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Hugs are an Our Thing

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  • Enemies

 

It had been a rough case. One android died while another human got severely injured during a shootout. It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Cursing, he stormed into his precinct, heading straight to the coffee machine. He was aware of the looks he was getting and he knew that if he tossed a glare at Anderson’s cubicle, he would receive either a snarky reply or an eyebrow raised look which he hated. Running his fingers through his hair, he grabbed a mug and the coffee jug, pouring steaming brown liquid into the slightly stained white, porcelain cup. Slamming the jug back into its body, he turned around and leaned against the counter, sipping the hot liquid.

While it had been a successful case, it still rattled his chains. He hadn’t wanted anyone to die. If only the new officer had listened to him before rushing into the scene. Albeit, it wasn’t his fault at the end of the goddamn day. But the incompetency of it all still weighed on his shoulders like a bag of bricks. Burning his tongue a little, he slammed the mug on the counter, hissing. Itching for a smoke, he decided to do just that.

As he slammed his way outside, pulling out his cigarettes to light them, he noticed that he had left his lighter back on his desk. Groaning, he was about to go get it when someone held the lighter right in front of his face. Snatching it, he was about to toss a gruff thanks when he met with cool grey eyes. Ones that he had been hating since he was partnered with this junk for the past one month.

Snarling he said, “Get lost, tin can.”

He lit up his cigarette and inhaled it, the anger within him simmered down before helplessness clouded his mind. He blinked a few times before inhaling another drag. The robocop didn’t move though, preferring to stand next to him with his arms behind his back. Ignoring the tin can, he moved to sit on the bench located around the area, rubbing a hand down his face after tossing the lighter next to him.

The android detective he was forced to work with decided to sit next to him.

“Smoking is not good for your health, Detective,” the tin can said.

“Well,” Gavin said, sneering. “Not your health, is it? Fuck off.”

He was about to take another drag when pale fingers snatched the cig out of his hands. He watched how RK900 stared at it, blue ring light indicating his mood, not that Gavin could read their weird mood ring shite, before he dropped it on the ground and crushed it beneath his boot. Anger now turned into pure fury as he stood up, grabbing onto the plastic’s collar. He was a little surprised that RK900 got to his feet, allowing himself to be slammed against the brick walls. Because Gavin knew, even through his tantrums, that if RK900 wanted, he’d be the one face palming against the walls right now.

The cool grey eyes simply stared at him. Almost calculatingly. And the blue light didn’t even flicker.

“Leave me alone,” Gavin yelled, pulling away.

Maybe it was because the case also involved children, ones that had trembled when help came. Maybe it was because of the horrific scene he witnessed when they had stormed into the barn. The deaths, the shootout, the casualties—if only he had been competent enough to make the officers wait, then maybe nobody had to die and the children wouldn’t have looked at them like they were the evil ones.

He refused to break down.

He refused to do it here.

A part of him wanted to find a closet and just hide in the darkness. Maybe weep a little at the stress and the overwhelming feeling of failure. Not to mention, the tin can had witnessed every single thing and he felt…stupid. Because he had told RK900 to stand back. He knew better. He thought.

These were the times he wished he still had someone waiting for him back home. Where a lover would pull him into a hug. Would whisper that he had done the best he could. Take care of him when he wanted to cry. But nobody had stayed. Nobody thought he needed it. No one, not even Tina could understand the overwhelming need to be held once in a while. Especially on days like these.

As his heart clenched in his chest, he forced his mind to remove such thoughts.

So, he moved away and was about to leave when fingers clamped on his wrist.

He turned to glare at the tin can when he was pulled forward. Stumbling into the strong chest, he placed his hands on the plastic’s arms, face mushed against his shoulder. His mind silenced just a brief moment as the scent of…apples? wafted into his nose. He tensed. Immediately, his body wanted to push him away. And he was about to do just that when those arms wrapped around him, dragging him close until they were flushed together.

Gavin’s heart raced in his chest as he stared at the brick wall. He remained there for a few seconds before he felt one hand patting the back of his head. As if he was a child. And the anger he had felt…died. They left, leaving him to feel raw. Alarmed at how quickly he had unravelled, he opened his mouth to yell when the deep voice settled into his ears.

“It wasn’t your fault,” RK900 said. “I have calculated the scenarios and each simulation had led with at least three dying. You did your best and reduced the odds to only one casualty.”

His heart stuttered to a stop. The words created some kind of peace in his mind and his eyes blurred. Quickly realising he was actually going to break down in the embrace of his enemy, he pulled away. He slammed the robocop against the walls, glaring at him. His cheeks heated and shame crawled into his chest at having caved in so quick as if he was touch starved.

“Shut the fuck up,” he hissed. “Only one? That was still a life! What would you know about failing, you piece of mechanical ass? Touch me again like that and I’ll fuck you up.”

He turned and stormed his way back into the precinct. As he sat at his desk, furiously typing into his screen, he tried his best to forget how nice the hug had felt. How…for just a second, he felt like he hadn't been a failure. And how he wished he was…not enemies with RK900 so he could hold onto it longer. His cheeks heated up even more and his heart raced against his chest.

“Don’t be stupid, Gavin,” he whispered to himself.

“I believe that would be a hard endeavour to achieve, Detective,” RK900 said from next to him, startling him.

“Fuck off, tin can!” Gavin exclaimed, pressing a hand on his chest. He saw a ghost of a smirk on those lips and he retracted what he thought about the robocop right there and then.

He didn’t need any goddamn hugs from that piece of metal.

He didn’t.


  • Friends

 

It had been a total of six months since the last hug and since he had been assigned to an android as his partner. While he had hated RK900 from the first time he met him, his smug ass didn’t help in making a good impression on Gavin, he realised quickly that RK900 wasn’t that bad. Sure, there were moments Gavin had itched to throw a cup of coffee at his face just so he could shut up, but most of the time, they had settled into a comfortable routine.

After the hug that had taken Gavin off guard, RK900 had started to act a little differently. Less snarky. Less mean. And Gavin…in return found that he couldn’t find it in himself to be as sarcastic as he once used to be. He refused to examine the reason why, though. A truce came in the form of coffee. At first it alarmed Gavin.

Thought for sure that RK900 was playing a prank on him. After all, he was close with Connor and Hank. Anything could be possible if Gavin-hate-party teamed up together. But RK900 had simply said there wasn’t any ulterior motives and that had been that. He didn’t know why he believed him, but he did.

Six months later, he had invited RK900 for the first time to his apartment.

His sacred space.

All because the damn tin can hadn’t watched any movies. And Gavin, being a…good coworker he was needed to rectify that immediately.

His cat meowed as she circled his ankles. He simply patted her head as he nervously began to make sure his place was in order. After all, this was the first time in a long time he had invited someone over. He bit his inner cheek, his face heating up at the way he was acting. Straightening his posture, he went to microwave a bowl of popcorn, scolding himself.

“It’s just that tin can,” he said to himself. “Not anyone else. Calm the fuck down, Gavin.”

His cat, Millie, meowed. He sneered at her when she sat at the entrance of his kitchen, staring at him with green eyes. He was sure she was judging him. As he shoved the popcorn bag into his microwave, his doorbell rang. His heart fluttered in his chest as he swallowed past his dry throat. Flipping a finger at Millie, he headed to the door. Taking in a  deep breath, he opened it, meeting eye to eye with RK900. He was wearing a normal long-sleeved shirt with a pair of black jeans. It was almost odd…for him to be in such a casual attire. Gavin blinked a few times before he cleared his throat.

“Hello,” RK900 said. “I hope I’m not too early?”

“Nah,” Gavin said with a shrug, moving out of the way. “Come in. You look good in casual clothes, by the way.”

The compliment was meant to come off as casual but it ended up sounding weirdly pitchy as it left his mouth. Avoiding the cool grey eyes that had snapped at his face at that, he slammed the door shut and gestured the android to follow him.

Pointing at the living room he said, “You can sit there. I’mma get popcorn.” Then he paused, realising he was missing one crucial detail. Sheepishly he said, “Do you even eat?”

RK900 gave him a smile, a small one but enough to show that he was amused. “I can consume small amounts of food. Popcorn would be fine.”

“Right,” Gavin said before he once more pointed at his living room. “You can have a seat, I’ll be right there. Oh yeah, do you want anything to drink?”

“I’ll be fine.” RK900 moved to the living room like he was instructed to.

From across the kitchen, Gavin could see the android settling into the couch. Millie had decided to bother him instead, much to the detective’s slight amusement. When he managed to get the popcorn in a bowl and two cans of beer, he headed to the living room. Placing the bowl on the coffee table with the cans, he grabbed his remote control for the television. Millie had managed to climb on the couch and settled next to RK900. Gavin would have shooed her off, but the robocop seemed to like her close to him. Especially when those fingers dragged through her orange fur, a smile crossing his lips.

His throat dried at that sight. With his heart skipping a beat, he turned back to the television screen and picked the first movie he had lined up.

“Let’s get this started,” Gavin said, relieved that his voice hadn’t been shaky.

RK900 merely glanced at him before settling further into his couch. “What are we watching first, Gavin?”

The usage of his first name had him stopping. He snapped his head to look at the android, eyes wide as if he had been caught with his hand in a cookie jar. RK900 simply looked back at him, his cool grey eyes sparkled in slight confusion. He tilted his head to the side a little, his ring light remaining blue. He looked…cute. Gavin almost stopped breathing.

“Gavin?” RK900 said, his eyebrows furrowing. “Are you alright?”

“Fine,” Gavin choked out before he pointed to the television. “We’re watching I, Robot first.”

Deciding to ignore the sceptical look tossed by his friend, he grabbed the bowl of popcorn and shoved it to RK900. The android managed to grab it even though he had used unnecessary pressure to give him the bowl. Grabbing a handful of popcorns, Gavin forced his mind to pay attention to the movie.

“I should’ve known you would pick such a movie,” RK900 said. And if Gavin fooled himself enough, he thought he could hear amusement and…fondness in those words.

“Yeah, well,” Gavin said with a careless shrug. “It’s right up ya alley.”

“Though,” RK900 replied, “there are many errors involved in rendering a film involving…robots.”

Gavin snickered, tossing a few popcorn pieces into his mouth. “Stop analysing the movie and just watch, will ya?”

“I find it interesting to analyse it,” RK900 drawled. “It opens up a portal of discussion about the movie.”

“And I don’t like talking about the movie while watching said movie, tin can,” Gavin said, glancing at his friend before tossing a smirk at him. “So, why don’t we hold back on the critique until after the movie, yeah?”

“Very well,” RK900 conceded with a nod.

Gavin pointed to the bowl of popcorn. “You said you can eat them in small amounts. You should try it.”

RK900 looked at the bowl he was holding onto before he grabbed a few pieces of the popcorn. Gavin couldn’t help but to watch him take a bite of it, anticipation curling in his veins. Maybe it was because he was introducing his android buddy to the wonders of the human food, but he found he wanted RK900 to like it. He wanted the robocop to say that they tasted good. He hadn’t even noticed that he had shifted his body a little to look at him properly, eyeing him with more attention than he gave the movie. He even sneaked a peek at his ring light on his temple, in case it turned yellow.

Over the months, he managed to somewhat deduce what those colours meant. Blue often times meant that RK900 was in a good mood. Yellow was often after a fight with Gavin, or when he was working on the case, analysing things. He rarely saw the red bleeding into the ring, but if it did, it was either during one of RK900’s intense information sorting in his computer brain or when their case took a dive for the worse.

It wasn’t a complete dictionary of the android named RK900. But it was enough for now.

“Do you like it?” he asked RK900 once he had eaten a few pieces.

The android remained quiet for a second before he turned to look at Gavin. It was then the detective realised how close they were. He could stare into those eyes and catalogue the different shades of grey…and speckles of blue in them. His cheeks heated up and he immediately scooted away from him, clearing his throat when RK900 searched his face. No doubt trying to deduce what just happened. Deciding to ignore that, he waved at the popcorn, waiting for an answer and deliberately ignoring the heat on his face and the thundering of his heart.

He didn’t understand what was going on. He had been nervous all day waiting for RK900 and now that he was here, he was acting like a schoolgirl with a…crush.

The moment that clicked in his mind, he had wanted to melt into a puddle. He had wanted to chase RK900 out of his house and go hide under his sheets. His heart had decided now was the time to pick up speed.

“Never mind,” Gavin said, cursing at how small his voice sounded as he firmly turned his body to look at the television. “Let’s just watch the movie.”

“It is acceptable,” RK900 said, “the popcorn, I mean.”

“Great.” That was all Gavin could say as his mind jumped from one thought to the other.

Just when had he had a crush on the android? It had been years since his feelings had shifted into something else without him realising it. RK900 was a great person. Sure. The android was serious with his work, and often times made a point to piss him off as a jest. But he was also a person that he could rely his frustrations to and be understood. Tina Chen was a nice gal, and she was his best friend, of course. But it was nice to have his partner who he was working closely with understanding him too.

The hug he received that day six months ago when they were barely getting along with each other had sparked some level of interest inside of him. After all, RK900 had willingly hugged him and almost…comforted him in ways that he had only dreamt off. Not even his previous lovers had taken the time to hug him tight when he needed it. When he obviously craved it.

Maybe after a round or two of sex, sure. But that was customary. And they all left at the end of the day, proclaiming that he was a lot of work.

He winced at that line of thought. The flutters he felt in his stomach died. Because that was what would happen if he let the feelings grow for the android. Just like the rest of them, RK900 would find it hard as well. And then he would request for transfer and there went his only friend.

“Gavin?” RK900’s voice pierced through his thoughts.

He didn’t look at him but he hummed out a reply.

There was a few moments of silence before RK900 said, “Nothing. I just find this movie to be fascinating.”

Relief spread in his chest at that as he grinned and said, “Yeah, I know, tin can.”

They remained quiet as the movie progressed and Gavin made no effort to pay attention to it. He was lost in his thoughts. While having a crush would be nice, he didn’t think he deserved to push that onto RK900. He hadn’t been the best of partner and he doubted he was any good as a friend. Besides introducing him to movie night and forcing him to try human food, there was little else he was good at.

He crossed his arms against his chest, the loneliness in his chest spread throughout his body.

He knew he was dangerously close to shuffling into a world of darkness. He wished he didn’t have these thoughts. But he had grown accustomed to them.

His shoulders tensed and his body went rigid when he felt an arm draping across him. Then, he was gently, almost with barely any pressure, pulled into an embrace. He let his head drop onto the firm shoulder and the surprisingly warm arm caressed his side. Remaining like this for a few seconds, he snapped his head to look at RK900, breath hitching in his throat when he saw those cool grey eyes staring back at him. The ring light now a glowing yellow.

“What are you doing, tin can?” he groused, ready to pull himself away from the sudden touch.

RK900 continued to stare at him before he said, with the most gentle voice he had ever heard coming from the android, “I believe the movie is a bit too realistic after what had happened. Is it alright if I’ve received some comfort?”

Gavin let that sink into his head, his body relaxing as he realised that he was not getting hugged out of pity. He wasn’t an idiot. He was aware that his pride ruined a lot of things. And he was sure RK900 had deduced that. As he eyed the movie, they weren’t even into the first quarter of the movie, he contemplated if he wanted to remain in the embrace.

“I understand if you find this uncomfortable,” RK900 said. “I believe this is beyond parameters of what one considers to be friendship, after all.”

Gavin knew he was being given an out. He should take it. But he…didn’t want to. He wanted to stay here close to RK900. Even if he did it under the pretence that it wasn’t for his sake. Biting his inner cheek, he settled into the hug. RK900’s arm brought him closer to the warmth of the android and he settled into the crook between his shoulder and arm.

“Sure, tin can,” Gavin said, his voice not at all convincing anyone. “Didn’t peg you to be a scaredy cat.”

“I assure you,” RK900 said. “Nothing scares me. Except for things that I deem to be monumental enough to be scary.”

“Huh,” Gavin said, knowing his cheeks were red and his heartbeat was very loud. “Yeah, guess I can relate.”

“Indeed,” RK900 said.

They remained quiet after that and Gavin let himself sink deeper into the hug. His mind settled and the feeling of safeness blanketed him. It was the same type of emotion he felt back when he first gotten a hug from RK900. Maybe it was because he wanted a touch like this whenever he was angry, stressed or heading down a road he couldn’t come back from.

Maybe he needed the reminder that he was important enough to be held this close when things got rough for him.

And somehow, he believed RK900 had figured that out. So quickly.

Without him realising, he had grabbed the fingers of RK900’s hand that was holding him tight. And he returned the grip. Almost scared to have those touch leave him. He simply was dragged closer as a response and he let it happen.

As the movie played, he let his mind quiet down.

He liked this.

 


  •  Lovers

 

They hadn’t even been together for a month when Gavin fucked it up.

He always did.

That had always been what he was good at.

As he stared at the empty living room belonging to Nines, he felt useless. He curled his fingers into fists as his heart ached. He had successfully ruined what was one of the best things in his life again. There had been many people before Nines. But no one had managed to crack past his exterior like the android could. He was always one step ahead when deducing his moods and he always got it right. He knew how to diffuse the situation and he knew how to make him feel loved.

Even though that wasn’t what Gavin deserved.

And it was clear that he hadn’t managed to return the love to Nines.

He was brash. Angry all the time. He was mean-spirited. But most of all, he was pathetic.

It had been a simple case. Catch the killer. Case closed. And they could get dinner and maybe come back to Nines for something to drink before heading to sleep. It was a routine that he had started to get used to. But everything had gone wrong since this morning. The case hadn’t been easy at all and before they knew it, they were once more getting shot at as always, and Gavin was close to having a bullet put in his head.

Nines had managed to pull him into an alleyway before the bullet could hit him. And he then went to tackle the gun out of the killer’s hands. Gavin’s heart almost lurched out of his throat at the sight.

And when everything was over, Gavin was left with tendrils of fear and ideas of Nines dying before him. Unable to be repaired. Saved. All because he had tackled a killer who was shooting his gun sporadically.

“You’re angry,” Nines had said as he followed Gavin into his house.

They hadn't spoken a word and Gavin had refused to talk to Nines back at the station. He kept his anger, frustration, fear under wraps. He didn’t have much to be proud about, but he prided himself in the fact that he could separate his work and private life. As much as he could. And while he understood that Nines was a top-of-the-line android, manufactured for far bigger things than being a Detective’s partner, it still shook him. After all, they weren’t just coworkers. And even if they were just that, Gavin had already looked at him like he would at anyone else. 

And watching someone he cared about die before his eyes was not on his agenda today.

“No shit,” Gavin whispered as he searched through Nines’ cabinet for his mug that he left on one of the days he was here.

Nines moved Gavin aside to grab the mug for him, handing it over. Gavin snatched it from his hands before he sighed, slamming it on the kitchen counter. Placing his hands on the marble countertop, he hung his head, mind blurry from the emotional roller coasted he went through today.

“Gavin,” Nines said. “Talk to me.”

“You shouldn’t have tackled that bitch like that,” Gavin snapped. “I didn’t think for a guy who prides on being a top-of-the-line tin can, he would do something so fucking stupid.”

“I have calculated the scenario before attempting it,” Nines said, matter-of-factly. “I would’ve been fine. I am fine.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t know that, did I?” Gavin said, turning to glare at his…boyfriend.

Fuck, this tin can standing before him was his lover.

And he had every right to be scared for him.

Nines frowned, his eyes flashing in restraint annoyance. The small circular light at his temple glowed in yellow. That rattled Gavin’s shackles as he seethed. He knew that the android had it all figured out. It made sense. He rarely did things without knowing what the outcome was. That was why they worked so well. Gavin didn’t have time to do the extensive thinking, not as quickly as Nines could do it. But it didn’t mean that he could gallivant his way into danger. Because chances were chances.

Regardless at how accurate it could be, this universe didn’t work following such rules.

One bad luck and those chances could change in an instance.

“Forgive me,” Nines said, his voice tense. “I didn’t know I have to tell you everything and get it approved beforehand.”

“I don’t mean it like that, you dipshit,” Gavin hissed. “You just walked into danger. That lunatic was shooting everywhere and everything. If he hit you…”

“Then let’s talk about how you almost got shot, shall we?” Nines took a step towards him, his words dark. “You have acted irrationally and almost got yourself killed.”

“I had a bulletproof jacket!” Gavin said.

“Not on your head.” Nines poked his forehead once, as if to emphasise his words. “You were being as stupid.”

Gavin took a step back. He knew that Nines was right. He knew that. But his pride didn’t want to let him win.

“So what? You think becoming a hero would mean you’re any more human?” Gavin said, immediately regretting the words.

Nines’ whole demeanour changed. The yellow light turned red, just for a second before they mellowed into azure. His face softened. Becoming a bit too open and…vulnerable. And Gavin had punched right through that mask to get to the other side mercilessly. The anger died and remaining in its stead was regret that the words had left his mouth. He knew how much Nines suffered with the idea of humanity. He was nothing like Connor. He didn’t deviate out of his own will, forced into it by Marcus.

He knew all of that and yet…here he was, throwing that insecurity, a big one in fact, right back at his face.

“Nines…” Gavin started but he couldn’t finish it.

“If that is what you wish to believe,” Nines said, the same nonchalant mask that Gavin hated slid onto his face again, hiding his emotions. Ones that he knew he didn’t let anyone else to see. Except Gavin. And now he had lost that privilege. “Perhaps you should consider becoming less of a nuisance in the field and I would not have to try and measure up to…becoming a hero.”

That hurt. But he deserved it. He should apologise. But instead of doing that, he did the easiest thing instead. He pressed his palms against the android’s chest and pushed him away. Nines was a strong person, but at that moment, he had let the human push him. Stumbling a few steps, the grey eyes turned cold.

“You fuck,” Gavin hissed, eyes burning with the frustration at himself, at this situation. “Get lost. If  you hate how I work in the field, you should get lost! Go request a transfer and leave! I didn’t want you as my partner in the first place, tin can.”

He had expected Nines to argue back. Everyone knew that the android had a bigger pride than Gavin. It was often the reason why they clashed when they first met. Neither wanted to relent when an argument started. But at this very moment, as if Gavin had broken him in, Nines simply stood straight and tugged on his navy blue Cyberlife-issued jacket created just for his police work.

“I suppose I will,” Nines said, with so much conviction that it startled Gavin into silence. “I’ll be leaving for a bit. Feel free to lock the door before you leave.”

Gavin opened his mouth, his finger itched to grab onto his shirt, but all he could do at the end was watch Nines leave. As the door to the big house closed shut, echoing into the now empty abode, silence rang into the scene. Bringing forth with it was a wave of regret and…self-pity.

He slid to the ground and took in a shaky breath in, rubbing a hand down his face. That hadn’t been what he wanted to say. He wanted to apologise and then explain to Nines why he had been so angry. Scared. But his pride took over and did the talking again. It was no wonder no one remained by his side.

He pushed them away. Like he always did.

Forcing his body to stand up, he stumbled into the living room and sank into Nines’ couch. He listened to the quiet and…hated it. It had been too easy to fall back into the silence and imagine a life without Nines. Almost as if he had been preparing himself for it. And Gavin realised the day had come. It was a beautiful one month. But now, he was sure it was over. Everything was done. All because he had opened his mouth and said everything but apologise.

“I’m sorry,” Gavin whispered as his fingers shook. Staring at his hands, he curled them into fists and placed them against his wet eyes. “It isn’t so hard to say that, you idiot. Should’ve said that.”

His shoulders shook and he realised then that he had been caved in. Raw of emotions. He didn’t know how to deal with these things. He hadn’t had a relationship in a long while. The longest he had had managed to hurt him in ways he didn’t think was possible. As he hunched his body, he thought of Nines and the affection in those eyes. They brightened the grey eyes, and they shifted the hue into something bluer. Happiness was a good look on him.

And for a while, he had fooled himself into thinking that Gavin could have that.

That he could keep that look on his face.

The warmth he felt, the kindness he had experienced and the affection that had been poured over him, they were things that he had been craving for. But now he lost it all.

He hadn’t felt the couch dip and was startled, dropping his hands to his thighs, when firm arms wrapped around him and pulled close to a familiar, strong chest. Immediately, he tossed his pride away and hugged Nines back, relieved that the man hadn’t left him. Nines ran his fingers through his hair while the other patted his back, squeezing him.

They remained like that before Gavin pulled away from the embrace, staring into the eyes. The cold look he had expected to see from him was gone, replacing it was hurt and…affection, highlighting his blue. The detective shuffled closer before he pressed a hand on Nines’ face, getting the right words out of his mouth.

“I’m sorry,” Gavin said, voice shaky. “I didn’t mean that. I don’t…I—I’m not good at this, man. I…”

“I’m sorry too,” Nines said, reciprocating the touch by placing a hand on his face. “I didn’t mean for my words to be so cruel.”

Gavin gave him a weak smile. The said smile died on his face as he made a decision to explain himself. He had to. Nines wouldn’t understand why he was upset if he didn’t explain it. He was not a mind reader. Even though sometimes, the detective suspected he might have that ability. But instead, he felt…small. Disgusted at himself for hurting the person he cared about. Pulling his hand away, he took in a deep breath.

“I’m not good with words, tin can,” Gavin said, running his fingers through his hair. “I…I don’t know how to say…what’s…you know.” He tapped at his own chest. “Don’t know why you stay sometimes.”

“I believe it is the same for me, Gavin,” Nines said, cupping his face and tilting his head so their eyes could meet. “You are not the only one having difficulties expressing themselves. After all…I might be far from mastering human abilities—”

“I didn’t mean that either,” Gavin said, eyes widening, heart lurching in his chest. “You are human, Nines. I’m just a dumbfuck who doesn’t know what to say—”

“Gavin, it’s fine.”

“No, it isn’t,” Gavin said, a little frustrated and worried about the damage he had done. “I shouldn’t have even said that. I was scared, Nines. But I…shouldn’t have said that.”

Nines remained silent before he nodded once. “May I enquire as to why you were scared?”

That was hard to explain. As he furrowed his eyebrows, trying to find the right words to say, the frustration continue to mount itself within him. A noise escaped his lips followed by a sigh as he couldn't find a way to say this without embarrassing himself. But he didn’t think his pride and ego should get in the way right now. Not when he had created this mess.

“I…” Gavin began, licking his lips as his mouth dried. With a rush of breath, he continued, “I can’t lose you, Nines. You could’ve gotten injured in places where you can’t get it fix. And…died.”

Nines frowned and he looked close to arguing but Gavin shrugged. He didn’t know how else to explain why he was feeling fearful. The prospect of hearing one day that Nines could no longer be repaired and they had to terminate him—it had him hunching his shoulders. Something must’ve shown on his face because the next thing his android did was wrapping his arms around his body and pulled him into another hug. Gavin circled his own hands around Nines, tucking his chin on the shoulder as he closed his eyes.

Fingers once more ran through his hair in a calming motion, one that had him wanting to melt into the touch.

“I see,” Nines said. “Then, I have to say that I feel the same way. About you almost getting hit by the bullet. Losing you isn’t an option, Gavin.”

He let that sink into his head before he said, “I didn’t see the bullet. Thanks…for having my back. And…I’ll try not be to be a disaster in the field. Maybe.”

He felt Nines chuckling and a brief smile crossed his own lips at that. “I believe you being a disaster in the field often produces good results. However, this time, I will be there to protect you. Rest assured, I will be fine. And so will you.”

“Yeah?” Gavin whispered.

“Yes, Gavin.” Nines tightened his hug and Gavin sighed, nodding once against him.

“I thought you actually left,” Gavin said, pressing a closed fist against Nines’ back.

“I almost did,” Nines said. “But I couldn’t leave you when we have an argument unresolved. It is…unhealthy.”

Gavin snorted, smiling properly this time. He didn’t say anything to that, but he was grateful that he came back. He had almost ruined it. He wanted to say that. He really did. But once again, words eluded him. Just as he settled into the hug, Nines said something that had him halting and eyes watering again.

“You do not need to worry about…fucking anything up, by the way,” Nines whispered. “You being yourself is the reason I adore you, Gavin.”

“Fuck,” he muttered, burying his face against the shoulder to hide his face. “You knew?”

“You always look shattered whenever you say something harsh,” Nines said, almost as if he was musing. “It is not hard to deduce what you’re thinking.”

A few seconds of silence passed by them. “I will fuck it up one day, Nines. And even you won’t be patient enough to stay with me then.”

“We can’t predict the future,” Nines said as he patted Gavin’s back and heaved him closer, almost as if it was possible for them to be any merged than this. “But I assure you…if that day were to ever come, it won’t be because you fucked anything up.”

It was odd to hear Nines use vulgarity in his sentence but it pierced through his mind either way. Gavin didn’t believe him though. His track record spoke for itself. But he didn’t want to argue about it. Instead, he simply nodded once and continued to melt into the hug. Nines didn’t say anything else after that. And Gavin hoped this would last. At least for a little bit more.

No one was going to ever be like this with him. Except for Nines.

 


 

  • That One Time Someone Else Hugged Gavin

 

That one time someone else hugged him besides Nines, he learned that the android disliked it.

Gavin wasn’t even sure what happened besides the fact he was sure that Nines had been…jealous.

It was almost funny to think about, if he was being honest.

It was a routine day with a case to work on. The only difference was the fact he was not doing the case with Nines. In fact, for this case alone, he had been partnered by a new detective who had transferred to their station a few days ago. Gavin hadn’t been happy about it, going as far as whining about it at night when Nines shut him up with a fierce hug and a passionate kiss. Passionate. He didn’t think he would ever equate that with Nines, but here they were.

But the new kid was alright. He was younger than any other Detectives. A fresh blood. But he had been a hard worker and was less of a nuisance than Nines had been when he first partnered with Gavin. They even went out to grab a cup of coffee during lunch and it had been a pleasant time.

Nines had raised his eyebrows when Gavin shrugged and said the new detective, Richard, had been fine.

“He ain’t that bad,” Gavin said as he sipped on his third mug of coffee, leaning against the kitchen counter while Nines had taken a seat at the table in front of him.

“I see,” Nines said, tilting his head a little, the ring at his temple turned from blue to a brief blink of yellow before they settled back into calm azure.

Gavin took note of that but he didn’t point it out. He continued to sip on his coffee and nodded. “The kid’s okay to work with. He’s a hard worker and is completely focused on his task. I think we’re about to close the case soon.”

Nines frowned. The ring light turned yellow and stayed that colour. “That is a bit…quick.”

Gavin shrugged once more. “He knows what he’s doing.”

“So do I,” Nines said as he furrowed his eyebrows, his voice almost coming off as petulant. “But I estimate it would take another two weeks before any results come to fruition.”

Gavin raised his own eyebrows at that. “Did you just…what? Construct a timeframe of when we’ll close the case?”

Nines shrugged, imitating Gavin. “I assumed you would want to know when you could be done with the…partnership.”

The detective, amused now, grinned. Nines had grown stiff on more than one occasion when he found out that Gavin hadn’t dreaded his temporary partner. At first he had thought it was his imagination but nope. When the ring light turned yellow every time he had something nice to say about his new partner, he had realised that something wasn’t right.

“Oi,” Gavin said, catching Nines’ attention. “You jealous or someshit?”

Nines’ yellow light turned red just for a second before they turned blue immediately after. Alarmed at that, Gavin stood straighter. He stared at Nines, waiting for an answer but the android simply stood up. Almost looking like he was stalking across the room to get where the human was, Gavin sipped his mug of coffee one last time and placed it on the counter. He blinked when Nines trapped him against the kitchen counter, both hands at either side of his body.

But he wasn’t intimidated. Instead, he was a little curious at what the android was about to do. He rarely ever crossed the lines between their private and professional lives. Gavin supposed those were one of the many things he liked about the taller man. As he tilted his head just a smidgen to stare into the grey eyes, he couldn’t help but to smirk. The smirk died however when Nines placed one hand on his hips, his fingers digging into his waist.

Immediately, he touched that hand and tried to pry it off of him.

“Wait, tin can,” Gavin said, nervousness bubbling within him. “We’re in the break room. Anyone can walk in.”

Nines’ ring light turned yellow. “Are you afraid your new partner will walk in and see you here? Like this? Against me?”

Heat bloomed on his cheeks as his jaw slackened just for a bit. “What? No, but this is our workplace, dipshit.”

Another hand touched his face, cradling his jaw, silencing him. When he noted that his boyfriend’s face was now tense, looking close to smashing their mouths together, he concluded that yes. He was jealous. Decided to chuckle in hopes to diffuse the situation before they ended up making out here, he placed a hand on his chest, trying to get him to move.

“Tin can, move,” Gavin said. “You can be jealous all you want back home, man. Come on.”

“Gavin,” Nines said, seriousness bleeding in his tone.

What happened to calling him Detective Reed at their workplace? He stopped moving as he waited for his boyfriend to speak. But when the grey eyes simply looked at him, cataloguing him, Gavin sighed. Relenting, he rolled his eyes and touched the warmer face. Before Nines could speak, he pressed his lips against his. Nines kissed him back without hesitation, the grip on his waist tightened a bit. Gavin didn’t let the kiss go further than just their lips touching, pulling away. The hand on his face left to cradle the back of his head as he yanked his head a bit too fast and almost hit the cabinet behind him.

“Careful,” Nines whispered against him, his fingers caressing his hair.

Gavin’s cheeks reddened, a smile threatened to cross his lips before he delivered a playful punch on the android’s arm. “Get off me, you ass.”

Nines’ light turned blue as he smiled. Before Gavin could comprehend, he ducked his head and pressed a chaste kiss on his lips and took a step back. The human simply sighed as he grabbed back his mug of coffee, sipping on it, smiling behind the porcelain when Nines looked less jealous.

“Of course I want to be partnered with you again,” Gavin said, deciding to leave the break room once he got Nines attention on him at that.

He grinned when Nines followed him quickly. “I’m glad.”

And then the case ended and it had been a hard chase to get to the culprit. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins as he victoriously dragged the culprit to shove him behind bars. Once that was done, he clapped his hands together twice, turning to see Nines waiting for him. He grinned, reaching to where he was. He had wanted to hug him, just out of pure giddiness that they had closed the case when he saw Richard.

Richard had walked up to him and went, “That was awesome, Detective Reed!”

Gavin grinned wider at the compliment, feeling less grumpy. He patted the younger man’s shoulder. “You did great yourself.”

“Thanks for being a great partner,” Richard said and before Gavin could reply, he was being hugged.

He remained frozen like that for a second before Richard was yanked out of his grasp. Nines stood in front of Gavin, shoulders tense and his light turned yellow, flickers of red sparking within the colour. Richard stared at him before he frowned.

“Hey, what was that for, man?” he said.

“Please restrain from touching someone without permission, Detective Clifford,” Nines said, sounding as professional as one was.

Richard spluttered and Gavin decided to intervene before they got into a fight. He pressed a hand on Nines’s arm before smiling at the younger detective.

“Good work today, Richard,” Gavin said. “Come on, tin can. Buy me food.”

Nines only resisted for a millisecond before he allowed Gavin to physically move him away from the scene. As they got out of the station, he searched for his car keys in his pockets when Nines grabbed him by the wrist. He turned, ready to poke fun at him when he was pulled into a hug. He huffed a breath and remained in his embrace for a few seconds before he patted the android’s back and pulled away. Smirking, he poked Nines’ forehead.

“Now who’s hugging without permission?” he asked.

Nines frowned. He searched his face, his ring light still yellow. Gavin’s smirk slipped into a frown as well at that. He pressed a hand on his face, trying to shake him out of his own worrisome thoughts.

“Oi, plastic robocop,” Gavin said, not an ounce of malice in his voice, “you okay?”

“Yes,” Nines said. “I simply needed to…recalibrate my emotions.”

“No kidding,” Gavin said. “What happened back there? You looked like you wanted to tackle that kid.”

“He touched you.” Nines was blunt. He often was. But there were rare occasions that his bluntness would take Gavin off guard.

This was one of those times.

Gavin raised his eyebrows. “It was just a friendly hug. What? No one else can touch me?”

“That isn’t what I meant,” Nines said. “I simply didn’t like he was the one touching you.”

Ah. Gavin smiled before he rolled his eyes. “You’re jealous.”

Nines didn’t even hesitate to say, “I am, yes.”

His cheeks heated up before the smile on his face became warmer. He stared into the grey-blue eyes that he liked so much and said, “No need to worry about him anymore, Nines. The case is closed. Besides…I like your hugs more.”

Nines’ yellow light finally turned blue at that. Then, the android smiled, his body relaxing. Gavin patted his shoulder, ready to step out of his embrace when Nines wrapped his arms around him again. The detective chuckled, heart hammering against his chest as he allowed it, hugging him back. They remained standing like that for a few seconds before his stomach protested at the lack of food. He patted Nines’ back one more time.

“Hey, I’m hungry,” Gavin said, voice muffled as he had his face buried in his shoulder.

Nines pulled away before he nodded, a small smile still on his lips. “Yes, of course. Good work today, Detective Reed.”

Gavin grinned. “Thanks, tin can. Now, reward me!”

Nines snorted, causing Gavin to slap his arm again as they headed to the car.

He glanced at his boyfriend as the giddiness from the case and the affection from the android overflowed inside of him. It was a good day today.