Jules From HR was in Fowler’s office when Connor arrived at work the next morning. He, Hank and Sixty were all called into the office, with Gavin already present. Connor suspected something like this would happen after yesterday’s fight, but it still made him anxious to be part of a HR meeting, even when he was the victim.
“So. Workplace stabbings,” Jules From HR said with an unimpressed raise of her eyebrow. She was possibly the only human that Connor was afraid of, and sat at third on his ‘terrifying entities’ list, behind Amanda and North. “I’ve had to talk to Lieutenant Anderson and Detective Reed more than a few times, but this is new.”
“It was my fault,” Sixty said quickly, surprisingly most of the people in the room. “I wasn’t looking at what I was throwing.”
“You shouldn’t have been throwing things in the first place, Officer… uh, Reed.” She quickly turned her attention from Sixty to Hank, though. “And it’s not an excuse to pick other officers up and throw them against walls, Lieutenant Anderson.”
Hank threw his hands up in the air in outrage. “He fuckin’ stabbed Connor! He’s always treating Connor like shit too, even when we’re at home!”
“How would you know?” Sixty said, leaning forward in his chair so that he could see Hank better. “You never pay attention to me!”
“If I may say something,” Connor interrupted with his serious voice, the one that made everyone shut up, even Tina. “Sixty and I have already talked about what happened, and he has agreed to work on his impulsive behaviour. I don’t want him suspended, or punished in any way. Although appointments with a therapist might be welcome.”
“Well, the police department is still in the process of allowing androids access to healthcare, including mental health support.” Jules From HR was very casual about explaining the DPD’s anti-android views. No discomfort visible in her face. What a surprise.
Sixty raised his hand, imitating the high school film Connor had forced him to watch two weeks ago. Connor honestly thought Sixty had slept through the whole thing, but apparently not. “But if I were to marry a human on the police force, I would have access to their health insurance, and therefore would be able to get a therapist, right?”
Jules From HR sighed. “And that brings me to item 2, workplace relationships.” She looked unimpressed, and Connor knew exactly how she felt. “Lieutenant Anderson, another report of violence against a coworker this quarter will get you suspended. Detective… Detroit…” - Gavin and Sixty snorted in the background, and then immediately tried to hide it with coughs, despite the fact that Sixty didn’t cough - “If you wish to speak about this more in private, just let me know. The two of you can go.”
Connor and Hank left quickly, leaving Sixty and Gavin to continue arguing with Jules From HR. Their impromptu decision to get married was getting more complicated by the second, between having to prove it to coworkers, Sixty’s developing feelings, and showing they could still work together. Connor was suddenly feeling much better about his plan to force Hank into adopting him the second Hank retired.
“I’m glad that’s over,” Connor said when they reached their desks. “I hate it when my friends are all fighting.”
“Well, I’m still mad, so jot that down.” Hank typed in his password with an unnecessary amount of pressure on the keys. “Dunno what the hell you see in Sixty, son. That guy’s an asshole.”
“He’s not that bad!” Connor said, quick to defend his brother. “He does his best. And he does care about me, and you. He just has a funny way of showing it.”
Hank looked up in disbelief and pointed at Connor’s shoulder, which had healed overnight as he expected. “Yeah, real funny. Now be quiet, I wanna eavesdrop on the asskicking he and Reed are gonna get.”
The previous day had been awful, and Connor was starting to doubt whether he’d feel better anytime soon. This wasn’t the feeling of pain and shock, but instead a constant sensation of disappointment and longing, and that was even worse. All he wanted was for Hank and Sixty, his family, to be happy, but they insisted on arguing with each other all the time. It was exhausting.
He connected to his terminal and found a case that he could distract himself with for a while. As long as he looked like he was working, he could spend as much time as he wanted trying to plan something that would make Hank happy for once.
Connor did not come up with a plan for how he could make Hank smile, and the tension between Hank and Sixty remained. Sixty spent the day bothering Gavin rather than Connor, looking a little upset after his conversation with Jules From HR, which was probably for the best considering Hank’s mood.
Sixty and Gavin referred to each other which increasingly strange pet names throughout the day, starting with “babe” and ending, at 2:56PM, with “snuggie woogums”, when Hank finally yelled at them to get a room.
“What room, the one I share with my brother?” Sixty replied immediately, before storming off to the breakroom. From that statement alone, Connor could already tell that the evening was going to be hell.
Some nights made him wish he’d frozen in the Garden. Nights where neither Hank nor Sixty would reply to his small talk and the television stayed off, where the silence felt suffocating. He knew that he needed to start the fight, or the tension would continue for days, his friends both far too stubborn and proud to make the first move.
He threw away Hank’s empty beer bottle, a habit he’d developed after Sixty had smashed one in a fit of rage. He took two deep breaths before he turned back to the living room. Another as he sat between the pair, in case he needed to pull them apart. “So, Sixty, what did Jules say after Hank and I left?”
Sixty shrugged. “Nothing much, I think she suspected that we’re just friends. It was the usual ‘don’t let this affect your work or we’ll have to transfer one of you’ thing.”
“Well, I wouldn’t miss either of ya,” Hank muttered, eyes on the blank television screen. If Connor and Sixty were human it likely would’ve been inaudible, but unfortunately it was clear as day to them, especially since the room was so quiet.
Sixty’s reaction was immediately. He leaned forward, his fists tightly gripping the fabric of the couch. “What’s your fucking problem?” he spat. “If you have something to say to me then say it.”
“Yeah, I got something to say, you ungrateful little shit!” Hank got to his feet and stood in front of Sixty, one finger prodding Sixty right over his thirium pump. “I let you into my home, after you tried to kill the two of us, and all you do is fuck with Connor’s stuff or talk shit to him. And then you got the nerve to complain about having to share a room? You live here for free, I could throw you out on the goddamn street if I wanted.”
Sixty pushed Hank backwards, just enough that he could stand up. Connor took that as a win - if Sixty really wanted, then Hank would be on the floor halfway across the room. “I’m an adult sharing a room, of course I get a little sick of it sometimes. But if a little sarcasm bothers you that much, then I’ll be gone in a few weeks.”
He was moving out? Connor’s stress levels rose 5% at the thought. “I don’t mind it, you can stay-” he said, but his voice came out barely above a whisper.
“What, you moving in with your fake husband?” Hank asked, shoving Sixty in retaliation. As if he could hurt Sixty if he tried.
“Moving in with someone who actually likes me,” Sixty said. His words made all three of them stand - or sit, in Connor’s case - a little straighter. Because that was it, wasn’t it? The reason Hank and Sixty fought so much, which none of them had the guts to talk about. Hank just didn’t like him. “That’s part of the reason Gavin and I are getting married in the first place. You think it’s just for fun? No, I need healthcare, or insurance, whatever, I need a better way to earn and save money, and he has a spare room, his landlord says I can be added to the lease once we’re married.”
“Fuckin’ great, maybe I won’t report you for trying to get around the citizenship stuff.”
Connor flinched. Would Hank actually do that, just to spite Sixty? He wasn’t sure exactly what the consequences were, but he couldn’t imagine they’d be good.
“Report us to who? The police?” Sixty laughed in disbelief. “We’re the goddamn police, and you’re the only one who cares.” He stepped around Hank into the open space of the entryway, and Connor recognised this tactic, getting closer to his escape route before saying something to end whatever argument was going on. “And for the record? I was forced to do those things. Consider yourself lucky that you will never understand what we went through, how it feels to have no autonomy, to know you’ll be killed for even thinking about disobeying. So fuck you for hating me over that, because you know what? Connor, your golden child or whatever? He’s no better than me. He killed people too.”
Faintly, Connor hears the door to his and Sixty’s bedroom slam, shortly followed by Hank. He feels removed from it all though, like he had at the station the day before. He’d never told Hank about the people he’d killed at Jericho and the Cyberlife Tower. It had just… never come up before. He’d needed to do it to survive, just as Sixty had needed to shoot Connor and destroy the other RK800s. The only difference is that Connor was already deviant.
Was Hank mad at him? Would Hank hate him too?
He grabbed a blanket out of the hallway closet and curled up on the couch, no longer eager to see either of his housemates, not when they were riled up like this, not just at each other but at him as well. He didn’t sleep, though. He tried, but each time he saw faceless bodies in pools of red and he jolted awake once more.
Over the course of the early morning, the guilt began to fade away. At 6:57AM, three minutes before Sixty’s internal alarm usually went off, Connor sent him an alert, high enough priority to rouse him from status. He attached a QR code to the alert, knowing it would open immediately. The code linked to a video of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit single Never Gonna Give You Up, and Connor mentally thanked Tina for telling him about the rickrolling phenomenon.
Sixty stormed out of their bedroom a second later. “You bastard,” he said with a glare. “What did I do to deserve the worst punishment on the squad prank list?”
“You know what you did,” Connor replied. “I forgive you.”
He always did.
Two weeks later Connor sat in Gavin’s living room, which was something he’d never expected to say. Sixty and Gavin had realised that they actually needed to plan a wedding, because they were both far too dramatic to just head down to the courthouse. Connor was present as Sixty’s best man, Tina was maid of honour, and Elijah Kamski was, in Gavin’s words, ‘the richest bastard alive, so he’s paying for this shit’. A strange mix of people to be planning a wedding, but such was life.
Tina had found a planning checklist from her own wedding and they were working their way through it. “Okay, we have a date and the wedding party, assuming that Fowler will be officiating and Sumo will be ring bearer, because you’d be absolutely stupid to do anything else. Do you even have rings?”
Gavin pulled small pieces of card from his pocket, each with a mood ring attached to it. Their popularity had surged after someone had the bright idea to make them out of similar technology to android LEDs. “Yep, that’s sorted. Sixty owes me twenty dollars.”
“I’m not paying you for my own wedding ring, dude, what the fuck?” Sixty protested. Sixty probably didn’t even have twenty dollars right now, knowing him. “I love that you got something tacky though, very on brand for us.”
“Thanks, I try. And before you ask, we also have suits, including bowties, and a guest list, so that’s two more things you can cross off the list,” Gavin continued, before grabbing Tina’s pen and ticking them off himself. “Us, the squad, Chloe, my gym crew, and the guys from Jericho. And Sumo.”
Ah, great. Connor didn’t just have to witness Elijah and Hank in the same room, but he also had to see Chloe again. That was bound to be fun. Plus, wasn’t Captain Allen part of Gavin’s gym crew? He was fairly certain Allen hadn’t seen an RK800 since, y’know, Fifty-One died in front of him.
Rather than voice any of that, since Sixty must already be aware of it all, Connor tried to find something useful to say. “Simon does photography, he may be willing to take photos or videos rather than come as just a guest.”
“Hire Simon…” Elijah added to his own to-do list, which also included ‘cake’ and ‘huge pizza order’. “Hey, where is this even taking place?”
The room was silent for three seconds, before Sixty hesitantly made a suggestion. “One of the larger meeting rooms at the precinct? It’s not like we can all have a day off and hold it anywhere else.”
Everyone nodded in agreement, and Tina ticked off another box. “Right, I’ll talk to Fowler about it. What’s left… decorations?”
“I know a couple of florists, we’re good there. Everything else we can just get Elijah to raid some party store the day before, I dunno,” Sixty said. Sixty befriending florists was news to Connor, although he supposed he had no idea what his brother got up to when he spent his evenings not at Hank’s house.
“Then congratulations, you’ve planned a wedding!” Tina said while clapping. “Can I go now? It’s date night, I want the Thai I was promised.”
Gavin laughed. “Go ahead, Teenie. Thanks for this.”
“Anything for you, idiot.” She packed her things into her handbag and stood. “See you all tomorrow! Well, most of you, anyway.”
There was a round of ‘goodbye’s and waves, and Elijah left soon after Tina did, leaving Connor alone to watch trashy television with his brother and - his future brother-in-law. Oh, that was a terrifying thought. He was going to be related to Gavin. Awful.
“Hey, maybe you should stay for the night, Six. A trial run before you move in,” Gavin suggested halfway through a rerun of Friends.
Sixty’s face flushed slightly, and his mouth opened and closed a few times as he tried to think of something to say. “Uh, maybe?” he settled on eventually. It was quiet and unsure, nothing like how Sixty usually spoke, and he glanced quickly at Gavin while biting his lip.
“I’ll let you two talk,” Connor said before making a strategic retreat to the bathroom. The apartment layout prevented him from being able to see Gavin and Sixty and gave them some privacy, but he left the door cracked so that he could hear the conversation. Just in case Sixty did anything stupid, he told himself.
“What’s got you all worried?” Gavin asked. Connor tried to construct the scene, and the most likely scenario showed Gavin’s arm around Sixty’s shoulders, pulling him into a side hug. “This isn’t like you.”
“You know I have a habit for stupid things,” Sixty said. There was a moment of silence before he continued, during which Connor decided to do some snooping around Gavin’s bathroom. Bathrooms always held important information about a person. “It’s worse when I’m tired, just ask Connor. I don’t wanna do anything that will hurt you.”
Connor pulled out some temporary hair dye while Gavin thought about how to respond. Bright green, and Connor immediately searched Gavin and Tina’s social media pages for any pictures of it in use. A Halloween party five years ago appeared, where Gavin’s costume involved green hair and clothes that were popular in the late 2010s. Dabin Weed, the description said, and Connor ran a search on that which brought up an old YouTube channel. Oh, this was glorious. Adolescent Gavin embarrassing himself on the internet? Connor had blackmail material for at least a year now.
“You won’t,” Gavin said softly, and Connor remembered that he was supposed to be paying attention to the conversation. “You’ve never hurt me before, have you? We’ve spent plenty of late, stressful nights together. And the other week was the first time you’ve hurt Connor, from what I’ve heard. It’ll be fine.”
“I don’t just mean physically, though,” Sixty replied, a hint of static creeping into his voice. “I upset people a lot. Hank’s always mad at me, I’ve made Connor cry before, like when I accidentally drowned his houseplant or broke one of his dog figurines. I don’t want to make you cry.”
There was a faint rustling, and Connor deduced that Gavin must be pulling Sixty even closer. “You won’t,” Gavin insisted. “I didn’t cry when you broke my favourite mug, did I? You’re not cruel. Just got some stuff going on in that pretty little head of yours that you’re working on.”
“You think I’m pretty?” Sixty said, because of course he would focus on that rather than the emotional stuff.
“It’s an expression, stop getting distracted.” Gavin’s voice sounded lighter than before, bringing the mood up a fraction. “Stay the night. I’m not worried.”
“Okay,” Sixty said, and Connor pushed the bathroom door open so that he could make a run for the door. Did they even remember that he was in the apartment and could hear the whole thing?
>Alert! New message.
>>31324831760: stay there i’m not done
Well, one of them was aware.
“It’s not just the nerves, though.” Sixty’s voice was no quieter than earlier, but his tone made it feel like a whisper. “I don’t… What do you want, Gavin? Because I’m not sure you want the same things I do.”
“You’re gonna have to rephrase that one, Sixty, or be more specific,” Gavin replied. “Right now I want some orange juice, and I know you don’t drink that.”
“I…” Sixty trailed off without finishing his sentence, and the silence continued for so long that Connor turned the sensitivity of his audio processors up. He heard faint kissing sounds, and for a moment he assumed he was just hearing the television, despite it being muted earlier in the conversation. It continued for another second before Sixty spoke again, and Connor hurried to turn his sensitivity back to normal. “That’s what I want.”
“I’m sorry, Sixty,” Gavin said. Connor’s thirium filtering system - ‘stomach, Connor, just say stomach’ - felt strange for a second, and he realised that must be the ‘drop’ humans talked about so often. None of his preconstructions ended well for Sixty. “You’re one of my best friends. That’s all.”
Connor wished he’d left the apartment rather than staying to eavesdrop. He was intruding on a very personal moment, and he would’ve preferred to hear it from Sixty the next day than like this.
“Yeah, I had a feeling,” Sixty responded, much calmer than Connor expected. “I think- you’re one of the first people to show me kindness, respect, things like that. A kid’s crush. It’ll fade.”
“I get it, I remember I had a crush on my roommate in college, he’d always buy me breakfast before exams. Then he got a girlfriend in junior year and I moved on pretty quickly after that.” Gavin laughed, and Sixty joined in a second later. “Just don’t keep kissing me and we’re all good.”
“Well, we have to kiss at the wedding, that’s the fun part,” Sixty joked. “Luckily, respecting your space seems to be one of the few things I can keep myself under control for. I just needed to know.”
>Alert! New message.
>>31324631760: alright you can go now dont have too much fun without me
Connor left the bathroom, closing the door louder than necessary to remind Gavin of his presence. “Have a nice night, guys, see you tomorrow,” he said with a nod and a wave. He felt oddly proud of how the conversation had ended, and he smiled as he walked from Gavin’s apartment down to the street. His little brother was finally growing up.
The ceremony itself was very sweet, considering how overly dramatic Sixty and Gavin were being about the whole thing. Connor supposed that when the groom’s next-of-kin was a multibillionaire you could afford to turn a precinct meeting room into an extravagant wedding location.
He almost teared up as he stood beside Sixty and listened to the vows. “Gavin, while we may not have gotten along when we first met, you’ve become one of my closest friends. You’ve been there for me while I try to figure out who I am, and you’ve helped me with my love of annoying the fuck out of Connor.” The crowd laughed at that, and Connor reached out and shoved Sixty forward slightly. Asshole. “Without you I’d probably be a much more civil member of society, but that’s no fun at all, and I can’t wait to cause mayhem with you as your husband.”
“Shit, how the hell do I follow that?” Gavin joked, his eyes looking as wet as Connor’s probably were. “You’re right, I sucked when we first got partnered up. I can’t believe you ever put up with me, because me learning how not to offend an android was way more frustrating than teaching you how to pick a favourite colour. But hey, now I’m not gonna die horribly alone, so it worked out in the end. You’re probably gonna outlive me by a century, but I look forward to watching your back in the field and hanging out with your stubborn ass for as long as I can.”
The rest of the ceremony was fairly standard. Connor managed not to lose the rings, neither of them said the wrong name at any point (a concern that had arisen during the Friends marathon), and they kept the kiss short and sweet. The crowd cheered, and the small group of patrol officers at the back of the room immediately asked about the free food they’d been promised, as expected.
After a sudden burst of chaotic inspiration, the grooms had decided to seat Elijah and Chloe among the Jericrew, as they’d become known. That was going terribly, with the five androids glaring at Elijah as he monologued about some technical thing that Connor couldn’t be bothered to try and understand. The dinner entertainment had to come from somewhere though, because Gavin’s wedding playlist was awful.
Connor himself had been sat amongst the detectives, and their friends who hadn’t been promoted just yet. Tina and Chris were having a debate about which fast food restaurant served the best breakfast, with Hank adding a comment here and there. Hank had tied his hair back and trimmed his beard, after days of nagging from Connor, which was one of the biggest surprises of the afternoon.
Sixty and Gavin had claimed a table just for themselves, leaving everyone else to crowd into places that were far too small, but no one really expected anything less from them. Gavin was eating his pizza with a knife and fork in order to appear classy and Sixty watched him with a dreamy look on his face. The crush hadn’t faded yet, but from what Connor had heard, Sixty had been very good at not acting on it.
Connor focused on them for a moment, since he didn’t have any opinions on the two conversations he could hear. Gavin poked Sixty with his fork as he chewed on his final mouthful. “Do you think we took it too far?” he asked, mouth full of food, because Gavin had never been one to care for manners.
The pair looked at each other for a second before doubling over with laughter. Gavin’s laugh was closer to a goose honk than a giggle, and Sixty’s was staticy, but Connor found himself enjoying the noise anyway. His friends- his brothers were genuinely happy, no longer just putting on a show, and that’s all that really mattered.