

Rolling his eyes at the android as he roughly shoved the hand off his mouth, Gavin cried out moodily, “There’s a nicer way to say that shit, you know that, right?”

A sigh came his way, “If you fancy yourself in love, then—”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Nines,” Gavin hissed sharply at him, bending down to pick up his discarded uniform shirt off the floor. He dusted and brushed it off, putting it back on his body. “I don’t want to date a guy,” he spat while nervously fumbling for the buttons, “especially not a male android, of all people!”

Smirking at him with pride, Nines only held his head high. “Very well,” smiling widely, he said, “then I suppose we can agree to settle on a mutually beneficial relationship?”

Gavin squinted up at him, “You mean like friends-with-benefits?”

Thinking about it for a moment, Nines slowly nodded. “If you wish to put it that crudely, then yes, that’s what I’m proposing.”

Looking down at his feet, Gavin adjusted and did up the last of the buttons while he lost himself in his thoughts. Truth be told, he’d never actually had a friends-with-benefits relationship ever. He’d always fooled around when single, but then quickly tried getting into relationships. He just preferred things that way, and he found that now that sex was easily being offered, he was unable to resist considering it fully. Point blank, he knew he was going to go the entire summer without sex, and he didn’t want to be caught masturbating in the dorms late at night or in the showers. Especially not when little Charlie loved running around playing ‘peek-a-boo’ with everyone…

“Fine,” he eventually pushed out between clenched teeth, “let’s just mess around and see where it goes.”

“Indeed.”

In the awkward silence gathering around them, Gavin felt so sticky between his legs and right over his ass, that he really wanted to forget how gross he truly felt. Eyeing Nines wearily, he decided to randomly blurt something out. “So,” he started awkwardly, nearly kicking himself when he realized how much he sucked at conversations after sexual encounters, “have you a-always liked dudes?”

Again, this was cringe-worthy to ask, and he was about to slap himself in the face for it when Nines merely leaned against one side of the stall. He crossed his thick arms over his chest, and he stared intently at Gavin while the boy continued to make himself more presentable.

After more awkwardness, Gavin choked out, “What?”

Sighing, Nines shook his head. “No,” he answered softly, “I’ve never been attracted to anyone, if you must know.”

Seeing the blue LED light on the android’s temple, Gavin slowly nodded. “Father Anderson said it’s apparently a sin,” he then shrugged, “I think love is love, though; can’t help who you’re attracted to and who you want, so what’s wrong with it?”

“It seems as though you’re trying to convince yourself more,” Nines pointed out accurately, smirking when Gavin glared at him.

Deciding to drop that subject for the time being, Gavin moved past Nines and opened the stall door with a tiny squeak. He was relieved to see that no one was inside the building or even outside it. Feeling more relaxed, he spun around and stared as Nines also emerged from the stall, though he walked out in the open with his shorts clinging to his v-shaped hips and abdomen.

Gavin swallowed from the sight of it in a fit of anxiety and desire.

Holding out a hand, Nines opened the front door to the building, and he nodded out into the fields and world outside. “Get going,” he whispered, “we don’t want to be caught here alone.”

In desperate need of changing into fresh clothes after having a warm shower, Gavin nodded in agreement. “Okay, you go first!”

Without even hesitating, Nines slid past him, his long legs carrying him away from the building in no time. Soon, he became but a tiny dot on the horizon, and Gavin knew he had to pick up the pace himself. People would start looking for him, and he was certain they were already concerned. He’d been gone for far too long, plus, he was getting hungry.

Sighing, he let the door of the changing area shut softly, and he walked back down the path leading up to the school with his eyes cast sadly down on the ground the entire time.

Such a shame how a lovely day turned into a horrible one in no time at all.

Chapter Text

They didn’t meet again for the following two days until the weekend was over. Gavin hardly saw much of Nines, and while it didn’t bother and pull at him with a sense of longing as he’d expected it to, he found himself more curious about the android’s whereabouts more than anything else.

He couldn’t help but ask Greg and Travis about it one day when they all had their early morning math class with Brother Josh.

As the tall android wrote down an algebra formula on the board for them to copy down and learn, Gavin leaned over to the side of his desk, and he whispered into Travis’ ear, “Hey, what do you think Brother Nines does when he doesn’t have classes to teach?”

The African American student set his pencil down and threw Gavin a perturbed glance. “Gav, man,” he began in a dry chuckle, “you’ve been asking us an awful lot about Brother Nines lately…you sure you’re not in love with him or something?” He followed this up with a tiny snicker, though it seemed a little forced and on the side of sarcasm than genuine humor.

Gavin deadpanned for a moment, but before Travis could make another strange claim, he snorted and threw an eraser at the boy. “Don’t be sick, dude,” he whispered heatedly, “I was just curious.”

“Bi-curious, yeah, maybe.”

He groaned in despair, “Travis! Stop fuckin’ around, man!”

Travis only shrugged, “How the hell would I know, Gav? I’m just merely a student here like you!”

Knowing that was as far as he could take it, Gavin gave up on trying to find out more information on the android. Nodding curtly at Travis, he got back to work just in time before Brother Josh turned around and stared about the classroom.

It took all Gavin’s efforts to keep his mouth shut about Nines for the rest of the morning.

Luckily, he didn’t have to wait long, as their double ‘History of Catholicism’ class began right after math. Gavin yanked out his assigned textbook once he’d plopped himself down on his seat, and while he waited with the rest of his classmates, he noticed that Brother Nines wasn’t in the room yet…

Odd…he always was here before everyone else…

Staring around the sea of already-exhausted students around himself, Gavin randomly asked, “Hey, isn’t Nines supposed to be here?”

Glaring at him, Reese snapped, “Don’t you mean ‘Brother Nines’, you ignoramus?”

Ignoring the angry British boy, Gavin poked Greg with his pen. The Irish teen had been attempting to sleep with his head mashed onto his desk, and he groaned the longer Gavin poked at him.

“Greg!”

“What, mate?”

“Where’s Nines?”

Rearing his head up, Greg wiped the ‘sleep’ from his eyes, and he sighed at Gavin. “Mate, your boner for that android is showing,” he snickered, waving a hand at Gavin, “seriously, you a poof or something?”

After hanging out with some of the European students for as long as he had, Gavin easily had been able to pick up on the slang terms.

Glaring at Greg, he crudely said, “I’m not a homo!”

“Mate, I’m not judging you if you are,” Greg stated honestly while scratching the back of his neck, “in fact, if you are, I think it’s a relief, because I wouldn’t mind having a go with you some time…” It appeared that the other male had been serious; his eyes sat frozen stiff down at the floor, fixated on nothing, and his cheeks and ears turned deep pink as he breathed quickly through his nose.

Before Gavin could unleash a flurry of insults, the classroom door opened, and then swiftly slammed shut. Something dark brushed past the isles in the classroom quickly, and Gavin saw Brother Nines finally marching up to the front of the room with a textbook held tightly in a hand.

His long, dark robes swirled and swished around his body, and Gavin felt a little angry knowing that Nines had such a lovely, sensual body, yet he was choosing to cover it up…

The textbook slammed down on the top of the lectern, indicating that Nines was pissed.

Staring at his face, Gavin winced; yes, he was indeed pissed.

With a red LED light glaring openly at everyone, Brother Nines sneered as he flipped open his textbook. “Turn to page 200,” he instructed everyone with a dour expression on his face, “read the top passage, and then I want you all to silently write an essay based on your understanding on the assigned reading.”

That instruction was clear, and everyone silently got to work.

Gavin despised silent reading, but he forced himself to read through the passage. Still, his mind wandered every other word he tried reading, and soon, he was wondering what Nines truly did on his weekends. Did he ever venture out into town? Did he have friends he regularly saw?!

It occurred to Gavin suddenly that he’d agreed to take Nines on as a casual ‘lover’, yet he hardly knew a damn thing about him.

Stupid.

Foolish.

Careless.

Brainless.

Poking Greg once again, Gavin whispered as softly as he could, “Do you think the Android Brothers are allowed to go out into town on the weekends?”

Greg shrugged slowly, as if still half-asleep, “Mate, I don’t know why you give a shite,” the dry response came out, “no one here does except for you.”

“I know, but—”

“I recall stating this task was to be completed in silence, Mr. Reed,” Brother Nines drawled out from the front of the room.

Gavin nodded, turned back to his work, and waited until he was certain that Nines had taken up on reading his own copy of the course textbook once more. After a few more seconds just to be on the side of caution, Gavin whispered again over at Greg, “I’m sure the androids go somewhere on the weekends! There’s just no way they stay indoors all the time!”

Sighing, Greg shrugged again in apathy, “Perhaps, but I personally don’t really care enough to know.”

When Gavin leaned in to add onto that statement, Brother Nines hissed out icily, “Mr. Reed, are you hard of hearing?”

So he stayed put, and decided to keep on ‘reading’. Gavin focused intently as much as he could, but his mind kept wandering. Anything was the source of a distraction to him; the noises emanating from the old heaters against the walls, the scratching of pens upon paper, the shifting of shoes and feet over the floors, the birds outside flying and singing past the windows merrily, the sounds in the old air vents looming high above their heads in the ceilings, as well as the old, dull hum of the light bulbs.

His head hurt, and it made concentrating on the words even more troublesome. His eyes stung, his ears burned, and he longed to be out of there so he could at least chat a little with Nines. He hated that the android had been able to distract him a few days ago from asking what he’d originally wanted to ask. Nines held a habit of this, it seemed, and Gavin despised being so weak that he couldn’t even talk to Nines about his sexuality and preferences. After all, that had been the entire purpose of seeking the cold android out in the first place, but it seemed it was just a failed plan.

Refusing to accept failure, Gavin tried formulating another plan in his mind, but then was distracted by Greg tapping on the edge of his little brown desk.

“Hmm?”

Greg shyly smiled at him, and his ears and cheeks were bright pink as he looked away from meeting Gavin’s eyes. “Sorry for hitting on you before,” Greg began in an earnest tone, “but I felt that you had a right to know that I bat for both teams…everyone knows it, anyway.”

Gavin quirked a brow, “Oh…you’re bi?”

Greg’s eyes shifted to the side, “Yes,” he answered softly, “but I prefer men over women mostly.”

This truly surprised Gavin. He hadn’t been expecting the fourteen-year-old to already be so sure of his sexuality, but if he was, Gavin admired him and was proud of him more so for it. Nothing burned worse than being a prisoner to one’s own mind and heart, after all.

Leaning over the edge of his desk while curiosity burned in his eyes, Gavin whispered, “But you’re only fourteen…how can you be sure of what you like?”

Green eyes met his blue ones, and Greg smiled patiently. “I’m turning fifteen in another week, Gavin,” he gently ushered out, “I am old enough to know what I want and who I want, plus, I’ve already been with a man and a few women, so it’s safe to say that I’m experienced when it comes to both genders.”

Chewing on his lower lip as he mulled over his next question, Gavin threw back, “Yeah, but—”

“Still insisting on breaking the rules? Tsk tsk, I expected more of you, Mr. Reed,” Brother Nines tapped a hand on the surface of his own large desk to get everyone’s attention, and many pairs of angry eyes landed on Gavin right away.

Shrinking back from the rest of his classmates’ dirty looks, Gavin bent his head down and practically buried his nose in his textbook.

A second later, Greg whispered, “Bloody hell, mate! He’s really after you today!”

“Shh!! Greg!” Gavin cried out desperately, “I could do without landing into more trouble today!”

Suddenly, the sound of feet approaching caused Gavin and Greg to leap up to attention. In no time at all, Brother Nines stood by Gavin’s desk, and he was already grabbing Gavin’s textbook and paper. “Get up,” he spat down at the sixteen-year-old, “I’m rearranging your seating area for today.”

Groaning, Gavin followed Brother Nines close to the front of the room where a rickety, old vacant desk and chair happened to sit all alone and away from the other desks. Brother Nines threw the items onto the desk, but before he made a move back towards his own desk, he caught Gavin throwing him a knowing glance. The android stopped dead in his tracks, and as he looked at Gavin, the boy mouthed out silently, ‘We need to talk’.

As silent as the entire classroom was, Nines merely sneered at Gavin, and then sat down at his own desk.

Fuck.

Gavin sat down as well, but he wasn’t giving up. He knew that Brother Nines had understood his message loud and clear, and he wasn’t done talking yet. As Brother Nines sat down and got back to his reading, Gavin pretended he was writing a few lines of his essay. In truth, he was writing a message for Nines.

Holding his hand up after he’d completed it, he cried out, “Brother Nines? I have a question about my essay format!”

From across the room, Reese mimicked him, but Brother Nines tossed the other boy a heated scowl before he got up to his feet and approached Gavin’s desk. With black robes billowing, he leaned down next to Gavin when he’d reached his side, and he stared down at the page. It was all blank except for the date, the course title, and one message near the top center of the lined page.

Please dont ignore me, i need 2 talk 2 u.

As Gavin waited for Nines to hopefully clue in to all this, he studied the android up close for a moment. Nines was handsome…holy shit, he really was. Gavin couldn’t believe he was admitting this to himself, but how could he deny it? He knew a beautiful, handsome man when he saw one, and Nines happened to be one of them. Truthfully, judging and going off on his appearances alone, Gavin supposed that Nines looked roughly between the ages of twenty-eight at the oldest, and twenty-three at the youngest. It was tough to tell with androids, but he fit the bill for it when Gavin thought about all the friends he knew from public school who had older brothers around the same age.

Yet Nines was more attractive…his eyelashes weren’t too short or too long, and the hairs weren’t too thick at all. He looked masculine all around, and his skin was so smooth to touch. Remembering how it felt when he’d pressed his face against the android’s chest, Gavin flushed pink, and he tried not to make immediate eye contact with the android as Nines gently reached for Gavin’s pen. The teenager handed it to him wordlessly, and in no time, Nines wrote down on Gavin’s blank page:

There’s nothing to discuss; attend to your work.

Before he could freak out, Gavin snatched the pen back and wrote hurriedly: what if i told u i wanted us to do more kinky shit?

He hadn’t exactly changed his mind; Gavin still wanted to talk about many things with Nines. It just so happened that as he’d been studying the taller male, a spike of arousal had coursed through his body, and he wanted it out of the way first and foremost.

Pausing as he read this over, Nines eventually grabbed the pen back and sighed while he wrote: I see…so tell me of your wise plans on doing this without your so-called ‘friends’ catching on, if you please.

Shit fuck.

He hadn’t thought of that at all, and when Gavin peered up into Nines’ eyes, the android smirked in triumph. He also added down on the page: You’re still far too young to know of the dark art that is seduction, aren’t you?

So it was a challenge? Fine. Gavin loved challenges.

Spurred on, he carefully grabbed his pen back and jotted down for Nines: i legit have a gud plan!!

Scoffing at him dismissively, Nines waited until Gavin offered him the pen once more. Indulge me then, you mindless brat!

Gavin didn’t waste time once he held his pen. He suggested: give me a detention.

Blinking hard at the short sentence, Nines must’ve read it a few times over before he frowned in confusion. He wrote: What’re you going on about now?

Gavin fumed, Do I have to spell it out for you, Nines?!? Just give me a damn detention, and ill try to land into some trouble as a distraction and a gud enough reason 4 u 2 give me one! K?

Sneering at him as soon as he’d finished reading the sentence, the android finally gave him one single nod in confirmation.

Have at it, then.

Dropping the pen onto the desk, Nines moved silently back to his own desk, his black boots barely making a sound as he finally sat down on his chair. As soon as he’d sat down, Gavin held up his hand.

Rolling his eyes, Nines hissed out, “Yes, Mr. Reed?”

“May I please be excused to go to the bathroom?” Gavin asked in a particularly polite manner, and Nines merely nodded.

Plan was in motion.

As soon as Gavin stood up, he headed purposefully over towards Reese’s desk. Still wielding his pen in his hands, the moment he brushed by the fifteen-year-old, Gavin purposefully knocked into Reese, and he then made sure to jab at the boy’s back with the tip of his pen.

“REED! WHAT THE HECK’S THE MATTER WITH YOU!?!?” Reese cried out vehemently in pain and anger, and then Gavin shoved him roughly before he had a chance to stand up.

“FUCK YOU, REESE!” Gavin cried back from the top of his lungs, and all his friends gasped as they cried out softly, ‘what’re you doing?!?’

Nines stood up to his full height, and he pointed angrily at Gavin, “Detention, Mr. Reed! Stay after class!”

Gavin had to hold back really hard on grinning in pride.

The plan had worked after all.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

The door to the single-stalled teacher’s washroom opened hurriedly, and Gavin was ushered inside silently. His friends had barely been able to ask what was going on with him that he needed to lash out randomly at Reese, when Brother Nines spat out at them, “If anyone lingers around here another second longer, I’ll assign another three report papers per individual!”

That had sent the boys running away fearfully, and they promised they’d save a seat for Gavin at dinner time.

When they were alone, Gavin made a move to grab Nines, but the android shoved him aside and threw open the classroom door instead. “Not in here, you moron,” he threw out angrily, “unless you wish for us both to be caught?”

Silently, Gavin followed Nines into the teacher’s washroom, then, and the moment the door locked behind them, Nines was already unzipping Gavin’s dress pants.

“But I wanted to talk—”

“Silence,” the cold reply came viciously at him, and it rendered Gavin frozen for a moment. He hardly struggled or fought back, eventually closing his eyes and whining in pure need as a firm hand stroked his cock the moment his dress pants hung down to his ankles. Nines still hadn’t taken his shorts off, but Gavin didn’t mind. A quick release was the only thing he needed for the time being, and in less than a few seconds, he’d already released precum.

Embarrassed, he tried ignoring his discomfort with the fact that tiny beads of pearly, salty liquid had already leaked out of him. More threatened to come after, and it didn’t help matters when Nines’ hands were pumping and working him almost perfectly…

Gavin panted at him, “You…you’ve d-done this before…”

Nines merely growled at him in annoyance, “Shut up and come for me, Gavin.”

Throwing his head back, the boy mewled at the command and dirty words flying out of Nines’ mouth. There was something incredibly hot and alluring about a man who was supposed to be refined, serving God, representing a Catholic school, and who was supposed to be a teacher and a role model everyone looked up to swearing and cursing like a sailor.

Gavin wanted to hear more of it immediately.

Staring up with determination into Nines’ eyes, he begged softly, “Can you say more dirty things?”

When Nines didn’t budge or move, Gavin added in, “Please?”

Glaring at him, Nines merely pushed out, “I’m not obligated to do anything for you, miserable child.” Odd how his hands still stroked Gavin’s cock as he said this, however.

Whining and crying, Gavin’s own hands began fumbling blindly over Nines’ body, and he involuntarily reached for the android’s cock between his legs. Nines clamped his thighs shut, but it was too late; Gavin had already touched him, and Nines’ hand on Gavin’s heated erection froze.

Good. He didn’t want to be the only one feeling this.

In a bit of a hurry, Gavin knew he had Nines right where he wanted him, so he took the initiative by remembering to do what his girlfriends had all done for him in the past. He bent down on a knee, ignoring how Nines’ hands hovered by his shoulders in the air, and he had already unbuckled the android’s black dress pants belt. It clattered for the floor unceremoniously, and as Gavin unzipped and untucked Nines’ cock from the confines of his dark robes and dress pants, he gasped when he was finally face-to-face with it.

It was fucking huge.

He couldn’t see a lot, but he could tell just from touching it alone that it was thick and huge. And it wasn’t even erect…great.

He wanted to take his time and study it, but he then heard laughing on the other side of the washroom door.

Shit!

Both men froze, and as Nines turned his head to the side and stared at the stall door, Gavin decided to take the chance. Nines wasn’t even hard, and Gavin remembered how angry it’d made him to discover this a few days ago. Things would be different, now.

With plenty of courage searing through his body and mind, Gavin closed his eyes, took a breath, and then dove forward. He willingly took Nines’ cock into his mouth, and for a few seconds, he just let it hang there. It must’ve looked so obscene and felt weirder, for Nines gasped down at him in a short cry, though his cock wasn’t even at half-way hardness, yet.

Finally, some kind of a vocal response! It was better than nothing, Gavin supposed, but bizarre how the android’s penis hadn’t even responded or stirred deep in his hot, wet mouth.

Gavin peeked up at Nines, and he found the android simply staring down at him with a neutral expression. Even in the midst of wild throes of passion, Nines wanted to be dominant and in clear control. Nothing Gavin did seemed to affect him at all; even his LED light remained blue. Gavin struggled against this, however, and he moaned and groaned around Nines’ thick, heavy cock in his mouth, desperate for some kind of a reaction.

No, it really seemed that Nines was honestly surprised by Gavin’s boldness; nothing more.

It didn’t matter how hard Gavin was trying; nothing was affecting Nines at all. Gavin sucked on the throbbing cock in his mouth like his life depended on it, blinking up a few times at Nines in between breaths, but there was nothing. He even gently massaged the thighs of the android, his fingers plucking and trying to coax a response out of the stoic figure before him.

There wasn’t one at all; Nines merely stared down blankly at him, but his jaw was slightly open, at least.

Fuck that.

Trying to imitate how his girlfriends had done it for him, Gavin began bobbing his head up and down the length of the dick in between his lips. He knew he must’ve been terrible at this, because it was his first time, logically, and he honestly didn’t know what to do with something so large poking him in the insides of his cheeks and almost at his throat. Knowing he’d failed already, Gavin nearly fumed in anger when he felt Nines’ cock softening in his mouth.

What was he doing wrong?!?

Attempting not to gag already, Gavin distracted himself by moving out of his boxers so he could begin by stroking his own neglected cock while slowly sucking and licking around the tip of the penis in his mouth. It all was so quick to happen and so hurried. He knew he was highly aroused, but sucking and stroking at the same time was a tad tricky. Focusing more on the task, he lapped at the cock from base to tip slowly, but then he felt Nines’ hands yank him upwards and off his cock.

Releasing the flaccid member with a sickening, loud ‘pop’, Gavin gasped as he barely had enough time to register that he’d been slammed against the door of the stall. A hand fisted his erection, and he winced. It both hurt and delighted him terribly, and he relaxed into the hold as Nines bit down firmly on his neck.

Pulling back for a moment, he whispered, “You’re even harder just from sucking my dick? How slutty, Gavin…”

Oh, those words coming out of that mouth. That deep voice, those hands, that strong chest…everything was affecting Gavin, and he rammed his hips up wildly against Nines’ hand. He was practically fucking the android’s palm, now, and Nines twisted his hand delightfully and pleasantly around Gavin, as if asking him to just break apart.

Knowing he wasn’t going to last long, Gavin clawed at Nines, and the android kept saying the most debasing and degrading things to Gavin.

He called him a filthy whore, he said he was going to give him the well-deserved spanking he needed, he said he was going to brutally fuck him into submission, and he even said he was going to tie him naked to his bed post and whip him until he couldn’t take it anymore.

With a loud cry, Gavin finally exploded all over Nines’ hand.

His mind went blank, and his heart almost burst forth from his chest as a result. He’d never felt better and more alive, and he could only hang onto Nines as though his life depended on it as stream after stream of semen spilled all over himself.

Nines had effectively backed away at the last minute, but that didn’t stop one dot of the spray landing on his chest. Snickering at it all, he stood back as he watched Gavin sink down to his ass, and he plopped down onto the floor in a dull heap. His legs felt weak, and his body felt like a mountain of mush. There wasn’t much he could do but try to catch his breath, and as he opened his eyes and looked up lazily, he caught sight of Brother Nines touching a hand over his chest where Gavin had actually covered him in his own spend.

Coating his finger in it, Nines dipped his head back, and as he stared down intently at Gavin, he grinned a wide grin. “Oh, I’ll take all of you, Gavin,” he purred out deeply and darkly, and his eyes almost went black as a long tongue snaked out and sampled Gavin’s semen on his own fingers.

“I’ll take every last drop of what you have to offer me…”

The tongue wove around the fingers and Gavin practically melted. Nines had in a way tasted him, just as he’d tasted Nines moments earlier. It was a truly magnificent sight to see the tall, muscular android sanding before him in the sunlight with every bit of strength he held towering over Gavin down on the floor.

Smirking at him, Nines breathed out softly in a ghost of a whisper, “I only hope you won’t ever hide from me again, Gavin.”

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin was having a difficult time sleeping that night. The moon was full in the sky, the stars were lovely, and the wind gently blew in through the half-open windows. All the other boys were dead tired, and they were already in their safe dreamlands. Yet, Gavin was wide awake.

He hated this.

In the past, if he’d ever been a light sleeper, he knew he could rely on his phone to play games with, text people for the hell of it, and just watch porn and jack off before he fell asleep. But now, he had neither of these things at his disposal, and he didn’t want to jerk off in a room full of sleeping boys.

Sighing in frustration at the ceiling, Gavin decided to get out of bed, and he was careful not to wake anyone up as he walked to the washrooms and shower rooms. He washed himself quickly from head to toe, though he still felt Nines’ dirty gaze upon himself. He shuddered to think of the android, and he stood by a mirror, drying himself off with a towel.

It was then that as his thoughts were scattered, he heard gentle music coming from below a vent in the floor.

Someone was playing the piano??

No, they were playing the piano, and singing!!!

Listening intently, Gavin set the towel back into the dirty clothes hamper, and he trained his ears as well as he could to make anything out.

The voice was a tenor, it was rich in tone, lovely, and somehow sad…well, it fit the lyrics, and the more Gavin walked out of the washrooms and shower rooms, the more he could hear it perfectly well.

“If…at the sound of wish,

The summer sun would shine…

And if…just a smile would do,

To brush all the clouds from the sky…”

Who was singing??? They surely had a lovely voice!! It practically pulled Gavin forward, and he carefully wove his way around the sleeping young boys and teenagers, approaching the dormitory door in a few minutes. It thankfully was unlocked, and when Gavin quietly pushed down on the handle, the music hit him in the ears even stronger than before.

“If…at the blink of an eye,

The autumn leaves would whirl…

And if…you could sigh a deep sigh,

To scatter them over the earth…”

He had to find out who was singing in such a lovely way, and so he began his quest. Gavin walked past every room he could as he made his way down from the second level of the school all the way to the main floor, and yet he was unable to trace the source of the serene music. It was growing louder, thankfully, so he followed it while his bare feet padded along the floor. He shivered, wondering why and how it was possible when he was wearing a grey t-shirt and black shorts, but he supposed it was somewhat colder on the main level of the school.

Every window was closed shut tightly, and yet he could feel a draft as he wove his way around the halls and neared the end of the last one after he’d made a sharp right turn.

Thankfully, he knew he wouldn’t have to go much farther; he’d reached the source of the music.

A heavy, black door was open ajar, and light beamed into the hallway directly into Gavin’s eyes. Holding an arm up, he shielded his darkness-accustomed eyes from it until his vision had adjusted. When he leaned to peek in, he gasped under his breath when he saw Brother Nines seated before a large, black grand concert piano, and he’d been playing and singing the entire time!!

“I’d blink my eyes,

And wave my arms,

I’d wish a wish,

To stop all harm!”

The calm music soared through the air, and as Gavin leaned against the door to listen more, it squeaked open. Nines immediately stopped playing, and he glared ahead at Gavin lingering in the doorway.

Knowing he was caught, Gavin whispered out with a pained, apologetic expression, “I’m sorry!!  I didn’t mean to interrupt!”

Shaking his head, Brother Nines waved him in, “Stop lingering in the halls that way; you’ll wake everyone up.”

Gavin couldn’t believe his luck. Pointing at himself just to be sure, he asked, “I can come in?”

“Yes, yes,” Brother Nines snapped shortly, still seated on the piano stool, “come in, you fool.”

The room appeared to be a music study room of some sorts, but it wasn’t a classroom. Brother Simon’s music classroom was a lot smaller than the room Gavin currently found himself in, and he gaped around at the wide variety of musical instruments hung up on walls and spread all over the floors in their cases. Magnificent French Horns, Trombones, and a few Tubas were mounted high behind Nines. Violins, Violas, Cellos, and a few Double Bass instruments were at the far back beside a statue of Beethoven and Mozart made of clay. The room smelled of old wood, but it smelled clean and fresh, still. Music notes, decorations, music stands, drums, as well as an old guitar also were present, and it made Gavin feel as though he’d walked into a music store.

Nines snorted at him, randomly playing a little tune for himself while Gavin admired the musical instruments about. “Never seen these before, have you?” he mocked in a jeering tone, “so sad.”

Gavin finally glared at him. “I’ve seen musical instruments before, you twat!” he snapped, “there’s no need to be so sarcastic all the time, Nines!”

“Hmm,” the android hummed, ending his little made-up tune as he pet the stool next to himself. “Sit.”

Sighing dramatically, Gavin plopped himself down beside Nines when the android shifted and made room for him. They eyed each other momentarily, and Gavin broke eye contact first, in a very shy manner.

Nines scoffed, “Can’t sleep?”

“No,” Gavin answered truthfully, “sometimes it happens when I have a lot on my mind.”

Nodding, Nines stared over at the music sheets propped up against the piano. “It’s natural in a strange environment,” he commented softly, and Gavin nodded in return.

Leaning forward a little, Gavin thumbed a few of the loose music sheets, and he read over the title of the piece. “Music and Lyrics from “The Diary of Anne Frank”?” he peeked over at Nines as he tapped a finger at the music, “what’s this for, anyway?”

Smiling lightly, Nines ran his fingers silently over the black and white keys. “Music accompaniment for Brother Ralph’s silly play,” he explained while Gavin leafed through the rest of the notes in mild curiosity.

“Didn’t think you could sing so well…”

“I’ll take the compliment, though I didn’t need it,” Nines lightly jabbed at him, and he once again took up to playing the sad tune.

Gavin frowned after he listened to the opening of the piece. “No wonder it’s so sad,” he exclaimed vehemently, “you know, Anne Frank and all…”

Humming, Nines softly sang out, “If… at the sound of wish, the summer sun would shine. And if…just a smile would do, to brush all the clouds from the sky…”

“Can I sing, too?” Gavin chimed in when there was a small pause, and Nines broke away from the keys for a moment. He blinked at Gavin awkwardly in silence for a moment or two, and Gavin sighed, thinking he’d gone too far and said too much. “You’re right,” he began, trying to stand up, “I should go…I’m sorry…” before he could leave, a hand latched down over his elbow, and he fell back down onto the stool.

“Fool,” Nines hissed a him, eyes in little slits, “I’ll teach you, just pay attention.”

Smiling eagerly, Gavin nodded, “I’ll listen a lot!”

“Sing along for now; the lyrics are on the sheet,” Nines tapped a finger at the page, and he counted, “one, two, three, begin!”

Together, they started off with Gavin slightly off tune, but Nines slowly and carefully repeated the first line of the piece so the younger male could catch up. “If…at the sound of wish, the summer sun would shine. And if…just a smile would do, to brush all the clouds from the sky…”

When Gavin was ready, they moved onto the next portion, which mimicked the first. “If…at the blink of an eye, the autumn leaves would whirl! And if…you could sigh a deep sigh, to scatter them over the earth…”

The next part, Gavin had difficulty with, and he merely took to humming and singing lightly as Nines’ voice overpowered his own. “I’d blink my eyes, and wave my arms, I’d wish a wish to stop all harm…” Nines took a breath, “and repeat with me, now!”

“I’d blink my eyes, and wave my arms, I’d wish a wish to stop all harm…” Nines and Gavin sang their duet, and the android nodded, clearly mildly content with how they both sounded together.

As Brother Nines’ hands moved gracefully along the keys, Gavin peeked down, and he felt utterly mesmerized by the android’s beautiful playing. This was truly art, and he could barely collect himself to sing on, but he did as Nines’ voice accompanied his own.

“If…at the wave of a hand, the winter snows would start. And if…you could just light a candle to change people’s feelings and hearts…”

Gavin felt that their voices mixing together sounded lovely; Nines’ was at least two octaves deeper than his own, but he didn’t mind it as he merely followed the dominant voice to guide him through the rest of the piece. Gavin found that while they sang on, certain words of the piece lingered and weighed heavily in his heart, as implications of the words loomed thickly and intensely in the air.

“I’d whisper love in every land, to every child, woman and man! That’s what I’d do if my wishes would come true, that’s what I’d do, if my wishes could come true!”

Gavin could tell the music was going to end soon, and he lowered his voice significantly as he just tried listening to the piano.

While Nines played on, he shifted and swayed from side-to-side, and as he moved about, something clicked and tapped against the dark wood of the piano stool. It caught Gavin’s attention when it rattled about, and he bent his neck down to look at what it was.

The object had been dangling and hanging out of Nines’ robe pocket, and when Gavin squinted hard at it, he saw that it was a small Rosary. But this was different than the ones all the other Android Brothers carried around with them. All the beads were black, save for one tiny blue marble among the black mass, and the crucifix itself appeared to be wooden, and perhaps hand-crafted?

He’d tried taking a closer look, but Nines had caught onto the fact that Gavin had stopped singing. Staring over at the boy, Nines paused, and then immediately stopped playing when Gavin gently fingered the Rosary.

“Nines?” his innocent voice broke out, “why does your Rosary look different than everyone else’s?”

Fingers slammed down almost violently on the piano, then, and Gavin yelped. The music had turned into a blank mess of garbled nonsense when Brother Nines’ hands just gave way and seemingly collapsed on the keys, and it was more of an exclamation than music at all. Brother Nines merely stared on dully ahead into the music sheets, but his eyes weren’t moving at all…he appeared frozen.

Had he heard him?

Deciding to test it out, Gavin gently nuzzled him, “Nines?”

It was still silent, and Gavin was beginning to worry. “Have I said something wrong?” he asked softly, waving a hand in front of the android’s face.

Still not moving, Nines barely whispered out, “Get out of here.”

Gavin hadn’t heard him properly the first time, so he leaned against the android and nudged him. “Nines?”

Suddenly, the android rounded on him, his eyes dark and menacing. Standing up from the stool, Nines moved backwards as far away from Gavin as he could, and he pointed at the door. “Get out of here, now!!”

“What have I—”

“I SAID GET OUT!!!”

Throwing a hurt and confused glare at Nines, Gavin finally summoned the energy to stand up to his feet. Without even looking back at Nines, he tore towards the door, and he slammed it behind himself as his legs carried him all the way back up to his own dormitory. He missed how protectively Nines pocketed the Rosary, shoving it deeply back down into his robes as he scowled at the dark door.

This had been such a big, big mistake after all.

Chapter Text

“Gav, I don’t mean to be a twat, but you look like shit, bruh!” Mackenzie snorted as he walked by Gavin once he was finished with his shower. The teenager’s long, blonde hair hung loosely over his shoulders, curtaining most of his face. When he got his glasses back on, he studied Gavin for a split second before he winced, “Ooooh, you look like you’ve had a rough night…and not in the sexy way, just so it’s all clear.”

As Mackenzie dried his long hair with a towel, Gavin sighed as he held his head in his hands. “I have a fucking headache, Mac,” he complained, “I didn’t sleep at all last night.”

“Damn, that shit’s brutal, man,” Mackenzie sighed as he tugged at the tips of his hair strands with the towel, desperately trying to soak up all the water. “But cheer up, man!” he cried out excitedly, “you’ve got me as a friend, for one, and two, Greg totally wants to fuck you, by the way.”

Gavin sighed, “I know, Mac,” he pinched the bridge of his nose, and then slowly and gently massaged his temples, “you don’t have to remind me about that.”

“Who wants to fuck who?” Travis approached them next, and he too was toweling and drying himself off as he smiled widely at Gavin and Mackenzie.

With an eye roll, Gavin sarcastically spat out, “Thanks Mac, wanna tell the entire fuckin’ school about my situation, then?” he couldn’t help but laugh dryly, although there really wasn’t anything humorous about it at all.

Waiting with both eyebrows raised expectantly, Travis sighed out, “Well?” he was growing a little impatient, and Gavin felt he had nothing else to lose anyway. Last time he’d checked, he’d been taken against his will and shipped off to this strange school in England, threatened to do right by this last chance before his father kicked him out of the house once and for all, bullied, threatened by his homeroom teacher, physically assaulted numerous times, caught a cold, and fallen into a weird mess of a casual fling while trying to figure out who the hell he was, what the hell he wanted in life, and what the fuck his future was going to be.

Did he need more stress?

No, but he always held the policy of ‘honesty with friends is wise’, and he needed all the friends he could get in a place like this.

Leaning back on his bed, he put on his socks and shoes while he calmly explained to Travis about what had been going on between himself and Greg. “I think Greg likes me more than a friend should,” Gavin stated plainly after he began tying the laces of his uniform shoes. Ignoring how Mackenzie whispered, ‘Greg wants dat ass’, he stared at Travis, hoping the boy wasn’t going to think any less of him now.

Travis rolled his eyes and blew a silly raspberry with his mouth and tongue. “Oh that shit’s old news, man,” he laughed out as he tossed his towel onto his bed close by, “I always had a hunch that Greg was more ‘open’ about his sexuality, but I never asked him because it’s not something I’m comfortable with asking another dude.”

Oh. So it appeared that people here were strangely more open-minded?

Great.

Mackenzie beamed down at Gavin while clapping him on the back roughly, “So are you gonna fuck-I mean, err,” he blushed, and then corrected himself quickly, “are you gonna get together with Greg?”

Gavin stared at him in raw confusion. “What??”

Travis kicked Mackenzie in the ass lightly, and then whipped him in the back of the head with his own uniform shirt. “The hell, man!” Travis snapped at him, “didn’t Greg say a billion times for us not to fuckin’ get involved in that shit so he could ask Gavin himself?!?!”

Cradling the back of his skull, Mackenzie looked down apologetically at Gavin, his eyes large and wide, almost akin to that of a puppy being scolded by its owner. “Sorry Gav,” he pressed out as he dropped his hand by his side, “but it’s true; Greg is gonna ask you out sometime today!”

Gavin felt faint. Not only did he have to deal with an odd, eccentric, moody, and borderline unstable ‘lover’, but he now also had to deal with potential romantic suitors? This was a first for him. He’d had a few girls in the past literally get into a fight with each other for his affections, but Gavin felt this was a lot different. He himself didn’t feel much for Nines in terms of having a romantic relationship; this was purely physical and a method for sexual release, and he felt somewhat satisfied already in that department. What could an inexperienced teenager such as Greg Jefferson offer him?

Realizing he’d been silently mulling this all over as he stared somewhere with vacant eyes, Travis and Mackenzie snickered and whispered back and forth. “I bet he’s trying to imagine how big Greg’s dick is right now!” Mackenzie snorted, and Travis made a scrunched up, disgruntled facial expression.

“Bruuuuh!” he cried out in protest, swatting Mackenzie in the arm with a loud ‘slap!’, “stop being so nasty!”

Glaring at them both, Gavin finally stood to his feet now that both of his shoes were on his feet tightly. “I’m not really in the mood to date anyone, you guys,” he pressed out, then checked around the dormitory to see whether Greg was around or not. He didn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings, but he really felt certain he wasn’t gay or even bisexual; he just needed the extra sexual release gone from his system, and truthfully, he found it a tad humorous that he was engaging in such a hypocritical, filthy set of acts with a member of the ‘church’ and clergy.

Yes, he aimed to keep things just as they were. He could always degrade Brother Nines this way.

Upon hearing his response, Travis shrugged, while Mackenzie picked up his notebooks and pens. “Fair enough, dude,” the pony-tailed, bifocal teenager breathed evenly, “you may wanna figure out how you’re gonna say all that shit to Greg though, because he’s honestly got a serious boner—err, I mean,” he winced, quickly correcting himself when Travis snarled at him, “I meant to say that he has feelings for you, dude…so yeah…um…just…you know…figure it out and shit…bye.” Running away quickly after this, Mackenzie was already out of the dormitory, supposedly heading off to the dining hall for breakfast.

Travis began to follow him, but he paused and clapped Gavin on the shoulder. “Good luck to you, bruh,” he said gently as he smiled at Gavin and then disappeared out of the dormitory as well.

“Time to get moving,” Gavin whispered to himself when he saw the last of his classmates spilling out of the shower room, getting ready to start the day.

As much as he himself didn’t want to attend Nines’ classes, he figured he still had a shot at talking to the android about the possibility he was struggling with his homosexuality like he originally wanted to.

It was a good enough plan…as long as Nines allowed it to happen, that is…

He couldn’t believe that in spite of it all, he still wanted to help such a strange, unstable creature…

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin purposefully sat right beside Andrew, Patrick, and Mackenzie during breakfast, and the boys all sandwiched him relatively well until Greg showed up. The Irish boy frowned in confusion when he saw how closely and tightly Mackenzie and Andrew were seated next to Gavin. With a red face, Greg sauntered up to the table they were all seated at, and he sat himself right before Gavin.

Nodding at the other boy, he greeted him semi-happily, “Good morning, Gavin.”

Gavin felt himself blushing. No words of ‘mate’? This was unlike Greg, and it gave credence to the fact that Greg had indeed been planning on reserving time and privacy for himself and Gavin. While it didn’t terrify or trouble Gavin knowing that information, he didn’t like being put on the spot and not knowing what to do when he already had worries and doubts about Nines and his own preferences. He didn’t need more of ‘drama’…

As Greg settled down in his seat, Gavin had been staring over at the head table at the front of the dining hall. He’d been so preoccupied with trying to locate Nines, that he missed Greg holding out an item carefully wrapped up in a cloth. Only when Mackenzie shook him did he realize something was going on right under his nose.

Turning around in embarrassment, Gavin offered Greg a weak smile, but the other boy was already unwrapping the item within the cloth. It was green and white checkered, and his cheeks turned pink as he cleared his throat. “Gavin,” he began shyly, “I hope you’ll like this; I asked Connor for it when he visited earlier this morning when you were sleeping…”

Frowning, Gavin asked, “Who’s Connor?”

While pushing the item closer towards Gavin, Greg smiled as he explained. “Connor’s another android who works as a farmer, gardener, dock worker, fish cleaner, and sometimes bakes fresh bread and pastry for us!”

“Yeah!” Travis chimed in merrily, “he’s pretty chill, and sometimes when he visits, we ask him to bring us cool stuff from the village!”

So it seemed as if Connor was a friend?

He would have to keep that in mind and arrange a visit, perhaps.

But for now, he wanted to both eat the little blueberry muffin Greg had wrapped up for him in the cloth, and he also wanted to throw it into the trash. He wasn’t queer!! Why was Greg treating him so nicely, like a prize or a gift to be won over??

Knowing he had to reject the other boy quickly, Gavin blushed as he held the muffin in his hands, wrapping the cloth around it again. “Thanks Greg,” he hurriedly shoved out, hearing the first bell chiming, signaling classes about to begin.

They all stood up, running out of the dining hall, each student eager to arrive to their class on time. A hundred pairs of feet stomped and stormed about, and as Gavin and his friends wove their way down the long hallway towards Brother Nines’ classroom, Gavin felt a tap on his shoulder.

Spinning around, he offered Greg a polite, friendly smile once the other boy caught up to him.

“Hey Gavin!” he cried out a little breathlessly, “can I walk you to class from now on?”

“Err…sure, Greg,” Gavin decided quickly, “I guess it’s fine…”

They’d barely taken a few steps until a dark, strong force brushed past them both, shoving Gavin and Greg aside.

“Hey!” Greg snapped in anger, but then silenced himself once he saw Brother Nines sneering down at him.

Without another word, the android breezed by them, standing before his closed and locked classroom door.

“Geez!” Greg snorted as he shook his head at Nines, “what’s up his arse?”

Wincing, Gavin whispered, “I don’t think I want to know…”

Lining up behind the rest of his classmates, Gavin waited for Nines to unlock and open the door. When he did, he pointed inside the classroom as he turned on the lights. Once the students had all entered the classroom, a few of them froze as they stared right ahead at the front of the classroom in awe.

And Gavin could see why.

“What’s with all the books?” Patrick asked the million dollar question every other student held in their mind as well.

The classroom had been freshly organized; the desks fashioned back in their regular, orderly position at the start of the term. Still, that didn’t take away from the glaringly obvious fact that something intense and serious had been planned.

Mountains and piles of textbooks sat waiting at the front of the room upon Brother Nines’ desk. There were so many of them that they looked so menacing and foreboding. Many students whispered back and forth that there was a chance that they were required to read all the books, write book reports on them, or just carry them around as punishment.

The entire prospect of all of the above happening frightened Gavin, but he sealed his own mouth shut while he sat down on his chair behind his assigned desk. Unfortunately, the sense of trouble and malice that had already weaved its way around in the stale air of the room grew thicker and heavier with each step Brother Nines took as he walked and paced back and forth in front of his own teacher’s desk.

He seemed to have something on his mind, at the very least. Brother Nines’ brow was clenched and furrowed tightly, though his LED light remained soft blue. Still, his eyes were troubled? Conflicted? Pained? Gavin couldn’t tell due to how cold and blank the rest of the android’s face happened to be, but it wasn’t too long before his lips curled downwards in a moue of pain and turmoil.

What was happening?

Everyone in the classroom remained silent, as though perhaps guessing and wondering the very same thing Gavin happened to be. Something was terribly off about Brother Nines’ behavior displayed, and everyone seemed to sense it, even the younger students.

It soon became clear that as he was pacing back and forth, Brother Nines was muttering and rambling softly to himself. As the android was looking and sounding even more unstable and crazy, now, Gavin exchanged confused glances with his friends as they all shifted about the room uncomfortably the longer they all studied and observed Nines.

Still pacing, the android mumbled out odd sentences and words such as: ‘no innocence in the world’, ‘weakness’, ‘maddening’, ‘they’ve failed me’…

None of it made any sense at all, and yet, no one dared to even ask him what he was referring to. How could they?

Finally snapping out of his reverie, Nines straightened his posture out, and he peered around the room until his cold eyes finally landed on Gavin’s form.

“Mr. Reed, come here,” Nines beckoned with an index finger, and everyone remained purely silent until Gavin pushed his chair back and stood to his feet weakly. He hated that everyone was staring, but he truly couldn’t blame them; this was a very odd, random situation, and there was no telling-with how unpredictable Nines was at times-what was going to happen.

Gavin walked towards Nines, holding anticipation and fear in his eyes while he saw the huge heap of books behind the android. Nines wasn’t expecting them to read all these books, was he? Some of them were so old and outdated, and couldn’t have been related to their courses!! It was impossible!

“In the olden days,” Brother Nines explained softly, grabbing a few books and holding them out before Gavin, “feats of strength and masculinity were measured through torture, and vice versa, I might add…”

Knowing what Nines was planning on doing, Gavin whispered out, “Don’t…”

There was no mercy in those cold blue eyes. “Assume the position of a push up, Mr. Reed,” Nines hissed thinly at him, “and try not to move or break down; this is indeed a test of your strength and perseverance.”

Pushing him down into the stance he wanted, Nines stacked the first three thick textbooks over Gavin’s back while the boy propped himself as best as he could flatly on his palms. The floor felt so cold and the eyes of his classmates on his body felt so hot in a contrast. He shivered as the books were laid out on his back, and he could’ve sworn he heard Andrew and Patrick hissing out expletives the more Nines piled the books up.

The first few books were easily manageable, but Brother Nines obviously wanted to drain him of all his energy. Even without having to glance up to check, Gavin knew Nines was rejoicing in making a fool out of him and making him out to be so weak and small in front of the others. How like the sick, twisted, cruel android to do such a thing, but Gavin truly didn’t expect any less from Nines.

He saw those black dress shoes constantly moving back and forth between the desk where the mountains of books were resting, and then over right before his own face, practically. The weight kept increasing steadily, and Gavin truly began to feel himself sweating under pressure, now.

It seemed as if everyone in the room had been holding their breath, and even Gavin found he was unable to breathe as Nines continued to load up the books onto his back, over and over.

“Where’s your courage?” he eventually questioned in a pained voice while pacing back and forth, “where’s your sense of honor?” sighing, he growled to himself, “why do I even bother…”

Nines piled the books over Gavin’s back while the boy continuously held himself stretched out in the held posture of a push-up. He didn’t move, and Nines continued to pile the heavy textbooks flatly onto his back. One, two, three, four, five, Gavin lost count after seventeen. Nines refused to stop, however; he kept stacking the books up higher and higher, building a little tower that almost reached up to measure as high as his desk was.

Gavin let out a groan finally after another book had been added to the growing pile. That was when in a fit of rage, Greg cried out, “That’s enough!!!”

Ignoring him, Brother Nines held up a finger as he pressed out, “Gavin Reed is an intrepid spirit! He has real mettle in his soul!” reaching down again, he placed one more book down over Gavin’s back, and the boy grunted in pain. It felt as if his spine was going to snap in half, and he held back tears as he rested all his weight on his fingers, palms, and knuckles. They were turning red and white constantly from the insane amount of pressure, but there was nothing he could do. Nines would have to stop this eventually, and until he did, Gavin knew he was stuck. He knew he had the option of just breaking out of the position, technically, but he didn’t want the heavy, thick textbooks all slamming down over his skull. It was likely that he’d end up with a concussion, otherwise!

Staring up pleadingly at Nines, he whimpered, and Nines held a hand against his forehead. His eyes were clenched shut tightly in pain, and he couldn’t even look at Gavin. This hurt the boy greatly, as he felt he needed Nines more than ever, now. Where was that support when he truly needed it??

He was abandoned…his family had abandoned him earlier, and now in this foreign land, so had Nines.

He broke.

Fingers and hands giving away, Gavin suddenly felt his elbows locking up, and then caving in abruptly. It was all too much shock for his body to handle, and he finally imploded under the pressure. His chest crashed directly onto the classroom floor first, and he knew at least fifty books had collided and smashed down on top of him as a result. Like a chain of dominoes, they all knocked into each other, and they practically buried him in a painful mountain as he turned his head to the side to avoid having his nose smashed and broken against the floor. He was in too much pain, and his brain could hardly register it all to his nervous system going on sensory overload. He just fell, and he couldn’t move for almost two minutes while his classmates cried and screamed out in panic.

“Brother Nines! Do something!” Patrick cried out fearfully, and Greg began cursing and swearing. Numerous times, the boy tried making his way over towards Gavin, but Nines stopped him and got in his way each and every time.

“He’ll pop up like a cork in a minute,” Nines growled, and it kept the students as far away from Gavin as possible.

Groaning in pain, Gavin shoved the books aside, and he rolled over onto his back. When his classmates saw him moving, they all sighed out in relief, but then glared at Brother Nines.

Gavin knew he was in severe pain, and he could only hold back burning hot tears as Nines’ black dress shoes approached him steadily. Everything inside him even hurt; Nines’ footsteps sounded like thunder booming across the lands, or a giant walking about.

Books were pushed aside, and Gavin saw a long arm dart out before him.

“Imagine having what Gavin has; the gift!” Nines rambled on, sounding more insane than rational. He wrapped a hand around Gavin’s forearm and tugged him to his feet in one powerful motion. It made Gavin’s head swim.

“How insipid, treacherous, and horrible this dull, aching existence must be for him and those like him!” Long arms stretched downwards like ropes, and Gavin only clung to Nines’ arms desperately. He wanted to stand up immediately, as he felt all the blood pooling beneath his skin dive and flow into his stomach. Dearly hoping his internal organs weren’t badly damaged, he breathed in and out while placing a hand over his rib cage.

Nothing broken, he supposed. Not that it was a huge relief…

Swaying onto his feet Gavin coughed and tried brushing himself off. His body really hurt, but he didn’t want to complain and appear weak in front of everyone. He felt the strong grip of a hand on his chin, and he growled, and then coughed as he shoved Nines’ hand away from his chin.

The android crossed his arms over his chest, and he sneered at Gavin. “It appears that you still lack a great deal of strength, Mr. Reed,” his eyes grew cold and cruel, and it was no match for the evil smile that followed, “what’s to be done about that, I wonder?”

Adjusting his clothes, Gavin only glared at him, and he found that majority of his classmates were also scowling heatedly and angrily at Nines for the entire lesson.

Not that Brother Nines cared or noticed.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin didn’t even bother eating his lunch in the school dining hall. Instead, he obtained permission from Brother Markus to go outside with his meal, and he had never been happier. He sat alone under a tree he had made his favorite the moment he arrived beneath it once free from the insanity and pressure inside the school. The canopy beneath the tree’s thick leaves and heavy branches was a wonderfully shady cover, hiding anyone who chose to take refuge under it from the rest of the world. It was as if no one could judge him or hurt him under the protection of the tree. It was a magnificently tall tree, bearing a few small pears which all were usually eaten by animals before they even took full bloom. Not that Gavin minded; he often would chance upon the odd squirrel or two up in the branches above him, chattering to one another as they held a yellow or green pear in their little clawed paws, chewing it and turning it over and over in their firm grip, as if it were the most precious and desired thing in the world to them.

As long as he didn’t disturb them, they didn’t disturb him. They would sometimes peer down at him, as if questioning whether or not he would take their source of food, but Gavin would only offer them a piece of his lunch, which today consisted of left-over walnuts or almonds he didn’t favor eating. After the first twenty or so minutes of sitting as rock still as he could, Gavin had earned the trust and the friendship of a few grey squirrels. They never came too close to him, but they would joyously accept his offering of food, and remain a few branches above him at best when they’d collected their portions.

It was still a better friendship than he had had with most other students. At least the squirrels never hurt him, called him names, or judged him and excluded him from their social circle. Gavin had to admit that he felt oddly at ease with the squirrels.

Today he offered a few almonds to the squirrels, leaving them at the bottom of the tree trunk, wanting to test whether or not they would venture closer to him today. After all, it had been a little over a year since he’d last seen his cats, and right now, Gavin desperately needed the closeness. He was willing to take it all.

He waited patiently for a few minutes, but the gentle wind was his only companion. He peered up at the tree, but the thick branches and leaves were the only things he could see. He didn't hear any movement either, and he felt his heart sink a little.

Wondering if he was truly all alone, he peered up at the towering, massive tree, and the muffled footsteps approaching didn’t register to his ears. Gavin only knew he’d been accompanied by another when he felt someone shifting, and then a sigh met his ears.

“I figured you wanted some time alone,” came the gentle, sweet Irish accent as Greg smiled across the field, “but I just can’t seem to stay away from you.”

Feeling a twisting, nauseating sensation coiling in the pit of his belly, Gavin peeked over at Greg and winced. The sun was steadily rising, and it highlighted every feature the other boy had markedly. In the flickering, warm glow, Greg’s eyes danced, and his eyelashes even seemed to miraculously take flight anytime he blinked. The shadows of the clouds passing by above played havoc in the dips and hollows of his youthful face. Seeing it all suddenly hit him in the chest like a nail embedding itself in wood, and Gavin blinked slowly, caught up in the effect.

Something in the back of his mind told him that he was a lot better off staying closer to his friends, and possibly seeking whatever it was he’d been meaning to seek out from Nines with this young man seated next to him instead. Greg was the better choice; he was calm, gentle, funny, endearing, brave, and he seemed to hold more respect for him.

But why did he want the boy as far away from himself as humanly possible?

Battling with himself internally, Gavin glanced around the open field, eyeing the school looming like a dot in the distance. They’d clearly done well to isolate themselves, it seemed.

“I hope I didn’t make things more awkward for you,” Greg continued when the silence had stretched out between them for too long, “I just wanted to make my feelings clear.” Somewhere, in the midst of pondering and thinking, Gavin was certain he felt Greg’s body flush against his own. He knew he could’ve moved aside from the other boy, but he didn’t want to. Besides, Greg was warm. Warm and nice, both in presence and company. It was all a nice reprieve from…

No…

Clicking his tongue against his teeth, Greg allowed a hand to ruffle up his own hair. “Gavin, I don’t like what Brother Nines did to you today,” he pointed out with a stern, serious expression on his face, and it suddenly made him appear older and more mature.

Shivering as he himself recalled it immediately, Gavin repressed it all. “Don’t worry about it, please; I think Brother Nines was just trying to teach us to be strong!”

It had been nothing short of a blatantly obvious lie, and a piss-poor pathetic excuse a child would employ to cover up a wrong-doing. It had no place for the conversation currently taking place, and Greg’s green eyes seemed to turn a darker shade immediately.

Pressing a hand over Gavin’s forehead, the boy snorted, “Are you sure you’re feeling okay, Gavin? I mean, a book didn’t hit you in the head, did it??”

Pushing Greg’s hand away gently, Gavin shook his head. “I’m fine, Greg,” he smiled, trying to prove it to the other male, but he wasn’t believing Gavin that easily.

Stubbornly, Greg shook his head in return, blinking angrily as his face flushed pink, and his jaw tightened. “Don’t make excuses for the bastard, don’t you dare ever do that!!”

Gavin didn’t want to argue. It wasn’t because he didn’t enjoy a good argument, and it wasn’t because he still had yet to completely finish his ham and bacon sandwich; it was mostly due to exhaustion. He never knew just how exhausted he’d been until he merely shrugged nonchalantly, a very noncommittal gesture on his part that even seemed to be so out of character for Greg to handle.

The younger teen pressed a hand over Gavin’s, and the surprised male peeked down at it. Though Greg was younger than he was, his build was bigger, and he was already a few inches taller than Gavin. Seeing how their hands and even skin color differed, Gavin felt a tiny smile tugging at his lips. It wasn’t long before the contagious thing encompassed his entire face.

When he moved to crane his neck up so he could see Greg better, he found that the other boy was already slightly leaning into him for what likely seemed all too natural for him.

Greg’s eyelids were fluttering shut slowly, and Gavin felt pulled emotionally and psychologically towards the other male. Greg’s thumb swiped along the seam of Gavin’s lips, and he stared down at the rosy color of Gavin’s plump lips. “When I look at you, I see a guy who deserves to be treated well,” Greg’s hushed whisper tickled its way along Gavin’s cheeks and chin, and the other boy shuddered from the sensation.

They were leaning towards one another, closer and closer, and time seemed to slow down…

Before their lips could make contact, a rough hand intervened, weaving and winding its way down and around the back of Gavin’s shirt collar. The shocked boy cried out in fear and panic, and his eyes blew wide open as he whipped his neck about to peer up at the intruder and disturber of the peace.

Only a pained wheeze escaped from Gavin when he found himself looking up into the angry eyes of Brother Nines.

Chapter Text

Brother Nines was seething, but he still managed to keep a tiny smirk on his face. His lips twitched, as did his eyes, though his LED light remained a calm blue that was nearly as unsettling and frighteningly cold as his own two eyes always were. He was staring down at Gavin heatedly with a hateful gaze, and he then was quick to bestow much of the same spiteful look towards Greg.

A small breeze blew by before Brother Nines even so much as moved. It was the essence of fear itself to see him just standing there next to the thick tree simply gazing down at them, but it was all he did for almost two minutes before he flashed a white, wide smile at them both. Sunlight bounced off his pearly white teeth, and Gavin almost saw his own facial expression in the whiteness and cleanliness of the android’s perfect teeth. Shivering, he instinctively moved back against his only heat source and form of comfort, and he pressed himself right beside Greg.

That had been the motivating factor for getting Nines to snap out of whatever the hell dreamland he’d been in, and he blinked once before his face settled into a more neutral expression. “Mr. Reed, Mr. Jefferson,” he ground out their last names with a tiny grin still upon his young face, “fraternizing so openly already, are we? Tsk tsk,” he shook his head in disdain, “it seems that not even the wrath of God can prevent you two from pursuing adventures in sins of the flesh…”

Gavin glared at Nines, and he rose to his own feet quickly. “We were just talking!” he cried out, eager to defend his friend, and he felt Greg standing up as well hurriedly.

“As I understand the very definition of the word, it has yet to include being within such close proximity of another person that your lips are seeking one another out…” Nines laughed softly, and he turned away from them for half a second before extending a long arm out. It was pointed in the direction of the school, and without even saying much, both Gavin and Greg knew what was going to happen next.

“Head back inside,” Nines instructed in a deep purr, “and I’m assigning you both detention for a week.”

Greg’s eyes were as wide as small tennis balls, and his fear was no match for Gavin’s. Both teenagers gasped, but they couldn’t argue quickly enough with the threat of the punishment weighing heavily like a dark curtain over a bright window.

Nines was already moving, and he stood before them like a huge army general ready to dish out commands to his soldiers and underlings. Silently glaring at them both, it was enough to get their feet moving, and both young men walked towards the school in a heavy and shameful amount of silence. The world was moving too slowly, and the colors of the natural beauties around Gavin seemed so grey, dull, and lifeless, now. His day truly had been ruined, now, and he didn’t feel he was being dramatic at all about it while he dragged his feet. Every step he took felt like a walk along the gallows, and he glanced every once in a while over at Greg, just to see how the other boy was fairing.

Not much better than himself, so it seemed. Greg’s face was deep red, and his eyes were beyond sad. Feeling nothing short of guilt, Gavin knew how much he’d contributed to this happening, but there wasn’t much he could offer his friend in the way of comfort. Brother Nines was hanging too closely behind them, and he would no doubt see and hear everything if Gavin chose to offer a kind word or two to Greg.

Damn him.

They reached the back doors of the school in no time, and when Greg walked in first, Gavin found himself following in the other boy’s footsteps, only to be halted when Nines gripped his shoulder firmly and tightly. Stopping in his tracks, Gavin half-hiccupped and half-gasped out in shock, which made Greg spin around and glare up at Nines.

Only a smile greeted Gavin and Greg in response. “Mr. Jefferson,” Nines pleasantly hummed out, no doubt so very proud of himself at this moment in time, “you will head to Brother Simon’s office, now, as you’ll be carrying out your detention with him, am I clear?”

Greg barely grumbled out, “Yes.”

That wasn’t enough for the arrogance of Brother Nines, apparently.

“Yes, what?” Nines snickered cruelly, no doubt enjoying how much power and dominance were in his hands over the two young boys before himself.

Shifting his weight between his long legs, Greg practically whined out, “Yes, Brother Nines.”

“Good,” gripping Gavin tighter, Nines hissed into his ear, “and you’ll be serving your detention with me, Mr. Reed.”

Gavin knew that had already been determined, but actually hearing it announced by Nines added more onto the already-growing amounts of copious terror rising like bile in his stomach. He felt his throat constricting, his eyes watered, and he tossed a pleading look at Greg. The other boy returned it, but then moved along down the halls when Brother Nines simply pointed straight ahead of himself.

In no time, Greg had disappeared, and Gavin refused to look at up at Nines.

He didn’t have to; he already knew they were heading down the hall in the opposite direction. Not a single soul was present in the large, looming hallways, and before Gavin could call out for help, he felt Brother Nines pulling away from him momentarily.

Freezing in his steps, Gavin wanted to turn around, but something in his gut warned him not to…don’t look…

“I apologize for this, Mr. Reed,” was all that came at his back, and this time, Gavin ignored his instincts, and he turned around swiftly.

He was met with nothing but darkness.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin knew he’d been blindfolded almost immediately after it’d happened. He had no idea where and how Brother Nines had obtained the blindfold from, but there the warm, soft cloth currently sat about his head, carefully and effectively shielding his eyes from any light source. The android had then dragged him down the halls, and Gavin had to rely on only him to make it through. He was nothing but blind, now, and he hoped Brother Nines wasn’t going to bash him face-first into a wall cruelly. Thankfully, that appeared to be the furthest thing from the android’s mind, but Gavin wobbled on shaky feet when he felt them descending a long staircase.

Surely they wouldn’t be heading into another area of the school no one else frequented, would they???

After a moment or two of heading down the stairs in his sorry, blinded state, Gavin knew that Brother Nines wasn’t going to be foolish enough to do whatever he wanted to him right there in the clear view of the main level of the school. No, what they were likely going to be engaged in required the utmost amount of privacy, and for that, Gavin was certain would occur in the basement level.

A door squeaked open, and his ears then caught sounds of the shuffling of heavy furniture. Nines moved whatever was in the room about, and Gavin could do nothing aside from waiting like a useless object. The ground felt way too thick and heavy beneath his feet, and for the longest time as he drowned out the sounds of items being moved about, he prayed and wished for a horrible earthquake. If such a disaster occurred, then maybe, maybe the floor would open up, swallow him whole, and he’d be out of this mess.

Maybe…

When Nines was ‘ready’ for him again, he grabbed Gavin firmly, and the teenager felt his arms being pushed up over his head.

What…

Something rustled, and as Gavin stood frozen to try and make out what it could’ve been, he felt his hands and wrists slamming together as something thick and strong wrapped itself around the softness of his wrists.

His mind screamed out what it happened to be immediately.

Rope.

He was being tied up with rope.

He’d already been blindfolded, but now he’d been bound by Nines to one of the pillars of the room. Gavin knew it was a pillar when he smashed his chest and chin into it. Nines had shoved him roughly into the solid material, causing the teenager to whimper and moan as dull, throbbing pain dripped across his body.

“What’re you doing??” Gavin cried out, feeling tears welling up in his eyes as he struggled against the thick rope. Of course it wouldn’t come away easily, but his mind foolishly tricked him into thinking he had the slightest chance anyway.

The knot around the pillar tightened drastically, and Nines spat out icily, “This is what happens to filthy whores, Gavin,” he followed the harsh words up with a deep chuckle, “you want to be a slut? Very well, I’ll make you my slut.”

“I’m not a slut!” Gavin cried out, fighting against his bindings to no avail. It truly hurt and cut bitingly into his skin, but his hot anger overpowered any sensation of pain he currently felt. Why was he being accused of something so horrible anyway?!?!

A firm hand in the center of his back held him in place. “You can only drag yourself along by the rope,” Nines growled out closely behind him somewhere, “pain and anguish are all the same; no matter if the man struggles until he’s bleeding, bound at his wrists or nailed by his hands and feet to the cross…”

Growling away like a feral animal trapped in a net, the teenager struggled and grunted, trying to rip away from the binds and the pillar.

Hands roamed all over his body as Nines whispered, “Keep this up, and I will have to knock you out soon.”

Gavin gasped, “You’re always th-threatening me!!”

Chuckling Nines wove his arms and hands over the teenager’s lithe body, and Gavin soon felt the buttons of his uniform shirt popping open slowly. “I’m doing this for your own sake, silly fool; if you keep it up, you will dislocate or rip your own arms off.”

He knew this was true, yet he struggled back. “I don’t care!” Gavin screamed out, and while his uniform shirt completely opened up, he felt a few strong fingertips resting along his nipples.

“This is our little secret, Gavin; you tell anyone else about this and I’ll rip your jaw off.”

The old threat slammed back into him like a wrecking ball, and Gavin froze up with he felt himself being divested of the rest of his clothes. Nines worked his fingers around Gavin’s buckle and pants, and in no time, Gavin felt his legs being lifted out of them. His underwear was gone next, the final result of everything removed until bare skin met the open air.

Unable to comprehend what had happened as quickly as it had, Gavin hardly noticed Nines’ hands weaving their way down the small of his back. They did, however. Nines ran his index finger along Gavin’s split in the middle that divided his supple, pert cheeks.

Instinctively, Gavin shivered, and his head hung low, and his skin involuntarily rose up in little bumps while the few body hairs he had stood on edge. “You c-can’t…”

A resounding ‘slap’ was delivered to his backside then, in perhaps a light warning.

“You seem to forget that I am the one in charge here,” Nines reminded him while Gavin practically felt the android’s eyes searing into his naked flesh. “I have power over you, Gavin…”

He did…oh God, he did, and there was nothing Gavin could do about it.

“Nines…” he begged in a pathetic moan, gripping the pillar tightly, but Nines only disentangled his fingers from the wood, and instead intertwined his own fingers with Gavin’s. Growling deeply in the back of his throat, he gripped the teenager’s neck in a large hand.

Nines growled again when he felt how pliant and small Gavin felt in the palm of his huge hand. For a split second, he squeezed the boy’s neck, but then in a small move of an apology, he lightly licked the back of Gavin’s neck right in the center, and his tongue soon darted out to taste the clean-yet slightly sweaty-flesh. He moved his way down to lick along the center of Gavin’s back, while Gavin was left in a heady state of whines and moans.

The teenager hated that his damn body responded in kind to the attention he was receiving, but to deny it would’ve been foolish. Nines was touching and licking him in ways no other girl had ever done for him, and a portion of that young, naive side of himself anticipated much more of that sensation over and over again. He was careful not to make too much noise, however; he didn’t want to let Nines know he was in some way enjoying this.

Nines stopped at the small of Gavin’s back, right before his pert, shapely ass cheeks, and he playfully licked down to the bottom of the supple cheeks, causing Gavin to squeal and rear up.

“Nines! What!? What’re you—”

“I don’t believe this part requires a lot of chatter, Gavin.” Nines sucked and licked his way side-to-side along the youthful body standing before him, admiring the supple pink flesh. Almost at the point of losing control, he playfully-but very carefully sunk his teeth into the right cheek, before licking his way around the slight teeth marks in Gavin’s flesh.

Gavin cried out impossibly loudly, “You’ll leave m-marks!!!”

“That’s the idea, you brainless brat.” Nines only grew more addicted to hearing those needy moans and whines, and he wanted more to last them through this. It was about drawing out the pain and pleasure, and he knew the teenager already had a taste for it when they’d been together in the staff washroom before.

Grinning down at the blindfolded boy, Nines ground out cruelly, “Lean your body back into my touch like the wanton bitch you are.”

Eerily, Gavin obeyed him. His body wasn’t his own anymore; he was Nines’ puppet, only to be used for drawing out pleasure. This troubled and greatly disturbed him, but he couldn’t fight it; not when Nines’ touch was both hot and cold at the same time. It felt as though a hundred pins and needles had been inserted into his skin whenever those fingertips dipped into his flesh and muscles, and yet he found himself putting up with it, and wanting more…

Groaning as he arched his lower body backwards, Gavin felt himself turning into a puddle of sweaty, heated, and messy incoherent nonsense. He had no idea what he was even doing, but he relaxed his body and his hold around the pillar as Nines rested his large hands on his ass.

Carefully, he tenderly parted the cheeks in both hands, and leaned forward to lick the center of Gavin’s body-so open and fresh before him.

Upon feeling that hot, slippery tongue on the most private area of his body, Gavin lost it, and he bit down hard on his lower lip when he felt Nines’ lips and his breath from his mouth hitting his center warmly. He felt himself clenching and then opening up lewdly from the attention he was receiving, and he bashed his forehead lightly into the strong pillar in shame and mortification.

Nines, encouraged by this, teasingly drew out his long tongue, and flickered it once over Gavin’s hole, sampling a taste of what his student had to offer.

Gavin’s toes curled at this, and he suddenly slammed his hips down roughly against the pillar. It hurt like hell, and his hips felt bruised already, but it was the only form of relief he could seek out while Nines’ long tongue worked his hole.

Knowing he had made a right move based on the teen’s reaction, Nines dipped his head forward again, gently stroking and holding onto the back of Gavin’s thighs. He licked a few lazy circles, tracing and outlining Gavin’s greedy little hole before dipping his tongue once in for a few seconds, eager to tease out Gavin’s pleasure.

“Niiinesl!” Gavin cried, moving back and pressing his ass against Nines’ cheekbones. He hated that he’d yelled for the very person he was growing to really despise more than anything. That, to him, already meant that Nines was winning. Gavin was weak, and he bit down hard on his tongue before he could cry out the android’s infernal name ever again. He felt that death was a far better option than succumbing to this madness.

While pressing a warm hand gently on the center of Gavin’s back, Nines began rubbing Gavin in slow, deliberate movements before easing his way over to Gavin’s front, massaging his abdomen briefly before resuming his licks and strokes with his tongue.

Never in a million years would Gavin picture himself being tasted and eaten out by another man, and if years ago someone had brought up the idea even as a joke or insult, Gavin would have decked them hard across the jaw twice before they could have realized what the fuck had gone on. But now, something in the pit of Gavin’s stomach felt that this was the single most amazing experience in his entire life.

Engaging in a silent battle within himself that this and much more that had already occurred was still so damn plain wrong, Gavin screamed when he felt Nines dipping his thick tongue inside his body as his hand began stoking Gavin’s hard cock slowly but firmly.

Gavin felt himself rapidly tightening in his Nines’ hand. The son of a bitch knew exactly what kind of an effect this would have, and Gavin knew the android had been doing everything on purpose. This was all a part of his plan to make him crumble and fall.

The moist ring of muscle his tongue had barely penetrated fit perfectly around the tip of his tongue, and Nines automatically pressed inwards slowly, feeling the tightness clench around his tongue.

Gavin tugged and clawed at the pillar, wrapping and digging his fingernails around the length and width of it as his head, his hips, and ass involuntarily snapped back and forth against Nines’ hand. It soon became clear that he was unable to even control himself there, and he only then had to move back against Nines’ tongue as it dipped in and out of his wet hole, making small but obscenely provocative noises that rendered Gavin both embarrassed, but incredibly aroused as he listened.

Nines began increasing the pace of his strokes, his hand slipping a few times to play with Gavin’s balls not entirely unintentionally as Gavin began moving faster and faster and growing more uncoordinated with his motions.

The noises escaping from Gavin and the steady ‘thud’ of his body as it hit the pillar of the room in time with Gavin’s movements and moans were enough to delight and please Nines greatly. The android appreciated that he was able to feel that Gavin would soon lose all semblances of his control and explode in a mess of screams and cries.

He pressed open mouth kisses to Gavin’s impossibly wet hole, stroking his student faster and harder. Gavin’s moans and cries of discomfort would be both the death of Nines, and also his own source of magnificent sexual pleasure. Nines’ tongue traced its way up and down Gavin’s perineum, and with his free hand, he pressed his index finger flatly down over Gavin’s hole once.

That was all it took.

Gavin suddenly threw his head back and cried out thickly and loudly before coating Nines’ hand and the top of his own thighs in his release. Sticky, wet, hot, cold, embarrassed, angry, sad, and elated, he couldn’t keep up with all the emotions pouring out of him at the same time he’d sprayed all over the pillar and his legs. He was still dripping with his own essence, and his knees trembled like elastic bands trying to hold up a house.

Of course it came crumbling and tumbling down, as did Gavin.

Nines didn’t even bother catching him.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

“Here,” Nines growled as he forcefully shoved what appeared to be a cigarette right beneath Gavin’s nose.

Shortly after his painfully explosive orgasm, the teenager had fallen to the floor, and Nines untied him from the pillar. After he’d removed the blindfold from around Gavin’s eyes, the boy had to blink many times before his eyes adjusted to the dim lights in the small room they’d been hidden away in.

It appeared as though they were indeed in a basement or cellar room of sorts. This room had a few shelves bearing old books, spice jars, Christmas decorations, as well as old statues that had collected so much dust it made them appear grey and filthy to touch. The walls were painted an off-yellow color, and it was a terrible choice and hard on the eyes. Gavin peered down at the old, dusty floorboards, massaging his wrists tenderly now that they were free.

Glaring up at Nines, he then sneered at the offered cigarette. “The sex wasn’t that fuckin’ good; no need for a joint, now.” Of course, he knew he was lying, but it wasn’t like Nines would know for certain.

“Just shut your fucking mouth and accept a gift when it’s offered to you,” Nines spat back, practically forcing the cigarette in between Gavin’s lips.

Grunting, the teenager had no choice to accept it. “Fine,” he hissed, “but only if you smoke one yourself.” He’d only suggested this as a joke because he’d seen that Nines held two cigarettes. Not wanting to smoke both at once, Gavin nodded at the second cigarette, “That’s yours, right?”

Nines merely shrugged as he stared down at the other cigarette he was currently holding on to. “It can be,” he mumbled, “although I don’t frequently engage in this sort of activity.”

Moving to rest his back against the cold, hard wood of the pillar he’d been previously tied to, Gavin felt his opening still burning and throbbing. He was terrifyingly wet down there between his cheeks, and he didn’t want to move in case Nines somehow felt it, sensed it, saw it, whatever.

He could’ve sworn he also still felt the invading tongue lapping at his opening, and he clamped his thighs together tightly in response to that odd, phantom feeling. He waited until Nines lit a match he’d taken from an old matchbox hanging by one of the old statues of Jesus Christ, and then the android lit up both cigarettes. Gavin leaned back, holding his cigarette loosely, watching carefully as Nines slid his own cigarette between his lips. His teeth were grazing the length of it gently, and he huffed the smoke out in a thick cloud.

“What do you want?” came the rude question, presumably asked because Gavin had been staring for too long.

Shrugging, Gavin averted his gaze and instead glared away at his own cigarette. “Nothing…just wonderin’ how you can smoke.”

Another heavy cloud of tobacco blew above his head before Nines gruffly spoke out. “It’s not in the same way humans do it,” he explained lazily, eyes rolling up towards the ceiling, “I don’t have lungs, you see, but I do have the ability to pump oxygen and such in and out through another mechanism built within me.”

It sounded rather creepy, and Gavin had to check it all out for himself. Studying Nines intently, he watched as the android ‘inhaled’, but his nostrils and throat didn’t budge at all in the process. After merely a second, he ‘exhaled’, expelling the foul-smelling smoke high into the air. “See?” Nines chuckled, “magical, isn’t it?”

Rolling his eyes at the tall android who was being far too sarcastic for his own tastes, Gavin slowly crept towards his underwear and clothing discarded unceremoniously to the side. He felt Nines’ eyes on his body the entire time, and it made him feel dirty. Suddenly ashamed of his state of undress, Gavin gave up on smoking his cigarette, putting it out and shoving it into one of his pants pockets. Rather than enjoying it, he instead took to hiding behind the wooden pillar in the old room, trying to take cover so he could change.

Nines snorted derisively at him for it. “Now you’re coy and shy? Should’ve thought of that before practically asking and begging for that Irish lad to fuck you.”

Gavin glared heatedly at him, “What’s your fuckin’ problem all of a sudden?!”

“I have no problem.”

“Yeah you do!” the teenager snapped, shimmying into his underwear and uniform pants quickly, swaying and shaking off-balance in the process. “You’re cussing a lot lately, and I swear, you’re probably just jealous!!”

Words that shouldn’t have been spoken had already left his mouth and lips. Gavin slammed a hand down over his mouth when he saw the dangerous look shining brightly in Nines’ eyes, but the android merely scoffed. A smile soon followed, and it appeared as if Nines had been able shrug off the accusation as easily as throwing dirt off his shoulder.

Grinning lightly over at Gavin, he hissed, “Jealous?? Is that what you really think is going on here?”

He’d been meaning to insult Gavin just by his snippy tone by itself, and it worked. Feeling absolutely vitriolic, Gavin sought out revenge immediately. “Greg wants to fuck me, you know.” He could hardly help but add in the self-assured grin upon his face, and Nines only smiled back brightly. Nothing Gavin had said affected him at all, and he continuously beamed in a cheerful, lovely manner at the younger male.

Thinking he’d lost, Gavin’s shoulders sank.

So Nines didn’t care??? It was just that easy for him to use and discard him?

“Fine,” Gavin growled, backing up towards the door, “fuck you too.”

The doorknob barely rattled beneath his grip, when a hand slammed down on the old wood of the door right above Gavin’s head. Not even moved or shocked, Gavin merely glared at Nines’ hand which had rammed itself into the door in an effort to stop him.

Tugging once on the doorknob, Gavin ground out angrily, “I want to leave, now.”

Leaning his weight into the shorter male, Nines purred, “So soon?” he chuckled, “don’t you want to cuddle?” It all came out as a sarcastic slap to the face, and the teenager resented it all immediately as anger boiled within his body.

Spinning around viciously, Gavin shoved Nines as hard as he could in the chest. The android hardly budged from his spot as he smoked his cigarette while his eyes glowed beyond the thick puffs of smoke flying forth at Gavin. If anything, Nines suddenly looked like a dark, menacing, predatory dragon right out of a fairy tale.

Clearing his throat so he could hide how worried and nervous he was, Gavin cried out, “What’s it to you, anyway?? Huh??? You don’t care if I may want to sleep with others!” He winced and cringed internally at how needy, desperate, and clingy he sounded. No doubt like a big, sissy girl…

Drumming his stick-like fingers against the door, Nines slowly collected and composed himself, and he eventually just stood deathly still. His eyes bore into Gavin’s, and the tension was too thick for Gavin to even breathe. If he didn’t know any better, he would’ve assumed that Nines was either thinking on delivering another threat, doling out another punishment, or perhaps he was just trying to wear him down. After all, the android was quite sadistic, to say the least.

Flicking a finger upwards, Nines pushed down on his cigarette, dropping and peppering the ashes down by Gavin’s feet. “I don’t really care about monogamy or loyalty, Gavin,” he eventually sneered through his response, “although, if you’re asking me, you don’t look like the sort who can handle multiple partners easily.”

Why did everything have to be a challenge or a competition with Nines?! Why couldn’t he just have been…happy? No…he never was content!! Though he wasn’t one to back down from an obstacle or challenge, Gavin knew which battles to head into heart-first, and which ones were lost causes. This one happened to be the latter, and he didn’t want to leave things as they were. Choosing instead to try and rely on Nines’ sympathies, he threw the android a troubled look and pouted.

“Look,” he ground out, knowing he likely had a very ridiculous facial expression currently, but that wasn’t important. What was important was how much he trusted his own skills and art of manipulation, and he hoped he was as clever as he attempted to be in order to trick and fool the android as best as he could. Inching closer to Nines, Gavin gently pressed a hand over his thick, strong sternum. “Nines, I just want it to be us…you know?” not waiting for a response, he let out a soft sigh and gave a light smile, “I’m not interested in Greg, or anyone else!!”

It wasn’t entirely a lie, but it wasn’t the truth either. Gavin still didn’t feel he was fully attracted to any man, and he didn’t see Greg as more than a friend. If anything, Greg was a little brother, at the best. But with Nines, he still felt that the android wielded enough power, lust, and some experiences in pleasure, and while he didn’t want that to end anytime soon, it wasn’t all that sexy or fulfilling having Brother Nines insulting him constantly.

Eyeing him with suspicion, the android moved half a step back, his shoes crunching down on the floor like the steady beating of Gavin’s heart. “I see,” was all Nines said for a moment, and then he ran a hand through his hair before straightening his clothes. He then looked down at his cigarette as if it had all the answers in the world for him, and when only smoke and ash rose from it, he sneered coldly. “Well,” he began softly with the faintest of grins playing at his lips, “I suppose we’re married now then?”

Embarrassment hit Gavin like a cold wave of the ocean, and he shoved Nines hard once more in the chest while crying out, “Screw you!!”

Gripping him like a boa constrictor coiling around its prey, Nines’ limbs wove around Gavin, and he spat almost mockingly in his ear, “You already have; multiple times, need I remind you?” Putting out his cigarette, he tossed it over his shoulder carelessly, and instead focused all his attention on Gavin.

Blushing madly, Gavin tried stomping down on the powerful android’s legs, but then Nines pushed him against the door and threw him a serious and intense look. Gavin deadpanned, and he felt his breath hitching in his throat. Nines suddenly seemed so rigid that it neared on angry, but realizing he wasn’t, Gavin softly sighed out in relief.

With a calm, blue LED light, Nines reached forward with a hand, and he almost delicately and gently laid it over Gavin’s forehead…though it didn’t seem to be entirely for comforting purposes. Gavin closed his eyes, wondering what had caused this strange lull and turn of events. Nines seemed…pleasant? Calm? Gentle? He truly didn’t know how to categorize it, but whatever was going on, it was a nice reprieve from their bickering and torments.

Leaning up against Nines, Gavin found himself chasing after that gentle tenderness, but it was unfortunately gone. Like the wind change directions abruptly, Nines lowered his hand down by his side, and he regarded Gavin with an empty, blank gaze.

A shadow fell over the android’s face, and before Gavin was able to identify what it specifically was and what the source of it happened to be, Nines intervened with a cold comment as he pressed his lips impossibly close to Gavin’s ear. They couldn’t get closer than this, but Nines somehow did, and he molded and meshed his body against the smaller man’s. They remained like that for a few seconds, but just when Gavin had been trying to wriggle away from Nines, the android did the unthinking; said the unthinkable.

“I’d been meaning to tell you something,” he purred delightfully, “you have a phone call awaiting you from your family…”

Gavin froze, but then shook his head. If this were a trap, he wasn’t going to foolishly fall into it.

But then Nines proved it wasn’t a lie or a fabricated statement.

The name sent shivers down Gavin’s back and spine, but it didn’t alter the fact that Nines had said it clearly as the sun shining outside.

“Elijah wishes to speak with his older brother…”

Elijah…

His blood ran ice cold.

Chapter Text

Gavin waited until Brother Nines had opened a light oak door, beckoning him inside as he barely spun himself around to even face Gavin. Once they both were inside, Gavin assumed this room had to either be Brother Nines’ own private office, or perhaps someone else’s. There wasn’t any name tag on the desk like there usually would be in his high school in a principal’s office, so he was unable to make heads or tails of it. There were only paintings and portraits of The Last Supper, Mary, Joseph, Jesus leading his followers through valleys, and a whole flock of lambs all over the walls sporadically spread about. The walls were a strange green shade that wasn’t entirely unpleasant to the eyes, however, Gavin wasn’t used to seeing green as a color choice for an office.

The desk at the front of the room was clear and clean of any papers, notebooks, binders, or anything of the sort. It merely sat with its surface shining. It perhaps had been recently cleaned and wiped down. Only an office phone sat to the far-left hand side of the desk, and large windows half of Gavin’s size stood behind the desk. The blinds were half-drawn down, which effectively blocked out the sun. All around the room, chandeliers and old heat radiators were placed about, and the entire get-up and ambiance made Gavin wonder just how old the entire school itself even was. Old filing cabinets rested against the thick walls, the drawers all tightly shut, and perhaps locked…

“Here,” Nines beckoned him over after he caught his attention, and he held up the receiver of the phone. “Just press the number ‘one’, and you’ll be connected.”

Not sparing a moment, Gavin leapt forward, and he swiped the phone right out of Nines’ hands. Pressing one like his life depended on it, he cried out, “Hello??? Elijah??!”

Rustling sounded on the other end of the line, but before Gavin was able to wonder whether Nines had been lying to him about this or not, a youthful, familiar voice called out to him. “Gavin!!!”

It was his little brother.

Gavin had never been so thrilled and relieved at the same time, and the words flew out of his mouth like butterflies and birds dancing in the wind. “Elijah! How’re mom and dad??? How’ve you been? Oh god, I missed you, Elijah!”

The younger boy giggled as he answered Gavin back, “We’re all fine, Gav, but I missed you a lot too!”

“You’re so lucky to not be here,” Gavin half-joked, “I’d give anything to be in your place right now!!”

Giggling softly once more, Elijah spoke out, “And I’d give anything not to be in your place right now!!”

Laughing at the joke along with his brother, Gavin looked up across the room to see Brother Nines just leaning against a filing cabinet further to the right of the desk. It suddenly occurred to him that the android was still in the room, and likely listening in on the entire conversation. It made him uncomfortable, but before he could voice this out loud, Elijah let out a tiny sigh that definitely portrayed dissatisfaction.

“Elijah? What’s wrong?” He tried keeping his voice down, but he wasn’t sure if that would aid in him keeping his conversation more ‘private’.

Sniffling as though he’d been holding back on bursting into tears, Elijah whispered through a broken, shaky voice, “Just…I just wish you could come h-home sooner,” he stammered out with some difficulty, “it’s not the s-same without y-you, Gav.”

Something stung greatly within the teenager then, and he pressed a hand on his chest right over his heart, and then gently laid it down on the desk to steady himself. Ignoring the fact that Brother Nines was still present in the room, he focused on hearing his little brother fighting hard to suppress the same sadness Gavin himself felt. It was so painful knowing how helpless he truly was in another country while his brother was all alone without him. As gentle-natured as young Elijah had always been, unfortunately, it was that very same nature that often left him open and vulnerable. Simply put, he was susceptible to bullies, being taken advantage of, and trampled all over by people who called themselves his ‘friends’. Falsely, a lot of these people had already gotten whatever they wanted from Elijah, and Gavin was frankly tired of witnessing it happen each and every time.

Imagining a variety of these scenarios, he grumbled into the phone’s speaker, “Is anyone bullying you in that fancy summer school dad sent you to?”

There was a long pause, and it confirmed all of Gavin’s fears in a heartbeat.

Still, Elijah whispered, “No! I can handle myself, Gav!”

Not believing him, Gavin ground out angrily, “Elijah, I told you to tell mom and dad if your teachers aren’t willing to do something about it!”

“I have!” Elijah argued back, the volume of his voice increasing steadily as his emotions got heated.

This, in turn, made Gavin even more upset, as it was highly likely that Elijah was hiding things from him. Glaring madly out the office windows, Gavin snarled lowly, “I told you many times that even if adults won’t help you, Elijah, sometimes you just gotta handle shit yourself!! If that means beatin’ kids up to make your point loud and clear, then do it!”

Elijah whined out softly, “B-but then I’ll just be as b-bad as them, Gav!”

“No you won’t,” Gavin hissed, “you gotta stand up to them some time, Elijah!”

“But Gav, I—”

“Just don’t argue for a moment and listen,” Gavin interrupted, and Elijah quieted down immediately. A small smile was upon Gavin’s face immediately. Elijah was always so good to listen to him, and he was grateful for that quality in the younger boy. Gripping the phone tightly between his fingers, he calmly said, “Elijah, sometimes doin’ the right thing doesn’t get you far in this world. I’m not tellin’ you to follow in my footsteps, because that’s just damn wrong and we both know it.” Peeking over his shoulder, he caught Brother Nines eyeing him with caution, and he tilted his head at him.

Turning his neck back to face outside the window, Gavin sighed and straightened his hair out as Elijah listened on in silence. “Just please, for my sake, baby bro, promise me you’ll start bein’ a lot tougher, and don’t let just any asshole get away with bullyin’ you!”

There was a momentary pause before Elijah’s voice squeaked out, “I…I promise, Gav!”

Now, Gavin was all smiles. He felt more at ease and far more relaxed. As long as his younger brother was taken care of and safe, nothing else mattered much. “Good,” he whispered, “I’m glad to hear that, Elijah.”

“Me too, Gav.”

Coughing once to clear his throat, perhaps, Elijah asked, “S-so have you made any new friends, Gav?”

Scratching the back of his head, Gavin made to answer the question, but Brother Nines whispered over at him, “We don’t have time.”

Feeling saddened by the fact that he’d have to end the conversation soon, Gavin held up an index finger before Nines as he gave him a solid nod to confirm that he’d paid attention and was aware that they were hard-pressed for time.

“Gav?”

Sighing weakly, Gavin pressed on, “I have to go soon, Elijah, but please hug mom and dad on my behalf, and feed the cat often, okay?”

“O-okay Gav, I will!” Elijah’s promise sank deeply in his heart in the right place and manner, and Gavin felt his mood and day shift to a far more positive one. Knowing how much he valued his brother’s words and promise, he held his head high and saw his own reflection smiling back at him in the window.

Shifting from leg to leg, he whispered, “Talk to you later, Elijah.”

He could tell his brother was all smiles as he joyfully cried out, “I love you, Gav!! Byeeee!!”

“Goodbye, little brother…” his eyes burned with tears, but he blinked them away as quickly as they’d came. Before he could sob out, he dropped the phone down and disconnected the call. Rubbing at his eyes furiously, Gavin composed himself before nodding again at Nines.

“Thank you.”

The android inched closer to him, his long legs covering a lot of ground in no time. Craning his neck down to peer at Gavin as best as he could, he found that the teenager was working hard on hiding his face from him. Troubled by this, Nines extended an index finger, and he curled it beneath Gavin’s chin. Tilting the boy’s head back so he could gaze into his eyes, he smiled a light smile.

Their eyes met, and once again, Gavin felt compelled to whisper out, “Thanks for letting me talk to him.”

Nines huffed but otherwise remained silent. He wanted to continue enjoying this young man’s facial features for as along as he could. As he’d been gazing long enough into Gavin’s eyes, he’d missed how the boy held onto his left shoulder, stood and balanced himself up on his toes, and then leaned his face against Nines’ cheeks. Right there, the softest and tenderest of kisses had been bestowed upon the android’s hairless face.

Nines’ eyes widened drastically, and he froze on the spot. Gavin’s cheeks felt so full and supple pressed against his cheek. He could hardly believe it’d happened, but it was gone within an instant. Gavin leaned back down on his feet, and he meekly shied away, directing and averting his eyes down to the floor.

Suddenly, Brother Nines stepped up towards Gavin in a desperate attempt to be close to the younger male, and at the same time that he did, the office door squeaked open. Everything moved as though the world had been trapped under the ocean, and Father Anderson sluggishly entered the room. Upon seeing Gavin at his desk by his phone, he glared, and then turned his glare over to Nines.

Casting the android a most foul look, he spat out in an accusation disguised as a question, “Brother Nines!!! Why have you allowed Mr. Reed to use the school’s phone?”

Jumping away from Gavin as if the boy had burned him upon physical contact, Nines collected himself quickly. “Father Anderson,” came the croak of his statement, “I was j-just allowing Mr. Reed a few moments to speak with his sibling; the young lad has been calling your office numerous times.”

As Gavin pushed the phone back in its rightful position on the desk, he suddenly felt his heart fluttering and beating rapidly. Had Elijah really been trying that much to get a hold of him?? For how long?? Why hadn’t he been told before??

Shaking his head lightly, Father Anderson’s short hair-which fell just past his jaw swung about. “The school’s policy is such that prior to engaging in phone calls, the students must sign a permission slip and then have that signed off by only myself,” the older man groused, “have you forgotten that rule, Brother Nines?”

Gavin couldn’t believe it. He had to ask permission to talk to his family??? Fuck this school and everything it represented.

Brother Nines looked away for a moment, as if trying to collect and gather his thoughts, but Gavin interrupted by bowing his head and softly hissing out, “I kinda rushed it, Father Anderson; I was just excited to talk to my younger brother that I think I pressured Brother Nines and he forgot?”

Ignoring the weary glance Brother Nines cast his way, Gavin smiled innocently at Father Anderson until the priest sighed. Apparently, his youthful, innocent ‘act’ must’ve worked, for the older male merely grunted out, “Very well; please return to your classes, Mr. Reed.”

“Thank you, Father! I will!” Gavin darted out of the room, then, closing the door softly behind himself.

Stuffing his hands deeply inside his pockets, Father Anderson tossed Nines an awfully dark, scornful glare as he made his way over towards his own desk. “How long was the boy on the phone?”

Nines merely sighed, “Not long…” he leaned back, and hooking his fingertips onto the white envelope he’d fished out of the student records filing cabinets, he carefully slid the folder labeled ‘Gavin Reed’ onto the desk before Father Anderson.

The older priest gazed at it for a moment, and when Nines opened it, he gasped in shock. “What’re you doing, Brother Nines?!?!”

With his blue eyes skimming and glossing over the first few sentences in Gavin’s case file, Nines grinned softly, while Father Anderson tapped a large hand over the top of the case file.

“Brother Nines!” he cried out vehemently, “I asked you a question!!”

Still smiling through his teeth, the strange android whispered, “I couldn’t help myself, Father Anderson; I thought if I read Gavin’s case file, I’d be of more assistance to him as his homeroom teacher!”

A thick finger rested along the edge of the case file folder as Father Anderson glared at him in disappointment. “All the students in our school are to be treated fairly and equally, Brother Nines!” he all but spat, “you can’t just ‘help’ yourself to anything you want in my office without my knowledge, and I do believe that’s confidential information!”

Knowing his superior was right, Nines sighed, though his eyes shifted surreptitiously as he grinned a light grin while slowly pushing the case file folder closer towards Father Anderson. “You’re right, Father,” he began, but then leaned against the desk while lowering his voice drastically, “but can you believe what’s written in there?? I mean, his younger brother is the son of his father’s business competitor, and the man ran off with a Japanese escort, and a neo-political supporter, to boot!!”

An eyeroll came out of Father Anderson, and he merely shook his head back and forth in despair.

Nines smiled at the few papers containing the information Father Anderson had wanted to remain private as he flipped through more of them. “Imagine the courage, the daring nature, the raw—”

“That’s neither here nor there, Brother Nines, and it’s far from the point!” Father Anderson interrupted him as he leaned forward and wrapped two large hands around the case file folder. As his eyes bore into Nines’, he glared heatedly at the tall android, and his glare was enough to make large android almost cower. “I thought you would know better than to snoop around through these files,” closing the case file, he shoved the loose sheets back into the folder, making sure all the pages were neatly in order before he walked back towards the filing cabinets.

While pulling open a drawer, he sighed and threw over his shoulder, “Over the years, the best way our school has been able to flourish and grow so well is because parents and relatives trust us with the livelihood and future of their children and loved ones, Brother Nines! We owe it to the families to keep this consistent, and that includes protecting a lot of young boys from their own crazy, silly whims!!” The cabinet drawer slammed shut once the folder had been placed inside it, and then Father Anderson fished out a key chain. From it dangled at least thirty pairs of keys, and he selected an old, silver one and locked the filing cabinet. Once that was done, he sighed as he leaned against it while staring over at Nines.

The android cast his eyes down, and Father Anderson finally approached him with an air of superiority and dominance. “The world is a very perilous place, Brother Nines,” he stated as he laid a hand on Nines’ shoulder, “you’ve been with us for a very long time, no doubt sheltered, shielded, and protected from the dangers society offers. These walls however won’t be able to protect you for long if you lose yourself, Brother Nines,” bowing his head as well, the priest smiled, “I should hate for you to have to find that out for yourself the hard way…”

The threat loomed high and thickly between them, and Nines bowed his head in obeisance once more. “I’m sorry, Father Anderson,” came the swift, submissive apology, “it was an error of misjudgment; it won’t happen again.” Nines stared down at his feet, his blue LED light slowly circling on and off a few times.

Eyeing it with the ghost of a smirk, Father Anderson nodded, “See that it doesn’t.” Turning away, he moved towards the door of the office, opened it, and pointed out into the hall a tad crudely.

Knowing where he had to be, Nines stepped out into the hallway, and not long after, the door closed softly with a click behind him. Sighing in relief once he was out from beneath Father Anderson’s scrutinizing gaze, Nines closed his eyes and hissed angrily.

For some reason, he was in a great deal of pain…he never felt pain. No android did, but the sensation he’d been currently feeling had to be pain. Something seared and burned within, and he felt as though every part of his system had been roasted or flayed to the last wire. Churning about wildly, his head slammed against a wall right next to the door to Father Anderson’s office, and his LED light blinked blue rapidly before finally settling on yellow. It remained that way for a long time, and it was because his emotions were unstable and out of control.

Blinking back in pain, his eyelashes and eyelids fluttered, and he raised a hand and placed it right on his cheek where Gavin’s lips had previously touched him.

The kiss…the memory of such a sweet, soft, innocent kiss…

He felt something boiling inside himself, and it coiled down lower and lower, inching deeper and deeper into his skin. He knew he wasn’t going to be able to fight it, and he didn’t want to. Succumbing and giving in was less painful, always.

Audio receptors burning and frying, no doubt, he doubled down in pain and misery, his ears ringing with the haunting melody he didn’t think still existed deeply within his memories and thoughts. Like a footprint in the sand, it lingered about until the waves of the ocean were powerful enough to wash it away…

It’s all for The Angels and for all The Things and for all the beloved The Persons, that we never will meet again in this dimension and on this Earth. So sad to say, but I can honestly say and write, that I still love you so, you my Beautiful Angel in the Soul light where everything is just much more than a dream…

Willing himself not to cry out, he clawed at his face and palmed it like a wild animal. Shaking and trembling, he wrapped his arms around his chest, and he rocked back and forth against the wall almost violently.

Suddenly, a gentle, innocent voice cried out to him, and it was his single savior in the darkness he’d been drowning in.

“Brother Nines!”

When his eyes opened, he realized he’d still been standing right outside Father Anderson’s office. Turning around, he saw that the door hadn’t budged, and neither had he; he was still standing like a rock or an immobile wall. Nothing had changed. Nothing hurt. Nothing had ended.

Peering down, he smiled when he saw little Charlie Snow holding and extending both his chubby arms up. “Brother Nines?” the boy had chocolate smeared across his lips, and it warmed Nines up to see such an endearing sight.

Bending down, he collected the youngster in his arms, though not before making sure his Rosary had been neatly tucked deeply inside his pocket first.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

“So here he lies at the last. The deathbed convert. The pious debau—err, the pious…ugh, man!” Travis threw his script down as he scratched his face, and then the back of his neck furiously. “I can’t even say half these words, Brother Ralph!” waving the script up and down before the android, he sighed out, “how in the hell am I supposed to be the star of your play when I don’t even understand half the shit I’m saying?!?”

Brother Ralph clapped his hands at the young man while the rest of the acting and theatre class sat behind him. They were once again in the auditorium, and Travis was standing on the stage wearing a red and black Scottish-styled kilt while holding his script in his hands. Supposedly, it was for the play, and the costume selection had been Brother Ralph’s choice…it all seemed appropriate, anyway. After struggling through with his parts, Travis had grown weary of being the only one on the stage ‘rehearsing’, while the rest of his classmates sat behind Brother Ralph in the old red-cushion chairs of the auditorium.

Gavin lay his head over a hand that had been perched on the armrest of the chair, and he’d been sitting next to Patrick, who was sitting right beside Mackenzie and followed by Greg. They all wore equally bored and dull expressions, as did the other twenty students in the class while waiting for Travis to learn his lines. It’d been a frustrating and boring ordeal altogether, but Brother Ralph was at least enjoying himself.

The scarred android waved his arms about. “Stop, stop, Travis!” he cried out desperately, and then sighed. Standing up to his feet, he marched up onto the stage, and he stood himself right beside Travis. The teenager held a disgusted look upon his face when he studied the android’s burnt and marred face, but otherwise allowed Brother Ralph to speak up.

“You need to learn to let yourself go, Travis!” he advised, “lose yourself to the play! It’s okay to make a mistake, but you have to know the words; feel the words, breathe the words, breathe the art!!!”

Travis groaned, “I was!!”

“No, no,” Brother Ralph clicked his tongue against his teeth, and it was a horribly annoying sound. “You need to live your role so much that people can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, Travis…” with his eyes searching around the room, Brother Ralph hummed, searching, hunting, looking…

Gavin seized up. He knew that look. Many teachers always held that same look when they wanted to fish out a volunteer for a stupid task!!

Suddenly, something in the erratic android must’ve shifted or changed, for he waved a hand in the air and then made a sound of flatulence. “Forget it, you know what they say,” giggling, he danced around, “you want something done? Do it yourself!!!”

Travis whispered in relief, “Oh thank the fuckin’—”

“I shall now begin to ‘demonstrate’ for us a little something of my precious talents back in the day, hehe!!” Brother Ralph all but squealed like an excited young child, clasping his hands together as he moved off the stage. “Get your books and notes out, class!” he cried while pointing at them all, “this is a part of the one and only life-lesson you will receive in the flesh, and genius work can’t be repeated, I find!!”

As he sat down on one of the chairs, the class groaned, and they pulled out their books and textbooks on ‘drama and acting’. But before they could actually begin writing anything, Brother Ralph pulled up a stool and sat down upon it while snorting at them all.

“Are you ready, boys?” he smiled, and then crossed his arms over his chest while the students cheered happily.

Brother Ralph softly hummed as he held a finger up and tapped it over his chin. “Our journey would begin in Africa; the last remains of the first mate…”

“Oh shite,” Greg murmured, “this is a story…”

Hushing him, Mackenzie growled, “I wanna listen either way; see if Brother Ralph is as good as he thinks he is!”

“Bruh,” Andrew intervened, “I think he’s just honestly nuts.”

With his eyes scanning all the students, Brother Ralph smiled as he carried on, “Mr. Riley-I believe his name was. He died on the way to the swamp in the Congo français.”

Ronald whispered out loud, “Poor Mr. Riley!!”

“We were touring in a steamer,” he explained, eyes widening along with the suspense he was already building up, “but he wanted to take a canoe and explore deeper into the lagoon…a fascinating pursuit! But a pleasure to be indulged with caution, for you are certain to come across crocodiles…”

Gasps emitted from all the younger boys, and a few Elders. They all really seemed to already be taken by Brother Ralph’s acting and storytelling, and truthfully, it even caused Gavin to smile a little. He hid it away however when Greg stared over at him with a tiny frown.

Bunching his hands up into fists, Brother Ralph’s eyes were wider than ever, and they turned dark as he rose up on the stool. “Taken, he was, right out of the canoe! It was a case of here one minute,” he then clapped loudly, causing more of the younger children to scream out a little, “gone the next…” his voice dropped to a whisper, he frowned, and then shook his head and pressed a hand over his eyes in mock sadness or shame. “Foolish man! Probably spent his last moments wondering why, having reached this point of folly, he need have—”

“He need have gilded the lily by fooling around in mangrove swamps.”

At once, everyone automatically spun around at the sound of the intruding, deep voice. Brother Ralph’s eyes widened, and if Gavin didn’t know any better, he was staring at him?? Why??  

Ducking down in his seat, he hoped Brother Ralph would leave him alone, but the android was staring right at him!!!

No…behind him???

Turning his neck to confirm it for himself, Gavin heard a happy and surprised gasp leaving Brother Ralph’s mouth.

“Brother Nines!!” he cried out in pure glee, “thank you for joining us!!!”

What?????

Squinting into the darkness of the auditorium along with his confused classmates, Gavin’s eyes adjusted to the dark, and he sure as hell saw Nines standing by the back doors of the building. His eyes gleamed and glowed just as his LED light was, and he stepped up towards the stage silently and swiftly.

Gavin felt Patrick elbowing him, “What’s he doing here?”

The sixteen-year-old could only offer his friend a shrug.

Eyeing his row of friends with confusion, Gavin exchanged shrugs and blank looks with all his friends, but they remained silent while Nines got comfortable at the front of the auditorium right on the stage. He was wearing a long-sleeved black shirt, black dress pants, and black dress shoes, and this had been the ‘least’ amount of clothing Gavin had normally seen Nines walking around in. If anything, the android suddenly appeared…relaxed?? Open? Relatable?

No…that wasn’t it, but there was still something ‘off’ about him, and it didn’t have everything to do with his clothing style and choice…

Nines half-smiled while throwing a little head tilt down at Brother Ralph, who was still seated upon his stool at the stage. “Still going on with that story of yours, are we?”

Brother Ralph giggled, “I think it’s an adventure everyone must hear!”

“Yes,” Nines purred, “I’m sure Mary Kingsley of 1897 would agree with you…”

Drumming his hands over his kneecaps, Brother Ralph only smiled a teeth-dominated smile, and it made him look like a fool. Nines returned the smile in the same manner, however, and then Brother Ralph bowed his head, “You’ve heard me tell this story too often, I think…”

“Indeed,” as he turned away from Brother Ralph, he cast a piercing gaze over at Gavin, “may I request to pull Mr. Reed away from your class for the remainder of the day?”

Right away, Gavin froze.

What had he done wrong, now??! Was he in trouble??

His friends were wondering much the same, and they peered intently at Gavin, as if waiting for him to explain all this. But Gavin himself didn’t even know, and he shrugged while Brother Ralph nodded gleefully up at Nines.

“Of course, Brother!” his chipper voice rang out, “he won’t be missing a lot in my class anyway!”

Bowing his head, Nines backed away from the stage. It didn’t take him much longer to calmly approach Gavin, and he did so while beckoning the younger male closer towards himself with the wave of a long hand. “Mr. Reed? Will you join me, please?”

Glaring away madly at him, Gavin threw his own arms up into the air, as if surrendering. Whatever Nines wanted to discuss definitely had to be of a very personal and private nature, and he braced himself for it as he followed the android right out the huge auditorium.

The entire time, he was certain he felt eyes on him, though he wasn’t sure just who specifically was watching them…

Chapter Text

Gavin found that Nines had led him into an office that had been built into an adjacent bedroom of sorts. The private study was no doubt Nines’, and it was rather neat and orderly. Not many decorations were about; just the odd chair or two, a desk in the far left-hand corner propped against a wall, a fireplace to the right of the desk, a large world globe near the fireplace, curtains strewn about, a four-poster bed in the right-hand corner of the room that had been neatly made with deep green silk pillows and sheets, a rocking chair, bookshelves, a round table supporting various bottles of alcohol on it, as well as an old wooden standing hook rack.

It seemed not unusual at all, but Gavin wouldn’t ever associate half these items with Nines at all. Why would an android need a bed, anyway?

Unless…?

Trying not to jump ahead to any conclusions, he waited for Nines to close the door and motion for Gavin to have a seat by the fireplace. Obeying Nines, Gavin sat still on the rocking chair, and he kept his eyes trained down on the small rug by the fireplace. “What did I do now?” came his gentle, meek voice. He hated how weak he’d sounded, but Brother Nines appeared to be offering him a reassuring, calm smile as he stood and leaned against the fireplace.

A mirror hung on the wall above it, and it was what Brother Nines had been currently peeking into. He held up a hand against the glass, palm resting over its hard, cool surface. “Have you ever looked into a mirror expecting to see someone other than yourself?” he suddenly spoke out in the silence, and he’d asked it in such an odd manner…

The question took Gavin by surprise, and like an air of mystery in the darkest of nights, the young teenager could only gaze up with curiosity brewing in his eyes. “Nines?”

With his palm still resting upon the glass, Nines hissed, “It’s so cold…like ice…”

Standing up slowly, Gavin shook as concern enveloped his round eyes. “Nines, you’re f-freakin’ me out…”

Lips pulled back almost aggressively, Nines almost cruelly spat, “I should break it so I never have to look at myself ever again!”

Indecision and anxiety were displayed all over Gavin’s face, but he still approached Nines carefully, as though dealing with a rabid, feral animal about to snap and attack him. “Nines?” he whispered at the tall android’s turned back, “d-does this have to do with me?”

It grew eerily silent, then, and for once, Nines found the heavy quiet growing around them in the room oppressive. He knew very well that his source of discomfort stemmed from not knowing what was going on inside Gavin’s head. He was already having serious doubts about having made himself accountable for his own personal continued existence, as it were, but he also knew the adolescent was now standing directly behind him.

Their eyes met in the mirror, suddenly, but Nines’ jaw dropped not from shock, but from preparedness. Speaking softly, he pushed out in almost a hurried poem, “I wish it had been someone else who found him. But somewhere along the way, as he delivered miracle after miracle for you, you and all his other well-wishers began to believe that his strength and resilience were limitless. I’m no more perspicacious than you; a great deal less so, in fact. It was only distance that helped me see what none of the rest of you could, any longer. A scared child. And now he is a scared young man who can no longer provide justification for his existence. His purpose—”

Latching onto his shoulders, Gavin buried his face in Nines’ back as he wept loudly, “Nines!!! What’s wrong with you?!? Who’re you talking about?!?”

Who indeed?

A soft growl escaped from Nines, and as he grabbed Gavin’s hands in his own, he whipped around and glared down at the teenager. “You kissed me!” he snapped, pressing a hand over his cheek, and then made to take Gavin’s hand in his. Reaching up with the teenager’s soft hand, he emphasized his point by rubbing Gavin’s hand over the exact same spot he’d been referring to.

Nines’ eyes snapped shut, and he whispered in a wrecked tone, “It…it’s still burning…”

“Nines!” Gavin cried out, tearing his hand off of the taller male’s cheek, but before he could do or say much else, Nines spun him about, and he let his long arms rest wrapped around Gavin’s waist.

Gavin could’ve sworn he felt his heart flying up to the top of his head, and then down all the way to his toes, crashing. What. Was. This??? Nines had never allowed them to be so close and so physical without at least degrading, inflicting harm, mocking, or seeking his own sexual pleasure!! But now, they were both wrapped in a seemingly close and warm embrace, and Gavin stood frozen to the spot. Nines was like a magnificent wall behind him, and the younger male felt so supported leaning back against Nines’ firm body.

For some reason, Gavin found himself enjoying the closeness, and he realized he didn’t wish for it to end…he hoped Nines wouldn’t move! He closed his eyes and succumbed to the warmth and intimacy, wondering what had caused this change so randomly.

No…it was better to just enjoy it rather than dissect it.

Wrapping his own smaller hands around Nines’, he’d tilted his head back to lose himself in the comfort of the body behind his, when he suddenly felt something jabbing at him between his legs. His eyes flew open, and he frowned, deep in thought as he tried piecing together what it could’ve been. It was something thick, hard, and most definitely a half-erect cock.

Groaning in mild disgust, Gavin tried getting away from Nines, but the android hissed a warning into his ear and gently pushed his hips up against the younger and shorter male’s in response. The sensation was rough and not as pleasurable as it likely would’ve felt if their clothes had been removed. Fabric was rubbing and pressing against fabric, and it created a friction that birthed into a slightly uncomfortable heat pooling between Gavin’s legs. It was magnified anytime Nines pushed back and then pressed on forward, and Gavin’s head bopped downwards by the steady force of the more powerful and well-built body rocking into his own.

His knees slightly buckled, but he was able to somehow keep his weight up while Nines rocked further against him. Each thrust shoved Gavin forward, but he braced himself for more energy and potency to be invigorated in the upcoming motions coming from Nines.

He wasn’t wrong at all.

Nines quickened the pace, practically ramming and slamming his strong hips into Gavin’s lower back and over the top of the swell of his ass. It was a treacherous, delicious, painful sensation; it was torture.

Wincing, Gavin tried moving away, but he just couldn’t. At the very least, since he himself wasn’t enjoying it, he hoped Nines was…he moved his hand down beneath his lower back and between Nines’ thighs to check, and when Gavin shifted himself to the side, he felt along Nines’ dark pants, and he was met with disappointment yet again.

The cock he’d felt there wasn’t even as erect as he’d imagined previously. It only felt that way because of how roughly Nines was ramming his hips into Gavin, and the teenager nearly felt his heart breaking into many pieces.

Sexually, he’d always considered himself to be a good enough lover concerned over his partners’ pleasures. He wanted something gained from this for Nines, but the physiological message was loud and clear when he fisted Nines’ cock and found that it wasn’t even reacting at all to the genuinely soft touches.

Sighing, Gavin dropped his hands away from Nines, and he just allowed Nines to do whatever the hell it was he was doing. Perhaps the strange android got off in another ways Gavin didn’t need to understand for now.

Nines was unrelenting, and he tightened his arms around the boy while gently rubbing his hips around Gavin’s lower torso in slow, deliberate, circular motions.

Gavin could only laugh, “I haven’t dry-humped anyone in almost a year…”

“Silence,” Nines hissed, and in less than a minute, he’d completely lost himself and come apart at the seams. He’d been rough and wild with Gavin, but he just couldn’t put an end to it or stop it. Ever since he felt how small and soft the younger man felt in his arms, he tapped into something primal and feral within himself, and in less than a few short moments, he realized he’d been rubbing Gavin over his clothes.

The motions grew erratic, heated, messy, and uncoordinated in no time. The friction was no doubt painful for Gavin, and he clearly voiced his displeasure and discomfort by asking Nines to stop as he grunted in sheer pain and annoyance.

“Don’t!” he tried shifting himself around, but Nines held him in place for the fifth time as he’d tried it. “Nines,” he begged, “this hurts!”

Growling madly, Nines didn’t stop. He stroked the younger male in his grip furiously, and only when he smelled and felt Gavin’s tears did he slow down. The boy was wet, but it was more due to the fact that his hand was keeping up with its ghastly pace. Flesh slapped against flesh, and Nines whispered, “Let it come…”

Bending his head down in obedience and shame, Gavin sniffled, and as he sobbed harder and harder, he exploded right over Nines’ hand and deeply within his own pants. Not a second later, Nines came as well, and he nearly shoved Gavin roughly across the room afterwards. The boy stumbled around, nearly falling over as he fought hard to catch his breath.

Nines wasn’t having an easier time either.

He was beyond livid.

He’d never made such a disgusting, despicable mess before in his own clothes.

This was all Gavin’s fault. He’d been the cause of it; the source…the direct source!

Once the boy had stood back up on weak feet, he spun around, and he headed over towards Nines in a heartbeat.

Thinking that he was going to be attacked, Nines braced himself for the worst, but what he actually received was far more unexpected than anything he originally anticipated.

Gavin kissed him again.

Though not on the cheek at all this time around…

He kissed Nines firmly on the lips.

Terrified, the android froze, and he knew that he’d been allowing Gavin to do as he pleased for that short span of time. The boy took control over the feelings, desires, sensations, thoughts, dreams, and touches. His lips molded and slanted over Nines’ in an almost near-perfect way.

Nines couldn’t believe it.

He actually kissed Gavin back.

Sure as the sun shining brightly in the mornings, and the moon and stars glowing in a mesmerizing manner in the night, Nines had actually dipped into the already-wonderfully growing sensation of a pair of lips pressed against his own. Closing his eyes as Gavin had done, Nines gave in.

Every challenge, every task set before Gavin, he completed. Somewhere along the way, he knew for certain he’d already begun to see the sixteen-ear-old as invincible. It was unforgivable of him, but he didn’t care. Peering down at the boy in between kisses, Nines noticed that Gavin suddenly looked older than Nines remembered ever having seen him.

Again, his eyelids fluttered shut, and he felt his flesh burning and broiling when Gavin held onto his face and cupped it in his warm hands.

Still, be it that he was enjoying growing fond of the boy before himself, an odd, familiar voice echoed somewhere in the recesses of his mind. From long ago, it seemed, but it never left him alone long enough for him to even achieve the state of ‘happiness’ poets and writers often wrote about so willingly and daringly.

Last night an injured child needed my help, and I withheld it. You’ve accused me of having a blind spot where you are concerned so many times. I never even considered that you might be right. And now I’ve failed him as I failed you.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

“Yes, you’re dead and I’m alive, but that’s not my fault. You think you have it bad, well what about me? What chance do I have of a normal life with you trailing after me all the time? Already everyone thinks I’m off my head, talking to thin air and bumping into invisible objects. And what is it about this life you think is so bloody wonderful? I’m not part of anything out there…”

Nines held his head down, an umbrella clenched tightly in a hand as his black robes swished and billowed about in the cold breeze. It was a particularly nasty, rainy day, but Father Anderson had still insisted on sending him out on an errand to collect items and freshly picked produce from Connor. The tall android dressed in an all-black continued to press on, however, though he was actually grateful for the storm.

It distracted from his whispering and chanting to himself. It was a most private conversation, anyway, and he would hate for any unsuspecting ears to happen upon it accidentally.

“Yes, you’re dead and I’m alive, but that’s not my fault. You think you have it bad, well what about me? What chance do I have of a normal life with you trailing after me all the time?”

The wind howled, and he held tighter onto the large, black umbrella. Glancing up for a second, Nines pinpointed tiny ‘dot-like’ people running around the town not too far away from the school. This portion of the town hosted and housed a lot of grocery stores, farmer’s markets, small ‘mom and pop’ stores, an old bookstore, an antique shop, a tea shop, and one clothing store. The outlets were all neatly stacked and neighbors of each other, lining the streets up and down while customers and denizens of the town tried ducking in and out of the open stores and otherwise sought refuge from the cold, harsh rain.

Wrapping his robes tightly around himself, Nines blinked away a particularly large, fat raindrop that wormed its way into his left eye. “Yes, you’re dead and I’m alive, but that’s not my fault. You think you have it bad, well what about me? What chance do I have of a normal life with you trailing after me all the time?” He shook his head as he whispered to himself, but had to occasionally stop and pause whenever someone would wave at him, greet him with a head nod, or just stop and stare.

Pleasantly returning their good graces with a charming smile of his own followed by a confirmation in the form of a head nod, he would briskly walk by them and then crane his head and neck down as his lips flew while his breath formed and pushed the words out. “Already everyone thinks I’m off my head, talking to thin air and bumping into invisible objects. And what is it about this life you think is so bloody wonderful? I’m not part of anything out there…”

Nearly tripping over a pothole in the dark, stony streets, he hissed, and then balanced himself against a brick wall of an old bakery. Glancing up at the sign, he saw that it was thankfully closed. His eyes shut in a gesture of relief, and he counted to three silently.

“I’m sorry you’re dead and tied to me, but I did the best I could. It’s not my fault!” His breath fogged up the windows which revealed a dark, empty bakery. Items inside were neatly organized, stacked, and put away. A dark oven sat in the back, and heavy, red oven mittens hung on a hook in the wall next to the stove.

A bell chimed somewhere; a door to another distant shop opening and closing.

He opened his eyes, and as he stared into the clear glass, he saw the reflection of two elderly women passing by him. They smiled at his turned back, and their eyes all met in the reflection. Smiling back awkwardly, Nines nodded at them before backing away from the window.

“I’m sorry you’re dead and tied to me, but I did the best I could…” his voice came out in a faint whisper, quite unlike how he was accustomed to hearing how it sounded.

Glancing up past the green-grey storm clouds hovering in the vast, expansive sky above himself, he trembled. “Yes, you’re dead and I’m alive, but that’s not my fault…” Knowing where he had to go and in which direction to turn to, he shifted himself more towards the right, and he crossed the street swiftly before a few cars pulled up and parked along the curb.

His feet felt so heavy, but he wasn’t about to drag them. Choosing to remain headstrong, he marched along hurriedly, quickening the pace when he saw the large red and white sign bearing the name ‘Finest Produce and Baked Goods of Essex’.

Now, he knew he was close, and he bolted while the raindrops grew heavier, pounded down over his head stronger, and the thunder booming across the skies sounded much like the beating of a drum befitting a giant. Still, he wasn’t frightened; he had someplace to be, and he was going to get there.

Nines wasn’t able to stop whispering to himself as he blinked away the harsh, cold raindrops from his eyes. Every time one of them pelted away into his face, he felt as if icicles had stabbed him repeatedly.

The front door of the shop was inches away from his fingers, and the ‘Open’ sign had been posted.

Relief.

Closing his umbrella, he was finally brushing his robes off as he peered into the wet windows and saw Connor bustling about the shop while smiling at a few customers behind the cashier’s counter.

Nines shook his head roughly, “I’m sorry you’re dead and tied to me, but I did the best I could…”

The door chimed open, and Nines almost leapt out of the way to accommodate a woman and two children aged past their kindergarten years crying their heads off as they clung to her while she fought hard to work open an umbrella. In the midst of it, one of her children yanked down so hard on her elbow, that her bag of groceries slipped from her delicately thin wrist, and all her items fell and tumbled about on the soggy ground.

She screamed in fright, which caused her youngest to wail in fright also. As she gathered the youngster into her arms, she looked up at Nines, and then cast him a pleading look. “Please, sir,” her voice begged him, “could you be so kind as to help me gather my things into my bag?”

Shaking almost violently, Nines held his umbrella against his chest, and with his eyes set on Connor inside the store, he pushed past the young mother of two and hurriedly opened the front door.

“It. Is. Not. My. Fault.”

The door closed behind him with a soft thud, and Nines just stood silently. Not wanting to startle Connor while he was helping out a customer, Nines could only study the shop. It appeared to be in the same manner and state as he last remembered it. He never visited the shop often, but whenever he had, he’d found that it was always remarkably neat, homey, and just the right tiny fit for Connor. The other android seemed so at home and at peace while he stocked shelves, unloaded produce and groceries from vans and trucks, washed them, cut them, labeled them, weighed them, and put price tags on them. He’d truly found his calling here in this little store tucked away within the heart of the town, and Nines envied Connor for a moment.

Everything seemed to work out and fit well enough for the android, like a most glorious puzzle. And what did he have?? A nightmarish mockery of a broken promise rocking on a stormy ocean.

It truly was unfair, but Nines couldn’t find it within himself to detest Connor. The other android was far too innocent, pure, friendly, approachable, and he reminded Nines greatly of many of the Elders back at the school who were shaping and growing up to be fine young gentlemen.

Still, that didn’t stop Nines from truly envying Connor to no end.

How it came to be that he forced a smile onto his face as he stood there behind Connor’s last customer was beyond him, but he didn’t have to suffer through it for too long. The older woman soon left with her purchased items, and as Nines blinked up, he found that Connor had already worked a charming smile over onto his handsome face.

Nines could only smile back widely, though he burned with rage and jealousy inside.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin gingerly touched his lips, stroking the moist, plump bits a few times as he absent-mindedly stared out his dormitory window. Seated next to him on his bed were Greg, Mackenzie, and Travis. The latter two boys were busy rolling up a joint, and Greg had been curiously studying Gavin for nearly five minutes.

Outside, the world was a drenched wetland, and it seemed to make everyone else in the dormitory pipe down as well. The rest of the boys either were playing and amusing themselves with boards games such as chess, Snakes and Ladders, Clue, or Monopoly, while the younger ones drew silly pictures, played with stuffed animals, or just lay in bed.

Everyone seemed so exhausted and bored, and there was hardly any energy in every pair of eyes in the dormitory.

Sighing as he stared around at everyone, Travis lit Mackenzie’s joint once it was prepared. “Man!” he snorted out abrasively, “there’s no energy in anyone today, what the fuck?”

Still running his fingers over his sensitive lips, Gavin barely managed a nod.

Smoking the joint deeply, Mackenzie hummed and leaned back against the mattress. “Stop yellin’ in my ear, Kingsley,” he hissed at Travis, “it’s ruinin’ my high, man.”

While they bickered softly, Greg nudged Gavin with his shoulder in a light tap. “Gav?”

“Hmm?” breaking away from his fixated gaze out the window, Gavin reluctantly peeked over at the confused Greg. His friend eyed him warily, then offered him a tiny hint of a warm smile.

“You okay?”

Gavin nodded slowly, “Yeah, I’m fine, Greg.”

Frowning slightly, Greg inched himself closer to Gavin. “You sure?” he asked, and then coughed as clouds and puffs of smoke emitted from Mackenzie’s mouth breezed past his head. “You seem perplexed, Gav.”

It was Gavin’s turn to frown, and he tore his eyes away from peering out at the rainy world around them. Tossing his semi-angry glare over at Greg, he found that the younger man was already smirking and smiling at him while raising an eyebrow almost inquisitively. “So,” he whispered again, “have you given it thought?”

Gavin was taken aback. Blinking a few times to clear his vision from the clouds of smoke billowing into his eyes, he shook his head in raw confusion, “Greg? I don’t know what you mean…”

“Hmm,” Greg hung back a little, scratching away at his chin, neck, and then cheeks. Flushing bright pink, he grinned and sat up. “I mean to ask you if you—” he paused halfway, turning around and growling at Mackenzie and Travis, “do you two mind???”

The other two teenagers paused in between chatting and smoking, eyeing Greg with caution and shock. “What’s wrong with you, bruh?!” Travis snapped in irritation, “you can’t go around screamin’ at people and scaring them!!”

Mackenzie didn’t seem all that affected; he merely tapped Travis’ arm as he snickered, pupils blow wide. “Duuuude, I’m gonna practice my circles, wanna watch?” he didn’t wait for Travis to respond; he already pursed his lips into an ‘o’ shape, and he puffed out pretty decent-sized smoke circles.

Greg rolled his eyes at his friends and then gave up on them altogether. “Whatever, you twats,” directing his attention back over to Gavin, he leaned against the older teen and smiled empathetically. “Gav, I mean to ask you if you gave it another thought; us being together?”

Oh.

Gavin deadpanned. Given all the strange and weird shit he’d gone through as of late, he’d honestly forgotten about coming up with a way to ‘deal’ with Greg’s feelings for him. Knowing he wasn’t at all interested in the younger teenager, Gavin winced while studying Greg from head to toe in a few blurred moments. He didn’t think Greg was altogether unappealing or even unattractive at all. Unfortunately, Gavin already had ‘sealed’ it and ‘stamped’ it in his brain that Greg was just a friend and more of a ‘brotherly’ type than a potential future lover. That was the way it’d remained for him, and it was a difficult ordeal even hearing repeatedly from Greg about the possibility of anything romantic happening between the two of them.

Feeling his skin crawling the more he thought about it and the more he felt Greg’s eyes roaming and wandering along his body, Gavin seized up, and then he let out a breath he was unaware he’d even been holding in. “Greg,” running a hand through his hair in a way to calm himself down, he said, “it’s not that I don’t like you, I just—”

“Reeeejectshhhhuuunnn!!” Mackenzie sang out dramatically, then immediately piped down when Greg grabbed Gavin’s lighter and flung it back at him. The teenager ducked, and the lighter instead smacked into Travis’ forehead.

Groaning in pain, Travis snapped out, “The fuck—”

“Shut up, mate,” Greg interrupted, then turned back to Gavin. He held a truly desperate look in his eyes, now, and his voice had almost taken on a whiny tone as he whispered out, “Gavin? Please…” shifting himself closer to the older boy, he nearly tugged on his shirt sleeve, “I just want to really be with you, and I hope you can give me a chance so I can take care of you.”

Offended by the last part of that statement, Gavin whipped his head around and tossed Greg a most angry, hateful glare. Immediately upon receiving it, the other boy winced. “Do you think I need ‘saving’?” Gavin almost growled, “well if you think that, then you can go fuck yourself!!” The words had already been spoken out, and it was too late.

Greg looked absolutely hurt and pained, but he only blushed as he held out a hand. “Gavin, I didn’t mean that,” he began weakly, “I just meant—”

Abruptly getting up to his feet, Gavin paced towards the exit of the dormitory.

“Gavin?” Greg got up as well, “where are you going?”

“I need to…” he sighed as he stood before the door as he opened it slowly, “…I just think I need to be alone, guys.”

Wringing his hands, Greg frowned nervously, “Did I do something to offend you, Gavin?”

Shaking his head, Gavin croaked out, “N-no, I just…I just need some time alone, okay?”

Settling back down on the bed next to Travis and Mackenzie, Greg slowly nodded; the realization hitting him slowly. “Right…okay…” shrugging apathetically, he finally pressed out, “…just let me know if you want some company.”

The door clicked shut softly, and for a while, Gavin faced it as he remained standing still in the empty hallway. The sounds of the other boys in their separate dormitories hit his ears, and his mind registered how happy and energetic the rest of them were in comparison to the boys in his own dormitory. He supposed they had something to happy about, anyway. But what of his own happiness? What did it depend on? Where did it lie?

He was afraid.

Thinking it’d be wiser for him to head back inside his dormitory and either talk to his friends about his fears surrounding Brother Nines or indeed asking Greg to join him, Gavin nearly opened the door once more. Unfortunately, he was stopped by a single thought that knocked into him at the last minute.

He wasn’t a victim; he never would be a victim! To rely on his friends to ‘save’ him and ‘help’ him would only reflect on his own personal failures and inability to take care of himself. At the end of the day, he was a lot better off keeping all his worries and concerns to himself, as only he himself understood the gravity and depth of them. It was pointless to seek help and understanding in the eyes and minds of those who couldn’t help or understand him.

It was better to give up and just make sense out of the strange case he’d fallen into by himself.

However, that didn’t leave him feeling anything other than sheer loneliness and doubt, and he hated and resented it more than he’d ever remembered hating and resenting something.

Kicking the door angrily, Gavin hissed out through clenched teeth, “Jesus fuckin’ Christ!!”

“Ahem!!!” someone cleared their throat behind him, and Gavin yelped and spun around in fright.

Brother Simon stood directly behind him in the hallway, and he had been holding a cloth, cleaning supplies, and a feather duster in his dress pants pocket tucked deeply within. Frowning angrily at Gavin, he waved a finger at him, “Don’t use the Lord’s name in vain, boy!”

Grinding his back molars together in sheer irritation, Gavin’s words came out raw and clipped, “Sorry, Brother Simon.” In truth, he’d wanted to shout out: ‘fuck you, Brother Simon’.

He was amazed with himself for keeping his emotions in check as he silently headed away from the dormitories. Gavin’s cloudy, dark thoughts haunted him for the entire length of his sad journey.

Now, he really wished he’d asked Greg to come along.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Connor smiled intently and in an utmost friendly manner seated across the small table propped by the windows before Nines. Leaning into the table, his long arms were folded before himself, and he continuously kept a warm, good-natured persona, despite the heavy storm billowing and brewing outside. He hardly blinked as he said, “So, how are things with you lately, Brother Nines?”

It wasn’t a question one could simply answer. Nines was stuck. Rubbing the palms of his hands over his thighs up and down slowly, he shrugged while trying to remain nonchalant and composed. “Busy busy, Connor,” he answered in a less-than chuffed manner. It apparently seemed to be a tad out of character for him, and Connor eyed him warily as a result of it.

Tapping a few of his fingers along the smooth surface of the table, Connor’s drumming soon fell into a decent rhythm that accompanied the rain pelting the windows and rooftops outside. Rather than allowing it to ‘lull’ him into peace, Nines shifted uncomfortably in his seat. The entire time he sat before Connor, his lips and skin burned…

Damn it all.

Frowning, Connor gently shook him by the elbow. “Brother Nines?” when he had the android’s attention, he cleared his throat, already in an apologetic manner while his eyes begged for the brief permission to be granted so he could interrupt further. Nines allowed it, and he sat as still as he could while Connor’s eyes searched his.

Whatever it was that the other android was looking for, Nines didn’t want to allow him room or an opportunity to find it. Turning his head to the side, he peered around the empty store. “Closed up for the day?” he knew it was a rather silly statement-turned-question, but he had to make some kind of ‘small talk’, as ridiculous as it sounded. He’d gotten along well with Connor throughout the years, and it seemed as though the other android had grown in his talents of reading through Nines almost expertly. There wasn’t a lot he could hide from his friend, but he still wanted to.

It would be better to…

Connor gave a half-smirk before he continued drumming his fingers over the table. “Today was a pretty good day,” he stated softly, “but tomorrow will be a lot more exciting for me, Brother Nines!”

Standing up, the taller android nodded, “I see…” he made his way cautiously over towards the boxes stacked behind the store counter and check out desk. As always, whenever he’d been sent over to fetch the natural-grown produce and fruits and vegetables, Connor would always prepare them neatly in boxes and packages for him. They sat staring back at him, and seeing that sense of minor normalcy helped Nines calm down a little.

That was…until he felt Connor’s hand upon his shoulder. “Brother Nines,” he whispered in his ear, and the other android didn’t move or stir; he just listened as his eyes grew wider by the minute.

“I have wonderful news!” Connor chirped merrily, “Father Anderson called me earlier this morning, and he told me that tomorrow, he’s sending a few groups of the older boys out here for something of a ‘field trip’, Brother Nines!” his smile was practically heard directly through his excited tone. “Isn’t that delightful, Brother Nines?”

Reaching inside his coat pocket with a trembling hand, Nines wrapped his fingers around his only source of aid and comfort; the Rosary. “Y-yes, Connor,” he almost choked on his words weakly, and it frightened him to his core.

“It’s wonderful…”

He was clutching at the old Rosary cross so hard that he’d nearly snapped it in two.

Chapter Text

Nines practically burst into the school like a mad hurricane. There was indeed destruction in his wake; the door nearly chipped as he banged it against the wall, his umbrella clattered to the floors roughly, creating large, messy puddles, and his boots squeaked loudly across the floors trailing mud everywhere.

He lingered in the main hall for a few moments, and Brother Markus accompanied by Brother Simon had been descending the grand staircase leading up to the dormitories when Nines barked out at them, “Where’s Gavin Reed?”

Brother Simon and Brother Markus exchanged confused glances for a moment, and it stirred something impatient within the taller android.

“WHERE IS HE?!?!” he screamed out, and it made the Brother Markus glare at him. He was always bolder and far more aggressive than Brother Simon, and he wasn’t shy to put that on full display.

Chin held high and body posture firm and dominant, Brother Markus stood before Nines while Brother Simon hung back cowardly. His eyes darted back and forth between the two aggressive androids, and it seemed as if he was struggling with trying not to get involved, but also, it seemed like he wanted to be anywhere else except before them during such a heated and conflicting time.

With his heterochromia eyes gleaming dangerously, Brother Markus placed his hands on his hips, and he held a brave, overpowering stance Nines matched with one of his own. Dressed in all-white clothes and long, loose robes, Brother Markus and Simon looked like ghostly twins, while Nines felt his dark, rain-soaked robes clinging tightly to his own form. He trembled, though it were not due to the cold.

“Where is Gavin?” he asked again, holding his hands firmly down by his sides while Brother Markus shook his head-perhaps disapprovingly at him for it.

Though, Nines didn’t care.

Stepping up closer to the taller android, it wasn’t long before a strange, eerie smile dominated over majority of Brother Markus’ face. “What business do you have with the boy, Brother Nines?” he asked through his smile, and didn’t back down; not even when Nines hissed in a slight warning.

“My business with the student is of no concern to you whatsoever, Brother Markus,” Nines spat out in a clipped tone, “have you or have you not seen him?”

Brother Markus’ LED light color shifted to yellow; a clear warning that Nines was over-stepping his bounds and being absolutely disrespectful.

Nines still couldn’t bring himself to care. If Brother Markus wanted a challenge, he was welcome to it. However, before either of them could take things a step further, Brother Simon chimed in with, “I saw him, Brother Nines…”

Immediately, the taller android ground out impatiently, “When.” It wasn’t even presented like a question; it was a pure demand.

Brother Simon felt its effects, and he grew paler than ever. His eyes were cast down at his feet submissively, and his eyes moved back and forth quickly as he shrugged, “It was earlier, but after you’d already headed into town…”

Not caring that Brother Markus was still an obvious threat in his way, Nines pushed past the other android, and he stood before Brother Simon. The entire time he glared down at him, Brother Simon trained his eyes down on the floor, and the hallway soon grew far too thick with anger and tension. The air was heavy with it, and Brother Simon reeled from it as he remained still while he could.

Towering over the blonde-haired android, Nines hissed out again, “Tell me when, and you tell me where he went. Now.”

Perhaps it was a gesture of defiance, or perhaps it was raw fear. Either way, he took a step back, created some distance between their bodies, and then looked to Brother Markus. This infuriated Nines to no end. Shaking his head at Brother Simon, the harsh statement had already left his mouth, “Don’t look at Brother Markus; he’s not going to help you,” came the crude jab while Nines took another step towards Brother Simon. The shorter android didn’t have much room to go, now, and his back was facing the large staircase as he winced up at Nines.

“I—”

Not giving up, Nines felt his lips curling back in a silent threat. “Where did he go?”

If androids could tremble, Nines was sure that Brother Simon was about to do so. His eyes grew as round as little tennis balls, and his breath hitched in his throat, “I…”

Feeling a hand upon his shoulder suddenly, Nines was momentarily startled, and he spun around in time to face Father Anderson. “Ahh! My Brothers!” the older man cried out in glee, “I’m so very glad you’re all gathered here in one place; it makes my collecting you all a lot easier!”

Hating that he’d been interrupted, Nines studied the priest dressed in all-black clothing that had been freshly washed and ironed. His presence had been the most incongruous element in this quest for the answers and truth, and to add to being interrupted midway had been nothing short of excruciating. Nines felt his hands slipping down to his sides, and in no time, he’d tucked them deeply within the confines of his wet coat pockets.

Where was it?

“Father Anderson?” Brother Markus smiled lightly, “is there something going on?”

Trying not to explode in sheer panic, Nines fumbled around within his pockets, his fingers fishing and swiping along the depth and width of the fabric as only one thing on his mind span and swam about. Soon, his thoughts turned messy, and he awkwardly moved towards the banister of the staircase while Father Anderson clasped his hands together and beamed at them all brightly.

“We need to all have a chat,” he announced, “and I thought to myself: there’s no better time for a group chat than during my dinner time!!” Motioning down the hall with a hand, he said, “Please, if you’ll all follow me to my private headquarters, I’d appreciate conversing there.”

While the other two androids obeyed silently, Nines hung back, pressing himself against a wall while his LED light blinked yellow on and off rapidly. Inside, he was panicking, and his fingers and hand wove around in his right pocket while his chin and jaw quivered.

Where.

Was.

It.

Did he drop it in the town???

Oh God, please no…

Closing his eyes, he dug around in his pockets some more, and he’d been about to open his mouth and yell loudly for the entire school to hear when he’d finally found it.

It was still here with him. It was never going to leave…

Fingers wrapping around the tiny, solid object, he was able to confirm its presence, and he calmed down enough to open his eyes.

“Brother Nines?” Father Anderson had moved down the hall, but he turned and called out to him over his shoulder.

Bowing his head like his Android Brothers-declaration ever made, they seemed to get his point across perfectly well. It was time to follow Father Anderson.

“Sorry, Father.”

His whisper had gone unheard.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin sat cooped up in the school’s library all alone while trying to read and distract himself with a random book. He’d used it as a means of pushing all thoughts of Brother Nines out of his head. He wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but he needed to give it a try while a portion of his logical sanity still lingered about within himself. That same specific logical thought told him that there was something terribly wrong with desiring Brother Nines; wanting Brother Nines to touch him again, and that wanting to be with Brother Nines was the ultimate thought of sheer madness.

But Gavin was well aware that his thoughts and hopes were soon blossoming into that very particular desire. Things had spun out of control, it seemed, and it wasn’t too long before he felt he was obsessing over the damn android more than he should have been. This was his own fault, however. He knew he’d never been able to pursue many friends-with-benefits types of situations because either way, his stupid feelings would latch onto that person and grow.

As such, this was now the mess he’d created for himself; the hole he’d fallen deeply into.

But it wasn’t entirely all his fault…it was that stupid kiss!!

Remembering it now, Gavin again felt his lower and upper lips sizzling and tingling with hot desire, and he rubbed them lightly with a few fingers, just as he had in the dormitory earlier. He simply was unable to cease repeating how that entire ordeal had even gone down. One minute, Nines had been bringing him to a sensational orgasm, and the next minute, he’d kissed the taller android…

The memories were all a strange dream, perhaps, and he was content with leaving it at that…but no, Nines had kissed him back. Sure as daylight beaming through his eyes brightly, Nines had truly kissed him back soundly. It’d been a brief kiss, but it’d been a deep kiss nonetheless, and Gavin had barely started to enjoyed it when the android sent him away out of a fear of being caught.

It’d been their first kiss, and it was delightful…he wanted more.

Confusion was necessary in this stage of his young life, but he felt he didn’t want to deal with that now, which was why he’d been trying to lose himself in a good book. Unfortunately, his brain didn’t allow it, nor did his body. Just thinking about the kiss made him almost fully hard in seconds, and he had to clench his thighs tightly together while fidgeting in his seat by the window.

How uncomfortable it all truly felt, indeed.

Perhaps he should have a chat with Nines?

Mulling it over to himself while his eyes remained frozen on a spot above the book he held on his lap, Gavin hardly heard Greg approaching him from behind carefully. Only when the younger boy had seated himself beside Gavin’s spot at the window did the older teenager glance up.

“Greg?” he sighed, “so you followed me after all…” he sounded a bit disappointed, and it caused the other boy to wince a little before he brushed himself off.

“Err, yes Gavin,” he responded lightly, “what’cha doin’ anyway?”

Rolling his eyes, Gavin held his book up, and Greg snickered, “Oh.”

“Yeah…”

“Right…”

The silence that followed had truly been awkward.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

“Oh come now, Brother Markus! Don’t be shy!” Father Anderson chuckled politely as he sat back at his kitchen table, “pour the wine!!”

All the Android Brothers had been gathered together in Father Anderson’s private kitchen, and they sat about the long table while the older man feasted and dined. He’d been served nothing short of the best; roast duck covered and coated in honey, the meat tender and glazed over, accompanied by a side-dish of baked potatoes, steamed carrots, cranberry sauce, as well as buckets of expensive, fancy wine.

Nines glared down at the age-old bottle of the stuff shipped in from Italy many years ago, and as Brother Markus popped off the cork, Brother Josh produced a fancy wine glass and helped Brother Markus pour in the expensive beverage. It wasn’t long after the glass had been filled that Father Anderson tipped his head back and downed it all in one gulp. He held his napkin up to his lips, wiping the seam of them clean gently as he then placed it onto his lap.

Eyes swimming around the length of the table and over the androids all seated closely next to him, he cleared his throat; an indicator he was going to be announcing some ‘big’ news…

“I have arranged an outing of sorts for the boys,” he announced, and then Brother Ralph brought over from the microwave a freshly heated bowl of corn. Melting butter he’d collected from the old fridge over it, he spread it evenly around, and then placed the steaming hot bowl before Father Anderson. The man’s eyes glazed over with more raw hunger, and he forked one corn onto his plate hurriedly. “Moreover,” he continued in between bites, as though this was the only time ever he’d been able to eat, “I would still encourage discipline on this trip; the boys aren’t allowed to behave like a menagerie of zoo animals just because they’re not on school grounds.”

They all hung their heads low in obeisance, “Yes, Father.”

Bits of corn flew forth from his mouth; some of it got stuck on his beard, while other tiny pieces flew down over his plate or near his lap, but still, Father Anderson continued. “I expect the boys to be on their best behavior, as they’re representing our school, our teachings, our wisdom, and our community, under the good graces of God.”

Once again, the androids could only nod in silence, and that silence seemed to linger and hang in the air while Father Anderson finished his meal. Though he took his time with it, Nines felt eyes on himself, and as he cast his glare across the table where it seemed to be coming from, he saw Brother Markus eyeing him angrily.

Glaring soundly back, he held onto his Rosary tightly beneath the table. In fact, he’d held onto it so tightly and firmly, that he failed to notice the wood slightly developing a crack as a result of the intense and immense pressure bestowed upon it.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

“What’re you thinking about?”

“Hmm?”

Greg snorted, eyeing Gavin up and down cautiously as they paced around the empty, barren library. “You’re distracted, Gavin,” he factually pointed out, “what’s on your mind?”

Shrugging, Gavin only answered with, “Nothing.”

Greg didn’t buy it at all. Choosing to hound Gavin to no end, he followed him closely around the library, whispering out questions non-stop. “You’re thinking about Brother Nines, aren’t you?” it came out more like an accusation as opposed to a question, and Gavin got on the defensive immediately upon hearing it.

Glaring at Greg, he shook his head back and forth wildly. “Don’t be a perv, Greg,” insulting the other boy didn’t seem to help; Greg only seemed more suspicious, now.

Pointing his finger into Gavin’s nose, practically, he laughed out sarcastically, “Oh my god! You actually fancy the bloke???” He made a disgusted facial expression in that moment, then, and Gavin shoved him a bit roughly.

“Oh fuck y—”

Greg didn’t let him finish, “Is that why you can’t accept me, Gavin?”

Was it??

Was he even in love with Nines???

He didn’t think so…surely he wasn’t…he was just badly confused, and Greg’s accusations made it all worse. He’d been confused ever since he’d stepped foot into the school, but to proclaim he was ‘in love’ would be an absolute. The only absolute Gavin held within his mind was that he was beyond confused, and staying and chatting with Greg was making it all worse. He needed answers; not accusations.

Unfortunately, his silence had been interpreted the wrong way by Greg, and he stomped a foot down on the floor and gasped, “Holy shite…you are in love with Brother Nines…” the words spilled forth painfully from his lips, and they slammed into Gavin icily. He felt chills running up and down his spine, and he trembled as he took many steps away from Greg.

The younger male was spurred on by this, and he crept closer to Gavin, his finger still extended into Gavin’s nose. “Tell me it’s not true, Gavin,” he panted out desperately, “please tell me it’s not—”

“Mr. Reed, Mr. Jefferson,” a deep growl interrupted them from the entrance to the library suddenly, causing both teenagers to freeze up. Nines practically floated silently over towards them where they stood, and he scowled at the raised hand and finger Greg had pointed before Gavin’s face. “Lower your hand at once, Mr. Jefferson,” Nines spat at him in a low warning before glaring at Gavin, next. “I require your assistance, Mr. Reed…” turning away from them then, he called out, “Mr. Reed, shall we?”

Tossing Greg a heated scowl of his own, Gavin ruffled his messy mop of hair atop his skull before following Nines and whispering out to his friend, “I’ll be back later.”

“Fine,” Greg growled at Gavin’s back, “I won’t wait up.”

“Good.”

Nearly crashing into Nines’ back since the tall android stopped so abruptly, Gavin leapt away in fear. Nines was frowning deeply at him, and his eyes glowed with anger and hatred, suddenly. It hurt to see it, but it was all he could stare and look at while his brain and ears told him that Greg had already made his way past them and over towards the exit. He slammed the doors behind himself once he’d exited, and Nines sneered at Gavin. “Trouble during your honeymoon phase?” he spat out sarcastically.

Gavin threw back just as poisonously, “If you have something to say to me, just say it right here and now; I don’t have patience for this shi—”

“Silence, you menace,” Nines jeered down at him, turning back around quickly as he spat softly, “we’re going outside, now.”

It was all fine by Gavin. As long as he got answers, Nines could take him to the moon for all he cared. He kept up the pace, hurrying alongside the android until they’d finally traded hard floors for soft grass and mud outside in the wilderness.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

They only stopped walking when the school was hardly in view many yards away. It resembled a mere dot on the horizon, and the cloudy skies seemed to hide and shield them as they crouched down low in the thick, tall blades of grass and cattails near the lake. Nines sat down first, making sure to select a spot that the rain hadn’t yet touched. They’d located a good spot beneath a large Elm Wych tree, and the darkness the thick, low-hanging branches and leaves provided seemed to relax both Gavin and Nines. Neither of them said a word to one another for a long time; they were merely sitting side-by-side looking out over the grand lake.

It was too silent for Gavin after ten minutes, and he rolled his palms over his knees as he drew them up against his chest. It was now or never, and he’d decided to throw all caution into the wind. He’d wasted enough time already, and he’d wanted to at least have his thoughts and feelings heard out before anything else or anyone else interrupted them.

“I think I’m in love with you, you idiot,” he said, not stopping to think about the words before he said them. And while they perhaps weren’t the most romantic declaration ever made, they seemed to get his point across perfectly well.

Nines froze for a moment, then turned around slowly to face him, “That is not possible.” He sounded almost angry.

The wind picked up a little, causing large ripples and odd patterns to form over the smooth surface of the lake. Gavin studied the shapes and motions for a while and then sighed as he simply and helplessly shrugged, “I don’t know; it’s just how I feel.”

“You said: ‘I think’,” Nines snapped, his temples tightening and LED light yellow, “you’re confused.”

Being dismissed so easily upset Gavin, and the teenager set his jaw stubbornly, feeling well-acquainted with the self-condemning obstinacy of one Brother Nines. “It’s not like that,” he immediately protected himself, “don’t tell me what I’m feeling; I’m so sick and tired of people making decisions about my life without asking for my opinion,” he said, more hotly than he’d intended. “If you don’t feel the same about me, now’s the time to let me know instead of making a jackass out of me, okay?”

Nines glared at him, but said nothing.

Softening slightly, Gavin hung his head apologetically. He felt like he was trying to keep a wild animal from bolting, so he stopped looking over at Nines. “How I developed feelings for you wasn’t your fault,” he said quietly, not holding Nines’ gaze, and he’d missed the questionable pleasure of watching that stone-faced façade crack wide open before Nines’ eyes fluttered closed, blocking his view of the turmoil churning in their depths.

Grunting at him, Nines moved to lie back, “Perhaps you bit off more than you could chew, Gavin,” he couldn’t help but snicker, “there’s a major difference between fucking and loving.”

The teenager’s dark brown eyebrows clenched tightly on his brow ridge. “I believe that you believe that!” he cried out, obviously hurt. Suddenly, given how dismissive and apathetic Nines was being about this, Gavin found he felt an overwhelming surge of anger toward the android seated next to him for ever putting them in this situation; for forcing his heart to make the choice he’d made on the night Gavin had fallen prey to Nines’ physical touches and kisses. Regardless, Gavin supposed he hadn’t been the only victim on that night, and it was plain to see how it even affected the dour android.

Since Nines hadn’t answered him yet, Gavin permitted himself to continue.

Tearing up bits of grass in his fingers, he hissed, “What’s wrong with developing feelings for someone you’re fucking?” he pointed out firmly, willing and wanting for Nines to believe it as well. Perhaps then he wouldn’t feel so alone if Nines also agreed…

Nines merely hummed, and then stretched out his long legs before himself. He still didn’t lie down entirely on his back; he merely rested on the back of his elbows while holding his head up to gaze around at the natural beauties surrounding them. Once or twice, a butterfly flew by quickly, and it helped lighten the mood and cheer Gavin up marginally.

The young teen felt somehow lighter than air as he leaned forward to close the distance between them. Nines turned to peek over at him, and the moment he did, Gavin pressed their lips together in a very chaste, soft kiss. He felt Nines gasp as their lips touched, eyes opening wide and almost terrified looking against the sallowness of his face. The kiss was light, tentatively chaste; the slightest brush of parted lips, breathing deeply of each other’s breath, there and then gone. Gavin closed his eyes and sighed when it was done.

Nines’ hand lifted to rest on the curve of his waist, almost as if he wanted to push the teenager away. “Gavin,” he whispered again, and there was a heavy undertone to his voice now; something dark and smoky that rasped like sandpaper across Gavin’s skin, making him shiver and anticipate chasing down something so carnal it made him heat up at the thought of it.

He rested a weary hand on Nines’ chest to steady himself, feeling awed by the warm, steady thumping that beat against his palm. Nines stared down at him for a moment longer, then shook his head, “You should not waste your affections on me; it’s an utterly foolish move.”

“It’s my choice who I decide to ‘waste my affections’ on,” Gavin told him in a polite way. “Right?”

My choice. The words seemed to hover in the air between them.

Nines let his breath out in a harsh sigh that tickled the skin of Gavin’s face. “Yes,” he agreed, in a voice that grated like muted gravel. He leaned down to press their foreheads together, tightening his fingers around Gavin’s waist.

“Yessss,” Gavin echoed softly, feeling his eyelids go heavy as Nines bent down to kiss him.

He couldn’t stop himself from trembling, but Nines was moving so slowly, so carefully, tensed to react to the slightest sign of discomfort. Gavin curled his fingers in the fabric of Nines’ robes and gave his consent in the deliberate way he relaxed into the older man’s embrace.

And it felt good; to be held this way, to be kissed this way. Nothing like what he’d experienced the last time he and Nines had been this close together. Warm lips sliding over his, dry and rasping, and the faintest, tentative touch of a tongue against his own. Warm and moist and sweet and safe and good, good, good.

The kiss ended, and he felt a tremulous breath stir his hair as Nines drew back to rest his cheek against the top of his head.

“I want to be closer to you,” Gavin whispered, burrowing close against Nines’ chest. The arms around him felt so good he didn’t want them to ever let go. Glancing up curiously at Nines, he smiled through his question, “Do you want the same thing, Nines?”

“Yes,” Nines said again, just as quietly. He traced a hand over Gavin’s hair, curling trembling fingers around the back of his skull. “It’s all I want even right now at this moment…”

Very gently, the android pushed Gavin down to lie on his back. Gavin’s eyes were wide and dilated as they stared up at him, his skin covered with a thin sheen of sweat. He’d been overheating with lust, obviously. There was no telling what he wanted to say to Nines, for he was feeling and sensing a million things at once. Their eyes met, but for how long it would last was another issue. Gavin looked away first, but it was because he felt spidery and wiry fingers unbuttoning his shirt.

His hands gripped Nines’ and he hissed, “Wait…” shaking, he then stammered out, “wh-what’re you d-doing?”

Nines paused in his motions, and he smiled lightly, “I’m only doing what’s natural, Gavin.” He continued with unbuttoning the rest of the teenager’s shirt, but when Gavin tossed him a very concerned look once more, Nines gently pressed a hand right above the younger male’s beating heart. “You needn’t be worried,” he assured softly, pushing the shirt’s lapels open and revealing Gavin’s creamy white skin, “I’m only going to leave it half-off, okay?”

Nodding slowly, Gavin swallowed a gulp and shielded his nervousness and anxiety by hiding his face against the android’s neck. “Okay…” He hated to admit it, but Nines’ touch felt wonderful. He wasn’t going to be able to ask the android to stop anytime soon.

As the seconds ticked by, Gavin felt himself almost getting drunk off the touching. Not that it would do either of them an iota of good if he’d been completely alert and lucid; in fact, his disoriented state might even be a blessing now when he considered the fact that they were currently fooling around in an open field.

Not once feeling troubled enough to slow down, Nines pulled both of Gavin’s wrists over his head and transferred his grip on them to a single hand. Gavin twitched under him, moaning softly, and twisted his head to one side. Did Nines even know how embarrassingly-yet powerfully he was touching him? Would it make things better or worse for him if he did?

Forcing himself not to think about it, Gavin didn’t move when Nines reached below to slide down the front of his undone uniform pants before he closed his fingers over the clasp of his own trousers. God. What he was about to do was crazy, but what else could he do? They had their chance now, and even though Gavin wanted for this to be happening in another time and in another place, he didn’t move while he allowed Nines to continue. Swallowing down the surge of nausea that rose in him, he felt Nines pull open the front of his trousers with a sharp, angry motion that made him cry out and twist to get away from Nines for a moment, panic blossoming in his eyes. And damn it if he felt that what Nines wanted to do right here wasn’t right at all; he was trying to make this easier on them both, not torment them further.

“Gavin,” he whispered, wishing desperately that he dared offer some word of comfort. “Gavin, damn it...”

Somehow, he managed to subdue Gavin’s struggles without relinquishing his grip on him, and Nines let out a breath of relief, knowing that the boy was watching him closely. He didn’t want to hurt Gavin, but he couldn’t be gentle with him, either. God, where was his sense of control? Nines was quite willing at this point to sell the soul he knew he didn’t have for the almighty power to be able to have God Himself stop him or to make a timely appearance and have full effect on him.

Gavin’s eyes were focused wide-eyed on Nines’, and a sea of emotions passed over those eyes while he arched up into Nines’ strong body. Nines could feel the fear trembling from Gavin through his limbs, setting up a fine vibration that worked its way up into Nines’ body where it lay on top of him. Wanting to distract the boy, he leaned down over Gavin’s face to draw his attention, at once cursing and feeling grateful for the anonymity of the mask he wore as they engaged in this.

“Are you—”

“I don’t mind,” Gavin hurriedly pressed out while closing his eyes tightly, “just…be careful.”

Still somehow able to feel those wild blue eyes on himself, Nines sighed as he tugged Gavin’s trousers completely down over his hips. He wanted further reassurance from the teenager, but whatever Gavin had vocalized seemed to be all he could offer for the time being while he lay pliant in Nines’ arms.

At once, the teenager’s eyes opened, and Nines found himself closing his eyes to block out the bright shine of betrayal in Gavin’s eyes as he did what he had to do. Stall. Prevaricate. Time was life.

And it really shouldn’t feel as good as this, having all that smooth skin sliding under his palm. Flat stomach, slender hips, lean thighs shaped by years of riding a bike and working out. Such warm, young skin; unmarked by anything more serious than the occasional soccer or football pitfall and blunder. Innocent in a way that…that he had never been. There was a sense of the forbidden to this that had nothing to do with the misfortune of their circumstances.

And finally, warm flesh at the heart of him, slick with sweat and heat, responding to Nines’ touch despite the horror that thrummed through them both. While the sky darkened ever so slightly, Gavin let out a gasp that sounded pained, even though Nines’ touch was tender. Nines gentled him with a whisper, hating himself even as he did it. There was no comfort to be found for either of them here, no matter how much Nines willed and wished for it.

Before a moment’s time, Nines had partially undressed himself, and as the branches swayed lazily in the wind above their heads, he hurriedly exposed himself from the confines of his robe. A few brief tugs to his own traitorous flesh, and he was ready. It shouldn’t be as easy as this, should it? Somehow, he thought it shouldn't be as easy as this. Peering down at Gavin, he saw that the teenager’s cock was hard now, betrayed by Nines’ hand, but this would go easier for him if he were beyond aroused when it happened. Nines could feel Gavin’s eyes burning a hole in his forehead when he glared up at him, quietly assessing.

He brought his hand up to his mouth and spat into it, wanting to give Gavin at least some lubrication. His fingers felt cold around his cock as he massaged the spit over his aching flesh. God, he didn’t want to do this…he didn’t want it and wanted it at the same time, and the contradiction was a torment all its own. Gavin had fallen quiet beneath him, and Nines was afraid to open his eyes to see what his face looked like, what his eyes looked like.

A shift of hips here and there, and as Nines pressed himself against Gavin, the younger male breathed out evenly, “Do it.”

He didn’t need to hear anything else; he’d already moved forward as he made up his mind.

So good, feeling himself sink into that sweet, young body. And it shouldn’t feel that good, as bright as pain, and Gavin had clenched up around him, breath stilling entirely as his body arched uselessly to get away, no doubt from the pain of the first-time intrusion. Nines tightened his grip on him and reached for Gavin’s cock, soothing him through the first painful shock of it and whispering urgent commands for him to relax, to stop fighting it, or he’d tear himself apart.

So sweet as he slid inside. So slow, so careful. He stilled so he wouldn’t further hurt him, to not tear him, and God forbid make him bleed. Nines sighed, feeling a sense of profound relief when Gavin finally relaxed under him, falling quiescent once again. Slow slide in, and out, and god, he really ought to hate himself for feeling this good, for taking any kind of pleasure out of this at all. He let go of Gavin’s wrists and slid his arm under Gavin’s shoulders, cradling his head away from the punishing hardness of the grassy grounds.

As he moved, he was certain that he felt the unsure-yet steady rhythmic pressing of hips against his own, almost enrapturing him in a dance and a sexual masquerade. He never wanted for it to end as long as Gavin kept moving in that particular manner. It was delicious…

“That’s it,” he whispered, feeling as if something dark and wild were trying to claw its way out of his chest. It hurt, and he choked it down with an effort, fighting the urge to scream aloud. Gavin felt so fragile underneath him, so fragile and fucking young and fuck, he couldn’t stop now if he tried. Desperately, he pulled at Gavin’s hard cock, wanting him to get something out of this other than pain and humiliation, wanting to distract him from the reality of what was happening to him, even if it was only for one brief moment. Too soon the moment would be over, he feared, and he didn’t want to leave them both with such a bitter after-taste associated with the memory of what happened here.

What was happening??

Stopping to consider this in his thoughts, Nines felt Gavin sobbing and gasping-perhaps in a mixture of pain and pleasure-beneath him while he buried himself deeper within the tight young body beneath himself. To chase after that without a second’s thought was in his instinct, and he obeyed it as he quickened the pace.

It wasn’t long before an orgasm struck with impossible intensity, stealing Nines’ breath away, and he was barely aware of Gavin’s body bucking under his, coating his fingers with a blood-warm slickness that seemed to literally pull a scream from Gavin’s throat. Nines huddled over him, not wanting to let go, not wanting to admit that his attempt at stalling the demons within himself had been in vain. Gavin’s savior hadn’t arrived, and there was nothing to save all thoughts of Gavin’s innocence and purity as Nines divested the last bits of it while still mercilessly sliding himself inside Gavin before he knew he couldn’t take it anymore.

Knowing he couldn’t hold onto Gavin like this forever, not if he wanted either one of them to live to see the morning and not be caught. Slowly, Nines pulled out of Gavin’s body-so slow, so careful, so he wouldn’t hurt him-and carefully set Gavin’s head back down on the grass first, followed by the rest of his body. He opened his own eyes finally, but he found that Gavin’s eyes were closed, his face slack, shielding whatever he was feeling. The sight of him struck like a blow deep into Nines’ chest, spearing him with a strange emotion he couldn’t identify.

Shaking Gavin, he hissed out softly, “Yes, I was the one to do this to you, but think upon who it was that seduced me into this!”

Reluctantly, he drew back and closed up his own trousers after yanking them up, concealing himself behind the loose fall of his robes once again. He couldn’t take his eyes away from Gavin’s flushed face; the boy’s eyes finally opened, and he let out a pained sob. His limbs fell and gathered at his sides, and he rolled over while fumbling for his clothes. His fingers slipped each and every time, and Nines scoffed at him as he pushed his hair back.

When he couldn’t take the pathetic sight of Gavin trying to dress himself while in obviously great amounts of pain, Nines helped him through it. Holding Gavin up against his body, he got one leg of the pants on, and then the next. Gavin swayed the entire time, but he held onto Nines’ shoulder as he hissed and winced whenever he tried moving his legs.

Bending over him, Nines placed a hand down the center of his back. “We can’t stay here,” he warned, “make haste.”

Falling in line behind the android, Gavin limped a few steps, but then had to stop. “I can’t!” he cried out painfully in a wheeze, “I’m hurt!”

“Oh for Pete’s sake…” swiftly turning around, Nines grabbed onto Gavin’s right hand, and in a hurry, he gathered the boy up into his arms. Swinging his legs over his chest and opposite hand, he cradled him bridal style, and sped towards the back of the school without another thought.

When he felt Gavin’s eyes lingering on him for too long, Nines spat out, “Don’t forget, Gavin, you wanted this just as much as I did.”

As embarrassed as he was in his current predicament, Gavin found himself already saying, “Yes, I know; I wanted it.”

He wasn’t sure how much he truly meant his words, however.

Chapter Text

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” Gavin sighed out as he sat in the confession booth once again while Father Anderson listened. “It’s been a week since my last confession, and I just had to get this off my chest before I went on the class trip to the town.”

“What seems to be wrong, my child?” came the priest’s gentle voice.

Knowing there were a hundred different ways to answer that question, Gavin truly was stuck. But he knew time wasn’t on his side, and he searched around the small confession booth while clearing his throat.

But where to start???

‘Forgive me Father, for I engaged in sexual relations with an android of this religious school?’ ‘Forgive me Father, for I think I am gay or at the very least, bi-curious?’ or perhaps: ‘Forgive me Father, for I had outdoor sex for the first time on school grounds and kind of enjoyed it?’

He had no idea, but he knew that either way, this wasn’t good at all, and he really was knee-deep in a grave he’d dug for himself. However, blaming himself wasn’t the wisest move right now, and he could almost feel Father Anderson’s blue-grey eyes coldly sweeping over his form.

Coughing up an answer closely resembling what had happened to him earlier outside, he let out quickly in a jumbled mess of a response, “Ihadsexualthoughtsaboutaguy.”

It appeared as though Father Anderson hadn’t heard him properly the first time. “I beg your pardon, my child?”

Rolling his eyes impatiently, Gavin hissed out, “I had sexual thoughts about a guy!”

The silence that followed afterwards had been indeed painfully awkward, but Father Anderson sighed something about ‘sexual deviancy and the devil’, warned Gavin about the sanctity of marriage and heterosexual relationships, and then blessed and forgave Gavin. If the teenager didn’t know any better, he assumed that the reason why he hadn’t received a huge lecture today from the older priest was only because of the school trip. Either way, Gavin felt truly blessed, for once, and as he ran out of the chapel feeling far less ‘dirty’, he nearly ran into Greg and Mackenzie, who were also no doubt heading inside for their own confessions.

Nodding up at his friends, Gavin greeted them briefly, “Sup, guys?”

Only Mackenzie returned his smile, and while Greg avoided all eye-contact, Mackenzie only sighed out in exhaustion, “Gotta do right, I suppose, and Brother Simon encouraged us to come here and get ‘er dun for da Lord’”, he sang out in a stupid, silly tune.

Gavin snorted, “Err, right,” wanting to avoid the awkwardness that ensued, he got out of their way, waving ‘goodbye’ at them while Father Anderson cleared his throat impatiently.

Deciding instead to head to his dormitory and clean up a bit before the trip, Gavin timed his activities, and he found that he had just about enough time to get his own laundry done, too.

Great.

The only problem was he had no idea where the laundry room was, and he’d heard that everyone was required to obtain permission before washing their clothes. So be it. He found he didn’t mind that; it meant he would have to take a short trip and stop by Nines’ office.

A smile was upon his face during the course of his journey.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin knocked on the half-open office door, and he’d peeked into it to observe Brother Nines holding music sheets in his lap, and a pencil in between his fingers as he looked over the music and made necessary markings to it.

“Come in,” he softly called out, and Gavin didn’t wait a second longer. Hurrying inside the office, he found it to be a lot smaller than Father Anderson’s, but much of the same layout. Old, dark chandeliers hung from the ceiling, high bookcases lined up along the walls, and it seemed rather dull, even for Nines’ school office. In comparison to his private office and bedroom, it seemed to be a lot more organized and cleaner, except the floors lacked the old rugs Gavin had found in Nines’ private office and bedroom floors. He could practically see his own reflection in the floorboards, and he proudly looked up at Nines as the android marked something down over the music sheets.

“Hey,” Gavin greeted him politely, and Nines merely grunted. Curious, the teenager inched over towards him, and he peered down at the music sheets. “What’re you doin’?”

Glancing up slowly at him, Nines pointed the tip of his pencil over the pages, “Edits for Brother Ralph’s musical accompaniment to that God-forsaken play of his,” he answered plainly as a dull expression crossed over his features. Studying Gavin intently for a moment, he whispered neutrally, “Are you alright?”

Gavin raised a brow, “Hmm?”

“Your body,” Nines emphasized, staring intently at Gavin from the chest down, “is it alright?”

Oh.

Blushing furiously once he understood the implications, Gavin quickly nodded, as though trying to move on from the topic. “Jesus,” he ground out while his cheeks turned even redder, “yeah…I’m…I’m not that great, but I suspect that it’s always like that during your first time!”

Nines scowled, “It’s not your ‘first time’, you little—”

“My first time with a guy, yes!” Gavin swiftly corrected, eyes set firmly on Nines’.

The android silenced himself once he saw how serious Gavin was, and he merely held his music sheets tightly and then piled them neatly on top of each other. Standing up from his seat, he placed them into a dark folder, and then carefully closed it and let it rest upon an old desk close to the door. As he stood with his back turned towards Gavin, the teenager sighed out wearily as he stomped a foot down firmly.

“Don’t ignore me, please…”

Still refusing to turn around, Nines spat out, “What is it you want?”

Gavin glared at him then, “Ouch…” he hissed sarcastically before taking a step towards Nines, “can you please just turn around and look at me for a moment?” He couldn’t believe he was begging, but Nines was making everything so difficult that he felt he had no other choice but to grovel and plead.

It worked; Nines turned around shortly before eyeing Gavin with slight annoyance in his eyes. It hurt the teenager to see such a look upon his lover’s face, but he pushed forth with his courage as he held his hands together tightly. He was sweating all over, and he was beyond nervous as he half-giggled out, “This is gonna sound so stupid, but I think you should hear me out…”

Nines nodded, “I’m listening.”

Gavin breathed out in relief, “Okay, cool,” now, the difficult part had been out of the way, but he still knew he was taking a huge risk even wanting to ask what he’d held in his mind and heart all along since he’d given himself to Nines. While the tall android waited patiently, Gavin felt his heart racing, and he had to calm himself down before he foolishly blurted something crazy out. Counting to three seemed to do the trick and help, and he gathered his breath while his eyes were trained solely on Nines. “I would like for us to maybe just start seein’ each other only…” It sounded a lot stranger out loud hearing it, and he nearly was able to follow it with: ‘forget it’ when he saw Nines casting him a set of confused glances.

After some time spent painfully in silence, Nines whispered back, “You want us to become an official couple?”

Relieved he understood him, Gavin nodded eagerly, “Yes, like…” he sighed as he shrugged, “I want you to only have sex with me.”

“That’s what I’m doing, isn’t it?” came the cold, dull response in the form of a question that was quite obvious, all things considered.

Chuckling nervously, Gavin nodded yet again, “Yeah, but—”

“This isn’t the time nor the place,” Nines interrupted, “and I’m pretty sure you’ve come here not only to discuss this issue right now.”

Very accurate.

“You’re right,” Gavin coughed out, “I actually wanted to know if I have permission to—God, this sounds so fucked up, doesn’t it?” he let out a dry laugh, tugging back his bangs between his fingers as he shook his head, “may I wash my damn clothes?”

Meeting his eyes wearily, Nines nodded curtly, “You may.” Curling a finger forward, he beckoned Gavin towards himself. As the teenager approached, he saw a few sets of old, dark keys hanging on a small hook resting in the wall above the desk Nines stood by. Pulling one of the rusty keys off the hook, Nines studied it for a moment while casting his eyes downwards.

Gavin wagered, “Laundry room key?”

“Hmm,” fishing it out from the rest, Nines began walking out of the office, down the hall, and towards an old stairwell on the other side of the dining hall. Gavin assumed this old stairwell with chipped walls and old paint was going to lead down into the laundry room.

He wasn’t wrong; in no time, after descending not even ten small steps, he found a dark door that had been obviously locked and shut tightly. Holding onto the old, golden door handle, Nines unlocked it, and he held the heavy door open for Gavin. Walking in first, Gavin dragged a bag holding his filthy clothes, and he stopped randomly before a long row of old-fashioned washing machines.

Running his hand along them, he whistled, “Hoooooly hell Nines!” he then tapped the square-shaped, top lid of one, “these babies are probably thirty-five years old, huh?”

Grabbing a box off a shelf, Nines brought over the laundry detergent, bleach, and placed them all before Gavin on top of the washing machine. “I don’t know, Gavin,” he answered with some discomfort in his voice, and it made Gavin’s smile drop.

“Hey,” he whispered in concern as he leaned against the taller male, “what’s wrong?” Watching as Nines’ eyes grew cold and stern for a moment, Gavin found himself feeling even more worried. When Nines didn’t answer him, he asked, “Have I done something wrong?”

Shaking his head once, Nines opened his mouth to answer, but then seized up like a wild hare in the meadows and fields when alerted to the presence of danger or a threat.

“Nines?” Gavin reached out to touch him, but Nines practically bolted.

“Someone’s coming,” came the hiss of an answer, and Gavin sighed in anger and frustration when he saw a shadow lingering in the tiny space that was the bottom step right before the end of the stairwell and door.

Feet dragged themselves slowly and heavily along the floor, and then Reese Carter stood right in the doorway. The boy did a double take in shock and surprise when he peeked inside the laundry room and found Nines and Gavin standing near the old washing machines. Frowning at Gavin especially, his cheeks flared up, his ears turned pink, and he ground his lower jaw along the upper one while his eyes turned dark with fury.

Nines cleared his throat before scowling heatedly at Reese, as if the other boy suddenly were a menace or problem. “What’re you doing, Mr. Carter?” Nines hissed out at him, and the question was venomous enough to make Gavin cringe as a result.

Reese wasn’t all too happy hearing it either, and he held up an old, brown wooden basket while continuously seething at Nines.

The android rolled his eyes at the current display. “You should know that you require permission before you trapeze inside any room in this school, Mr. Carter,” moving away from Gavin, he hissed over his shoulder, “I’ll permit it for now, but consider this a warning. Good day.” After that, he was gone.

Watching him as he left, Gavin a horrible tugging sensation at the pit of his stomach, but before he could do anything else, Reese huffed at him and then shoved him aside rudely.

“Move along, pillock,” he spat, “I’m using this bloody machine since you’re clearly incapable of starting it up yourself.” Slamming his basket down on top of it, he didn’t look back to see Gavin eyeing him with mild contempt before he sighed.

The boys stood side-by-side while they started their neighboring washing machines up. They loaded in their dirty clothes, and then made to sit down on the chairs lined up across the washing machines. The clothes spun around and around as the cycle began, the water pouring down as the suds and detergent turned into foam and bubbles that grew with every motion the machine made.

Closing his eyes before he got dizzy, Gavin made a mental note to ensure that he had something to eat before the afternoon field trip. Reese was seated next to him, and it’d been nothing but terribly awkward silence between them both as the machines bounced and swirled. It’d all been going well, when suddenly, Gavin’s washing machine bounced particularly loudly and roughly, and it rocked and swayed violently. The noises coming from the machine frightened the teenager, and he leapt up to his feet, running towards the machine while water leaked from the bottom of it.

“The hell!??!” he jumped out of the way as the machine bounced, and he soon heard a soft sigh.

“That machine’s always doing that,” Reese explained in a tired drawl, and he moved past Gavin, stood before the machine, and grabbed both sides of it tightly. “Just move it back in place, give it a hard tap…or kick, and it usually rights itself out, I find.” He demonstrated by actually following through with that. First, Reese shoved the washing machine further back, resulting in the noises and swaying to decrease. Then, he kneed it twice right in the center, and it had grown completely silent.

Turning back to Gavin, he nodded, clearly proud of his own actions. “There; it’s all balanced, now.” He went to go sit back down, then, but Gavin got in his way and stopped him.

Not understanding what exactly had motivated him to do such a bold thing, Gavin froze at the same time Reese did. Apparently, the younger boy had been wondering why Gavin had done this as well, and he took a step back as he eyed Gavin with mild discomfort and contempt.

“Errr…” Gavin coughed, “…I just wanted to thank you for helping me…you know…” he was aware of how awkward this all sounded, but he wasn’t rude enough to just remain quiet when Reese had actually helped him out.

The other boy’s facial expression turned slightly confused at first, but then it softened. It almost seemed as if he actually didn’t mind being thanked. His eyebrows rose up, and the corners of his mouth turned upwards...though he didn’t smile. He merely stared at Gavin with wide eyes for the longest time that remained open, but then, as if by a miracle alone, he blinked.

Perhaps he was blinking back his confused state, but he soon ‘snapped’ out of it and sighed as he frowned lightly. “Whatever, Reed,” he said, though it lacked a lot of the ‘toughness’ and crass normally that came associated with it. That cheered Gavin up…slightly.

Smiling, he lightly joked, “Hey, I’ve got this craaaazy idea, Reese!”

The other boy rolled his eyes, but decided to play along. “What is it now, Reed?”

Gavin would come back to assess this idea later, but for now, given the situation, he felt it was a pretty good idea…maybe on the side of ‘crazy’, but a pretty good idea anyway. Leaning into the other boy, he whispered softly, “Wanna hang out during the field trip later this afternoon? I feel we may have gotten off on the wrong foot.”

He truly had been amazed at the words that had come out of his own mouth. Perhaps somewhere in an alternate universe, a puppeteer or a ventriloquist had spoken on his behalf. Hell, he was even willing to accept demonic, spiritual possession, even. Reese also seemed shocked, and he stood in awe as he stared openly at Gavin.

Gavin was truly-never in a hundred years-expecting Reese to actually whisper his response.

“Sure.”

Perhaps he’d misjudged Reese; perhaps he’d misjudged everything and everyone, but he was at least willing to give it all a chance.

 

(“~~~*”~~~”)

 

Gavin felt Mackenzie poking and jabbing at him for the second time since they’d all started walking as a group out of the large school. “Umm, Gav?” he whispered softly, eyeing Reese with concern in his round eyes, “wanna tell me why in the hell you’re choosing to hang out with Reese Carter of all people, now?”

He knew this question would be repeated at some point, and he was ready to explain it.

After his adventures in the laundry room, Gavin and Reese were called by Brother Ralph to the first level of the school. All the older boys and a few Elders were waiting already in the grand hall, and Nines stood off to the side, watching them all silently. With Brother Markus leading the way merrily, they all planned their outing, and they took off. Majority of the boys who were all friendly with one another stuck to their groups, but Reese and Gavin seemed to stick out like a sore thumb.

Even now as they walked further into town and took a break by a large, old water fountain, they were observed by the rest of their classmates with concern and confusion in their eyes and painted all over their faces. After a group and class photo consisting of them all huddling together around the water fountain, they headed up and down the streets, visiting the old antique shops one by one.

Gavin smiled at Mackenzie while they waited outside an old quilt and knitting shop, the fabrics and interesting designs hung about and strewn about in front of windows on display. It all eagerly caught the eyes of onlookers and the students, and while it wasn’t Gavin’s favorite thing to see, he hung around outside the shop with Greg and Mackenzie standing close to him. Reese was sitting down on a bench close by, and since he was within hearing range, they worked hard on keeping their voices down low.

“What’s he doing here, Gav???” Mackenzie repeated in irritation.

Gavin’s small smile fell away and he sighed sarcastically, “He’s here on the trip just like you and me, Mac.”

“Very funny, mate,” Greg chimed in, nodding back over to where Reese was sitting in jerky, rough motions-not doubt revealing how he truly felt about all this. “He’s not exactly what I would call ‘friend material’”, his eyes narrowed at Gavin in an accusatory manner, “so why have you opened your door to him, then?”

The door of the shop flew open, and a few students raced out excitedly with Brother Simon and Brother Markus following them hurriedly. Their laughter could be heard for a while, but it didn’t ease the situation or their nerves, unfortunately.

Sighing in exhaustion, Gavin wished this conversation could be over already. “Maybe I just got tired of having enemies and making everyone hate me for the rest of the summer?” he wagered randomly out loud, and Mackenzie shrugged, while Greg shook his head in displeasure.

“We get that, bruh,” Mackenzie snorted, “but that doesn’t mean cozy up to Reese fucking Carter! He’s a god damn menace!”

Gavin rolled his eyes, “Yeah, but you—”

“Shit, we gotta stop,” Mackenzie hissed, and then jabbed his elbow into Gavin while nodding over at Reese, “trouble’s coming.”

At once, they all put on their smiles and moved away from the canopy of the shelter the shop provided. Reese stopped right before Gavin, and he gestured over across from the quilt shop. “Let’s go check out the grocery store Connor works at!” he suggested, “you said you wanted to meet him, right?”

Nodding quickly, Gavin moved away from his spot, “Yeah, let’s go!”

His friends followed closely behind, and as the other students and Android Brothers soon milled about the tiny town, peeking into store windows, going through the small vendors in the streets, and just chatting among themselves, Gavin looked behind himself, and he saw Brother Ralph hanging by while eagerly and enthusiastically chatting with Nines.

The day was pleasant, and the weather was well-suited for walking and spending the rest of the day outside, and yet Nines seemed…miserable. As he walked slowly with Brother Ralph, a very sullen, depressed look crossed over his face. His eyes were downcast, and he wasn’t looking at anything or anyone in particular. Gavin thought he truly looked ‘dead on the inside’, and as he’d been studying Nines, he nearly tripped over his own feet clumsily.

Greg steadied him as Mackenzie and Reese opened the door to the shop.

“Careful, mate,” Greg hissed at him in a warning, and Gavin waved his hand at him while following closely behind Mackenzie and Reese.

As soon as their eyes had adjusted from the rays of the bright sunlight to the dim lights in the store, they were greeted by a tall, handsome android with dark brown hair, cream-colored skin, dark brown, round eyes, and a very wide, very happy and excited smile. “Welcome, boys!” he greeted them cheerfully, “I’m so glad Father Anderson was kind enough to accept my invitation for you all to be here for half the day!!”

While Mackenzie and Reese talked to the android, Gavin whispered to Greg, “Is this Connor?”

Greg smiled lightly, “Yeah, he’s the android who always brings us fresh fruits and veggies, and he’s really cool and fun to talk to!”

Turning to look at him intently, Gavin found himself feeling a little shocked. He didn’t know why he hadn’t seen the resemblances there before, but this android looked an awful lot like Nines…

“Doesn’t Connor look kinda like Brother Nines to you?” he asked Greg, wondering if the other boy saw the resemblance and uncanny similarities as well.

Frowning as he studied and observed the android, Greg scoffed, “I don’t think so, Gavin,” pausing for a moment as if thinking about it once last time, he closed his eyes and then shook his head. “No, definitely no comparison at all.”

Gavin disagreed, “I think he looks like Brother Nines.”

“No way, mate,” Greg retorted, “Brother Nines looks cruel; Connor looks like a true friend.”

While still secretly disagreeing, Gavin decided to leave it alone for now, and he instead wove his way around the store while studying everything within it. He found it to be very clean, homey, and colorful. Fresh radishes, beets, garlic, and ginger sat piled on racks. Small and large scales weighing meat and other produce stood near the back, with numbers and tags marked all over on boxes stacked around the scales. A small fish tank holding fresh fish stood in another corner, and next to that was a small eel and lobster tank.

“Eeeww, Gavin! Check these buggers out!” Greg beckoned him over towards a small bucket of snails, escargot, and shrimp.

Leaning over the bucket, Gavin snickered, “Stinks alright!!”

“I can’t believe some people eat this shite,” Greg laughed, and he was then off looking at other foods and items in the store.

When he was gone, Gavin took his time to not only gaze around the store, but also observe Reese as he spoke softly to Connor. In less than a few minutes of chatting, Reese looked far less angry and years younger. He was smiling more, and he even laughed along with Mackenzie. Connor soon summoned the two boys forward, and they joined him behind his front desk. Their eyes beamed with brightness and excitement, and Connor brought out a scale and a few wrapped bags of meat before them.

As Gavin drew closer, he could hear the conversation clearer.

“What’s in the wrap, Connor?” Mackenzie asked curiously while poking it.

Beaming at him, Connor answered with much pride, “The large trout I caught today in the river!! Would you like to help me weigh it?”

Reese held up a hand, “Oooh!! I would love to help, Connor!!!”

“Me too!” Mackenzie cried out in zeal, and Connor set to showing them how to operate the scale.

As Gavin watched them, he felt nothing but peace, awe, and tranquility. Perhaps he had misjudged everything and everyone, including Reese. The boy was currently even trying to call Gavin himself over, and he had a bright smile on his face as his cheeks turned bright pink.

Feeling someone nudging him, Gavin broke out of his daydreaming, and he saw Greg pointing outside, “Get us some ice cream, mate!!”

“Hmm?”

“Ice cream; want some?” Reese laughed, “it was my suggestion, I’ll have you know!!”

His mouth practically watered at the very thought of it, and Gavin nodded, “Okay! I’ll go get it!” He’d been halfway out the door when he remembered he had no money with him.

Curses…

Turning around slowly, he winced as he saw and heard Connor reading out the numbers of the scale, and he then allowed Reese and Mackenzie to hold the meat and place it over onto the appropriate shelves.

Shyly, Gavin approached the front desk of the shop, and he cleared his throat to get Connor’s attention. At once, the android’s warm, dark brown eyes turned over to regard him, and Connor smiled at him kindly. “Hello there!” he welcomed and greeted Gavin, “who are you?”

“I’m Gavin,” he held out his hand for Connor to shake, and the android introduced himself.

“I’m Connor, and delighted to make your acquaintance, young man!!”

While staring at Connor’s wide, friendly eyes, Gavin finally understood what Greg meant when he said Nines looked cruel in comparison to Connor. Even though the android standing before him was wearing a dirty, red-stained apron, Connor seemed very pleasant, gentle-mannered, and energetic. He placed his hands over his hips as he nodded at Gavin, “What can I do for you then, Gavin?”

Snapping back to attention, Gavin cleared his throat. As rudely as this could be interpreted, it was perhaps just better to get it over with. Shuffling his feet back and forth, he awkwardly pressed out softly, “I don’t suppose you’d be willing to lend me a few bucks, would you Connor?”

Frowning in confusion, Connor suddenly said, “I think you mean to say pounds, young man.”

Nearly slapping himself in the face, Gavin corrected himself, “Oh shoot…yeah, hahaha, I meant pounds, yeah!” How could he have forgotten where he was???

Shaking his head at his own stupidity and minor bumble, he hoped Connor would put that aside. But before the android could say much else, Mackenzie and Reese slid large, half-closed boxes up on top of the counter.

Connor turned to them and chuckled, “What’re you two doing?”

Reese opened a box and held out a few onions. They still had dirt clinging to them, and their roots dangled in the air. “We can help you wash these, Connor!” he suggested happily, and Mackenzie joined in, also agreeing that this was a good idea.

Yanking out radishes and bean sprouts from his own box, Mackenzie sniffed at the vegetables and giggled in amusement, “Can we eat whatever we help wash?”

Upon hearing chores would be involved in such a task, Reese gasped, and then looked to Gavin. “Where’re you going again?”

Gavin smiled, “To get ice cream.”

There was no delay in the other boy’s response, “I’ll go with you!”

“Suits me!”

Reese swiftly made his way over to Gavin, then, but before he wove around the front counter, Connor dug a hand into his pockets.

“Wait, boys!” a second later, he withdrew from his pockets a few coins, and he handed them over to Gavin, “you can’t buy ice cream without money, you know!” Winking at them both, he then said, “Don’t bother with paying me back; just have fun, alright?”

Blushing lightly, Gavin thanked the kind android, and he headed out the front door of the shop with Reese closely at his side. On the way out, they nearly collided with Brother Markus, and he frowned down at them both with angry eyes and a yellow-colored LED light.

“Where are you two off to in such a hurry?” he hissed his question out softly, and Reese stared at Gavin for a split second, as if pleading with him to answer.

Sighing, Gavin truthfully offered, “Just off to buy ice cream, Brother Markus.”

While a few birds flew above their heads, their shadows fell before them, and Reese stared up at the sky and clouds while smiling. Brother Markus however wasn’t smiling, and he merely glared continuously at Gavin; already doubting and judging everything he’d said. Crossing his arms over his chest, he ground out, “And since when are you two such good pals? Hmm?” he then shook his head in disappointment, “why, it wasn’t even two weeks ago when you were arguing because of a soda spill, if I recall…”

Both boys were silent for some time, and just when Gavin felt they were screwed because Brother Markus decided he wanted to play ‘cops and robbers’, Reese chose to be brave and intervene. Grabbing the coins from Gavin’s hand, he flashed them before Brother Markus’ mismatched eyes, and he smirked with confidence. “You can find friends in any place, Brother Markus,” he stated openly after throwing Gavin a tiny grin, “Reed and I have forgiven each other, and we decided to be best mates, now.”

His words and response seemed to make Brother Markus freeze in place, and while he stared on at them with wide eyes, Reese skipped ahead past the android, and then waved over at Gavin. Following along, Gavin bowed his head at Brother Markus in submission and respect, and then he was off without another word.

The streets of the town were slightly less crowded now, and when Gavin caught up to Reese, he stayed by the younger boy’s side as they looked around the shop signs and boards randomly. They passed by a bookstore, an old appliance store, and then found the dairy and ice cream shop in no time. It was easily spotted and recognized by the huge ice cream cone sign hanging off the side of the building. However, before Gavin could head inside the already held-open door, Reese stopped him by placing a hand over his shoulder.

Pausing abruptly, Gavin frowned at him when he met his eyes. “What?”

Reese threw him a cold, blank stare, and then he whispered, “Aren’t you going to ask me why I chose to join you and hang around you??”

The question knocked into Gavin slowly, and he merely shrugged, “You agreed to it on your own…what’s it got to do with me?”

Rolling his eyes, Reese snickered a dry snicker, “God, you are a right-up nonce, aren’t you, Reed?”

Scowling at the turn of events and atmosphere, Gavin crossed his arms over his chest and stood up taller. “So all that was pretend, then?” he shook his head, nostrils flaring as did his temper, “I should’ve expected no less from the class dickhead, huh?”

Sighing, Reese’s expression softened, then, and he stuffed his hands in his uniform pockets and shuffled his feet about awkwardly. “I was wondering if this was all a play, you know,” came his soft comment, and Gavin frowned, though this time it was in confusion.

“I’m sorry?”

Reese finally met his eyes, then, and he flashed Gavin a sarcastic grin, “I thought you were aiming to mock me or gang up on me with your little friends,” he threw his head back and laughed again while wiping sweat off his forehead. “God, I have trust issues, don’t I?”

While Gavin had to agree with that assessment, he was careful not to spoil things by verbally and vocally agreeing with the other teen. Instead, he merely shrugged and kicked at a chipped brick in the wall. “It’s alright,” he began in a faint sigh, “I wouldn’t have trusted myself either.”

Nodding at him, Reese withdrew a hand slowly from his pocket, and he held it out openly before Gavin. The teenager stared at it, and then raised an eyebrow. “Want to just start fresh?” Reese asked in a gentle suggestion that didn’t put too much pressure in one direction or another for Gavin. “Maybe we don’t have to be the closest mates, but we can try to not bite each other’s heads off, yeah?”

It was an interesting way to put it, and Gavin held out his hand, but then stopped himself from shaking Reese’s. Eyeing the boy carefully, he said, “You have to also try and respect my friends, okay?” He didn’t wait for Reese to interrupt before he himself continued, “Either you accept me and my friends fully, or you vow right here and now to leave us alone and never bully us, because I’m tired of fighting with you, and I would prefer being left alone until the end of the school year.”

Smiling warmly, the look made Reese appear much younger and at peace. It soothed Gavin’s nerves and brushed aside his worries. Leaning against the door, now, he breathed out peacefully, “Friends?”

Reese continued to smile. “I agree to your terms, Gavin.” Reaching for Gavin’s hand, he shook it, and he giggled softly, “I actually think Mackenzie’s a funny bloke at times, even if he acts like a prat half the time.”

Gavin soon joined in on the laughter. “Yeah, everyone’s got their quirks, I guess, but those guys are my friends, and they’re pretty cool.”

Smirking and juggling the coins up and down in the air, Reese nodded, “Sounds about right.”

While the loose change jingled and jangled about in the air, Gavin felt a realization slowly seeping into his brain when it came to Reese. He hated to admit it, but as pleasant as the other boy was being, he still didn’t know a damn thing about Reese Carter. Did he want to learn?

Yes; he did.

Chewing nervously on his lower lip for a brief moment, Gavin pushed out in a single breath, “I’d still like to know your story some time, Reese…” he hoped he wasn’t being rude or treading on grounds and territory that really weren’t his business, and he found himself purposefully holding his breath while he waited and watched Reese mull the question over.

After some time, the British teenager slowly grinned, and he slowly walked backwards into the ice cream store. “I suppose I can make do with that, Reed,” he laughed, and a warm breeze blew past them both. “I’ll tell you about myself later; for now, I’m really craving that cone!!!”

Gavin found he couldn’t agree more. Grinning playfully, he shoved Reese inside the ice cream store and joyfully cried out, “Get the hell inside and I want chocolate and vanilla, you hear me?”

Laughing, Reese barked out, “Aye aye, Captain Git!!!”

As the door of the shop closed behind them due to a powerful breeze picking up, it swept all thoughts of joy, relief, satisfaction, hope, and tranquility within the shop as well. Customers and diners seated inside smiled and laughed among each other; the warm glow of their faces visible from the clear glass windows of the shop. Birds flew by, and another strong gust of wind blew the warmth and scent of the summer across the town. Still, as the world of childhood and youthful innocence crept by, not many noticed a pair of angry and conflicted blue eyes staring through the windows of the ice cream store as Brother Ralph and Nines walked up and down the streets.

While the eccentric android yammered and yapped on and on to his comrade and colleague, Nines merely sneered a pained, cruel sneer while keeping his eyes focused and trained intently on Gavin and Reese. He could see the boys laughing as they leapt up and down before the front counter of the store, pointing out to each other their favorite, desired flavors and cones.

Nines’ upper lip curled back, and he ground his teeth together in distaste.

Ignoring Brother Ralph droning on about a dull, insipid topic, Nines zeroed in on Gavin. He was waving his arms frantically, practically diving and leaping ahead over the ice cream store counter as he eagerly waited for his ice cream. Such innocence, sweetness, and such wonderful youthfulness he himself found he was longing to taste…

None of that mattered in the end, though.

He snarled to himself, mumbling under his breath, “Oh, how my blood boils…”

Brother Ralph did a double take as he stared back and forth between Nines and ahead up the path they were walking currently. “Hmm? Did you say something, Brother Nines?” his eyes twitched, and he giggled as he nearly walked into a streetlight post, but he weaved around it while laughing and yammering on to himself.

Ignoring him, Nines stared on with determination right at Gavin Reed.

“How my blood boils…”