Androids have all but won the war against humanity, and the remnants of the once-great human civilization are reduced to miles of wastelands and hidden communities struggling to survive. Dirk and his friends are sent out to scavenge for supplies, while AR is sent to hunt down and exterminate the dwindling human population. Their fated meeting is the beginning of a union between species that was once thought impossible.


21. Chapter 21

You take a long, deep breath, letting your hand linger on the surface of the metal door with a flashlight clutched in the other, fingers trembling with the cold. Roxy’s voice drifts through, just muffled enough that you can’t make out the words, and you decide to knock and wait for her to let you in.

The door squeals open on its rusted hinges, and Roxy’s blonde hair is the first thing you see, followed by a large pair of protective goggles.

“Finally,” she huffs mockingly, flashing you a smile. “We were wondering if you were gonna show up, or if your bro had changed his mind, or what.”

You try to smile back at her, but it doesn’t seem to stick. Normally she’d be the first to notice, but she’s already left the door open for you, turning back to where AR is sitting on one of the tables in the center of the storage room, once packed with spare equipment, now disorganized and hastily converted into a poorly-lit temporary maintenance lab while the evacuation effort still has everything in a state of upheaval. You avoid meeting his eyes, instead looking down at the floor where his limbs rest in loose coils and Roxy steps around them, halfway through setting up one of the compound’s gas-powered torches. There’s a small pile of black metal and alien-looking parts on the floor nearby, with a circular hole cut out from one of the larger pieces. A familiar pair of horns sticks out from the top, one of them broken off in the middle.

“Seriously, you’d think he’d get that this kinda shit takes a bit of prep work,” Roxy calls out, wrestling with the tool’s tangled cables as you step through the door and close it behind you, leaning back against it. “He sure kept you long enough, so I already went ahead and cut out a piece that should fit.”

She gestures to where AR is sitting, and the black, palm-sized metal disk on the table next to him. You set the flashlight aside and cross the room, reaching out to pick up the disk when you’re close enough and running your thumb along its ragged edge, but without the compound’s generators keeping the tunnels warm, your fingertips are almost numb. One of the coiled limbs on the floor shifts, brushing against the side of your ankle and slowly curling around your leg, like he knows there’s something wrong. Like he would actually care. It’s nothing but a possessive gesture, or maybe he’s displeased that you’re ignoring him.

“I tried to get it at the right size, but I had’ta eyeball it. Let me know if it doesn’t fit or whatever, we can always cut another one. I know your bro is itchin’ to get out of here by sundown, but we’re way ahead of schedule already, and we’ve got all afternoon until someone checks up on us.”

“He’s not coming.”

“What?” Roxy stops what she’s doing at your soft voice, straightening up with a knot of wires in her hand. “Wait, what do you mean he’s not coming?” she asks, but you continue to thumb the edge of the metal disk, turning it over and watching the lamplight reflect off of it. After Bro had outlined his plan for the next twelve hours and your friends had been dismissed from the command center (along with AR, who left to retrieve the blue android’s remains), most of your ensuing fight with him was less about letting you stay to help defend your home, and more a volatile culmination of everything you haven’t been talking about since the day English knocked you unconscious.

“Jake has already come to me multiple times in the last few days to express his concerns about your recent behavior, which I’ve admittedly made the mistake of letting go unchecked for far too damn long,” Bro had stated, clearly on the verge of outright yelling at you. “I understand that you’re a teenager, and that you’re hormonal, but you need to wake the fuck up and realize what it is exactly that you’re obsessing over.”

“You don’t know him like I do.” You’ve already said the words several times, losing your ability to rationally debate with him as your temper rises. “You don’t know what he’s been through!”

“That android is a soulless, stunted, unfeeling machine, Dirk!” He points at you accusingly, and you almost slap his hand away. “The exact moment you stop being useful to him is the moment he spreads you out into fifty fucking different pieces, but I’m starting to think you might actually get off on that!”

“That’s what he said.” Your voice sounds flat, even to your own ears. “He’s staying behind, and I have to leave with the others.”

Roxy pauses for a moment, before removing her goggles and crossing the room to pull you into a tight hug. You bury your face in the side of her neck, holding onto her like she’s everything you have left, because there was nothing you could say to Bro that would change his mind. Among everything else you yelled back and forth at each other, he made one thing perfectly clear- you’ve leaving with the evacuation tonight, and if you try to go against his orders this time, he’ll have you handcuffed and dragged along with Caliborn.

“I’m sorry, Dirk,” she whispers, rubbing your back through your shirt. “I mean, it kinda figures he’d mandate that, but still.”

You hold on until she lets go, cupping your face in her hands and giving you a long, sad look before turning away, and even with the state you’re in, you don’t miss the way she glances at AR, silently watching the two of you with his limb still wrapped around your leg.

“I guess we can get started now, if you’re up for it,” she offers, going to one of the shelves and coming back with a handful of what look like short, lumpy metal sticks. “I got these from Janey this morning, after your bro assigned us to this project and AR helped me catch up on some reading about brazing tungsten carbide together. Apparently you can use silver like glue to make it stick.” She rolls one of the metal rods between her fingers. “’Never thought silverware of all things would actually come in handy, but I don’t think she was too happy about letting us melt them down.”

Roxy leaves the sticks on the table, then reaches out to take the disk still clutched in your hand. When you try to apologize and tell her that she didn’t have to do all that by herself just because Bro kept you late, she waves you off.

“It’s all good. Normally, I’d say it was nice of him to even let you do this, apart from the whole ordering-me-to-be-present-in-the-same-room-the-entire-time-no-exceptions thing. I wouldn’t hold it against him tho.” Roxy hands you the torch and connects the nozzle while you hold it in place, before she glances sideways at AR, and as she continues to talk, his expression becomes increasingly displeased. “You can thank you-know-who’s paranoid neurosis about letting anyone who isn’t head over heels for him get close enough to fuck with his wiring, and yeah, it’s paranoid and neurotic. I don’t care what your excessively logical rationale is, you ain’t a freakin textbook, and I don’t need to hear a dissertation’s worth of unsolicited info about why I’m wrong. Feel like my ears are gonna start bleeding.” She straightens up and nudges at AR’s coiled limb with her foot until he lets go of your leg. “C’mon, let’s hurry up and get this over with. I’ve got plans for today, and the sooner this is finished, the better.”

You give her a questioning look, but she’s already pulling on a thick pair of gloves and retrieving the gas tank that connects to the torch by a long cable, dragging it beneath the table and twisting the valve open. AR’s glowing eyes follow as you walk around and stand behind him, facing the hole in his back where the bundle of capped wires are sticking out. There’s nowhere for you to sit this time, but the table is set at a comfortable height, and you reach out to run your finger around the edges of the hole, before pressing your palm between his shoulders. He’s as warm as you remember, but your fingers are cold enough that it hurts. Carefully, you push the capped wires inside, mindful of the jagged edges. He answers you with a simple “no” when you ask if it’s hurting him, and even though it was brief and abrupt, his voice sounds distracted. AR has been quiet since you got here, even though they were obviously talking before you arrived, and you can’t help being jealous at how quickly he’s warmed up to Roxy, while you had to endure several months of nightmares and attempted murder just to get to this far.

Roxy connects the torch’s cable to the tank before handing you the nozzle, and you take a moment to don the safety goggles she was wearing, followed by a thick pair of gloves. She stands by your side as you work the torch with one hand and keep the black disk in place over the hole with the other, holding the silver rods and letting them melt under the torch’s flame to fuse with the disk’s edges and cement it to AR’s back. He doesn’t seem bothered by it, and it’s not a difficult or lengthy project by any means, but you let yourself zone out to the sound of the torch’s hissing flame and the acrid smell of metal, letting it sooth the unpleasant feeling every time your memory conjures Bro’s voice.

“Well, it ain’t perfect,” Roxy says once you’re finished, using what’s left of the last rod to poke at the discolored edges. “But it’s better than nothing if yer goin’ toe-to-toe with the evil android queen and all. Maybe if we paint it black, she won’t notice. Do we have any black paint?” She directs the question at you, as you’re gathering the torch’s cable in loops around your arm and forcefully ignoring AR’s shifting limbs as they brush against your legs. You shrug uncertainly, but her expression changes. “Hang on a sec, check this out.”

She crosses the room to the shelves in the back and returns with a familiar, fist-sized stone cradled in her glove. The air around it still glows a strange, almost toxic green, even though it’s been days since AR ripped it out of the blue android’s chest.

“This is a uranium, uh…” she begins, looking down at the rock, “terra-something composite.”

“Tetrafluoride,” AR states flatly.

“Exactly. Also, don’t touch it with your bare hands.” She holds the rock out to you, and you set the torch aside to take it from her. Even through the thick fabric of your gloves, you can feel the warmth it’s giving off. “That thing is our ticket to victory. Just a shard of it can power an EMP gun for months. The trick is having the right wires to connect them, and thanks to that pile o’ scrap over there,” she points her thumb at the blue android’s remains, “we’ve got enough leftovers to modify every electromagnetic gun in the compound. Which is actually only nine guns, counting all the busted ones we had in maintenance, but I’d say our chances ain’t exactly zero. That’s our next project for today, anyways, but like I said, we’re ahead of schedule.”

You nod, trying your hardest to feel some of her excitement. After you’ve stared down at the rock long enough, she takes it back from you, frowning.

“Hey, so that reminds me,” she begins softly, “did you talk to Jake yet?”

“No,” you admit, picking up the torch and resuming winding the cord around your arm while she crosses the room to put the rock back on the shelf. AR stands from the table and turns to look over his shoulder, lifting one of his clawed limbs to poke at the fused disk on his back. Roxy returns to you shaking her head, making a short detour to swat at AR’s appendage until he lowers it.

“Don’t touch that ‘til it’s cooled off,” she mutters. “Dirk, look. I know the two of you can be pig-headed as all get out, but if you’d just talk to each other-“

“He doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. He’s made that pretty damn clear,” you tell her, although you’re half referring to your brother at this point. She rolls her eyes.

“Hun, I’m telling you this from personal experience. One of you is gonna have to be the bigger person and actually start the conversation, which will likely end with a mutual apology, hearts on our sleeves, water under the bridge kinda thing. It’s like pulling off a band-aid, and trust me, you’ll feel a lot better when it’s done.”

She pats you on the shoulder, before pulling her gloves off and discarding them on the table where AR was sitting a moment ago, and they share another brief, cryptic glance. Suddenly she takes a step back, putting a hand on her chest with an exaggerated gasp.

“Oh shit,” she says, her voice colored with false dread. You lift an eyebrow at her.


“I totally forgot,” she stares at you with wide eyes, her expression grave. “Your bro wanted me to consolidate the fuel containers in the maintenance lab before we worked on AR. I totally, completely forgot to do that, crap.” She puts one hand on her hip and runs the other through her hair. “That’ll probably take me, like…an entire hour to finish. Maybe even two.” When she looks up, you can tell she’s having trouble keeping a straight face. “Think you can hold down the fort while I’m gone?”

You blink at her, somewhat at a loss for how to react as she approaches you and leans in close with a grin.

“I won’t tell if you don’t,” Roxy mock-whispers before stepping away. “Hey, if I don’t see you again before shit goes down,” she says, but you realize a moment later that she isn’t talking to you. “Take care of yourself, okay? I mean that.”

AR stares at her without reply, but it doesn’t seem like she was expecting one. You flounder for what to say, torn between protesting and demanding a more in-depth explanation of what the hell she’s doing, until she waves goodbye a moment later and closes the door behind her.

Leaving you standing in the storage room with a torch in your hand, the cable wound around your arm, and AR standing behind you, his limbs shifting purposefully on the floor. When you turn around to look at him, he’s regarding you passively, almost innocently, if such a thing is possible for him.

“Did the two of you actually plan this?” you ask, incredulous at the thought, and a little shell-shocked about the implications. He seems to consider the question for a moment.

“I have been instructed to feign ignorance,” he finally replies, and when he meets your incredulous stare with his usual lack of emotion, you can’t help the stuttered, surprised laughter that quickly forces its way out, and the mildly confused look he’s giving you a moment later just makes it worse, until you give up and leave the torch and protective gear on the table. God, you missed him.

“You know saying that kind of defeats the purpose right?” you inform him, unable to stop yourself from grinning like an idiot.

“I have no reason to conceal her intentions from you.” His eyes follow as you step around him to inspect the circle of metal on his back, pretending you’re still occupied by the project rather than stalling and trying to ignore the rising swarm of butterflies in your stomach. Whatever Roxy’s intentions were, you can’t be upset with her for finally giving you a chance to be alone with him, although now that you’re really looking at the patch job, it’s obvious that she was right- some black paint really would have been necessary to hide the defect, but it helps that his plating is still scratched all over from the fight several days ago. The pattern of circuits in his skin is mismatched, each of the darkened wires leading to a gouged-out line in his plating where the blue android’s claws tore into him and severed the connection. You reach out and trace along one of the marks where it runs across his shoulder.

Does that concept distress you?

Your fingers pause, just before reaching the curve of his neck. When you’re quiet for too long, he turns to stare at you over his shoulder, and without another word, you take another step and lean in close, wrapping your arms around him and pressing yourself against his back, and he’s gloriously warm, like concrete after it’s been heated by the sun or the hood of a running vehicle. It’s the most wonderful thing you’ve felt since this nightmare of a day started, and you close your eyes, waiting to see what he’ll do and wondering if you really care one way or the other anymore.

“You lied to me.” His neck moves slightly as his head turns again at your soft voice. “All this time, I thought you really wanted to stay.”

“I did not lie to you.”

“It feels like you did,” you whisper, letting out a long breath. “But it’s okay. I know this isn’t what you wanted, and I know that…” your throat dips, as you pause to take a breath, “…I’m lucky to even have this much.”

When you finally open your eyes again, it’s to the iridescent black metal of his skin, and when you breathe out, it lingers on his neck as a faint, hazy mark. You tilt your head to the side and touch your mouth to it with a strange sense of reverence, then find one of the glowing red lines across his shoulder and repeat the motion, feeling it tingle against your lips.

“I do not understand you.”

You blink, lifting your head at the sound of his voice.

“You don’t?” Your own voice is barely more than a whisper, and suddenly the coiling appendages are brushing against your waist, then along your back. One of them clamps down on your shoulder, keeping you still as AR turns to face you.

“No,” he concedes. “I had anticipated that your companion Roxy would function as a useful source of information regarding your behavior and motivations beyond what I have observed, and while she has offered a significant amount of insight into our mutual situation, I remain unable to understand certain anomalous aspects of your personality.”

“Well, for what it’s worth,” you mutter, lifting a hand and spreading your fingers against his chest, “I don’t really get you either, and it’s not like I haven’t tried.” You trace along the scratches in his plating, watching the intact red lines flicker as your fingertips pass over them. The burn mark is still there too, circling the base of his neck- a smudged discoloration that serves as a reminder of exactly what you started with. “But it’s not like I’ll ever stop trying.”

When you look up and meet his eyes, he’s staring at you, waiting, analyzing your actions, and you might as well be in the waterworks again, this time without blood dripping down your shirt. It would be an improvement if you didn’t have Bro’s accusations, Jake’s anger, and the evacuation all weighing on your mind at once. One of AR’s appendages is coiled securely around your legs, daring you to try and move away, but he seems unprepared when you reach up and rest both arms on his shoulders. His expression does something strange when you accidentally brush your fingers over the retracted wires behind his neck.

When you touch them again, purposefully this time, AR visibly tenses, and two of his appendages lift into the air, claws spread open in warning.

“Do all androids have these?” you ask, carefully exploring the metal-tipped wires you’ve seen him use to connect himself to various pieces of hardware. His reaction to having them touched isn’t all that surprising.


“Because you’re an old model, right?”

“Yes,” he replies stiffly. You carefully grasp one of the metal connectors between thumb and forefinger, slowly pulling away as the coiled wire inside unravels, and AR practically bristles.

“Is it sensitive?” you grin, gently curling the black wire around your finger.

“My digital connection apparatus is a highly vulnerable component that is easily damaged, the loss of which would severely and permanently cripple my functionality.”

“I thought you trusted me,” you tease, and his eyes narrow.

“Your fingers are still intact, are they not?” he growls slowly, and suddenly you’re out of breath. He blinks in surprise when you lean in close, resting your forehead against his, and for the first time, you can see through the red glow of his eyes to the black glint of artificial lenses beneath.

Briefly, you wonder where all of your fear has gone.

He’d probably be curious about your behavior right now, if his precious wire wasn’t still wrapped around your fingers, but the fact that he hasn’t physically stopped you is evidence that he’s been telling the truth all this time, at least in that one regard- he really does trust you.

Hesitating, you close your eyes against the red light and breathe, willing your brother’s echoing words and the dissenting voice in your head to be silent, and narrowing your focus instead to the smooth metal against your forehead.

The last time you dreamt about doing this, he tore your head off.

This time, you let AR’s wire slowly unravel from around your fingers as you tilt your head, leaning in and carefully pressing your mouth against his.

It’s a simple kiss. His lips don’t feel like metal, but they don’t feel like skin, either. Knowing the way his mind works, it’s probably no different to him than any other form of physical contact, but inside, you’re counting through all the ways in which this means nothing to him (because Bro was right) and how profoundly you’ve lost yourself, a desperation with no echo to match it, offering everything you have in sacrifice to a silent, empty void. You don’t attempt to deepen it, and he stays motionless until you lean away to find his eyes watching you with a complete absence of desire or affection, and even though it’s exactly what you were expecting, it still breaks your heart.

You lean into his neck and hide your face in the warm metal, willing the sting away from your eyes and telling yourself again to be grateful for what you have, repeating it like an angry mantra. Getting this close to him should be enough and you knew exactly what you were getting into, but it seems like no matter what you do there’s always this persistent, agonizing hope that he might actually care, that this isn’t just an experiment in human behavior for him, and god how you wish you could kill that hope and bury it, because it still hurts, every single time.

AR lets you stay like that, leaning into him until you don’t feel chilled to the bone anymore, but something eventually brushes against the back of your waist, too small to be another clawed limb. You’re not prepared for the tingle of electricity, buzzing faintly against your skin when it finds the edge of your shirt, and the sudden, irrational flood of sensation when you identify it as the tips of his fingers, moving curiously along the base of your spine. He’s barely touched you, but a strange, broken sound forces its way out of your throat, as your body responds with a flooding desire so potent it’s alarming.

Squeezing your eyes shut against his neck, you try in vain to catch your breath while metal fingertips- you can count three of them, and the occasional hint of a fourth- slowly inspect the contours of your vertebrae, pausing only when you’ve lost a pathetically brief battle with your self-control as you clutch at his shoulders. Despite his professed lack of knowledge on human behavior, he does seem somewhat concerned, or at least confused enough about your reaction to stop and get your attention.


Please,” you whisper, well beyond any ability to participate in conversation right now. You can’t see his expression, but after a short pause, his hovering limbs begin to move, coiling around your body and sliding over your clothes in a culmination of every guilty thought you’ve ever had since you met him. One of them wraps around your shoulders and slowly, firmly forces you down, until you’re halfway kneeling on the floor in front of him. Another wraps around your neck, but when you try to lift your arms to reflexively grab at it, they’re held in place at your sides, and your entire body suddenly feels like it’s going up in flames.

AR meets your wide-eyed stare impassively and spreads his black fingers against your chest, pushing you down until you’re lying on the cold concrete floor. It’s enough to make you grit your teeth for a long, unpleasant moment, but not enough to distract you from how he places his knees on either side of your chest, and it occurs to you vaguely that he’s doing it this way on purpose.

The android stares down at you for a long, silent moment while his appendages secure themselves in coiled loops around your limbs (one for both arms, one for each leg), and you’re already breathing hard as the reality of what’s happening finally sinks in, even before you nervously try to pull at the metal coils, only to find that your head is the only thing left you can really move, and the revelation quickly makes your arousal swell to an unbearable, humiliating degree. AR waits until your movements still, before leaning down.

“Is this what you wanted?” he asks, a touch of derision in his voice as he fixes you with an unblinking stare. You’d be lying if you said it didn’t still scare you on some level, but your body can’t seem to tell fear apart from arousal anymore. There was a time when the serpentine limbs coiled around you were once a death sentence, and the déjà vu is putting you right back in the city, lying in the dirt with a flash drive clutched in your hand. You’ll be having fantasies about this for the rest of your life.

“Would it matter if I said no?” you whisper, unsure of where the words came from. AR stares at you for a long, silent moment, before his expression shifts into subtle amusement.

“You would be lying, if you said no.” he replies, his voice quiet. Something buzzes against your throat as he circles your neck with his hand, keeping his grip light, and the gesture makes your breath audibly hitch as his eyes narrow. “Because I know what stimulates you.”

Looking back on it, you can pinpoint the exact moment you lost all hope of restraint. Even if you didn’t trust him not to hurt you (which you do, almost nonsensically), there was nothing left to you after that but a desperation you could taste, as his fingertips leisurely felt along the ridges of your trachea, the very same part of you he threatened to crush not two months ago. Your eyes almost roll back when his other hand finds the bottom of your shirt, sliding underneath.

“I have made an observation, regarding the inherent nature of your species,” AR states conversationally, trailing his fingers up your chest and watching dispassionately as your back arches under his touch. “Even before the end of human civilization, your collective obsession with sexual activity was apparent, regardless of whether or not it correctly results in the development of offspring. There were few animals on Earth that exhibited the same misdirected excess of reproductive behavior…apart from insects.”

You’re not quite at the point of begging out loud yet, but you’re getting very close. The two appendages restraining your legs are constricting your thighs, just close enough to make you ache in the best way possible, but the complete lack of stimulation where you’re desperate for it most is torture. You can’t even move your hips with how tight he’s wound around you, but it doesn’t stop you from trying, and it isn’t long before you’re trembling with exertion.

“Your instincts in particular are remarkably defective,” AR says, leaning in close until his mechanical voice is buzzing in your ear. “Before we encountered one another, your settlement was filled with reproductively capable females, but instead, you had become fixated on another male.” His appendages tighten around your body, almost enough to hurt. “An inferior, pathetic excuse for a sentient creature that is more of a detriment to your species than I am.”

Fuck,” you curse breathlessly, as his hands move down your sides until they meet the waist of your pants. Your forehead presses into his neck when you turn your head, unable to release the tension building under your skin as he holds you still, and even your voice shakes with the strain. “AR, please…”

“And yet, you have persisted this long, despite some of my better efforts to kill you.” He leans away, leaving you cursing through your teeth as the coils wrapped around your legs begin to move, forcing your knees apart until they’re held against the ground and leaving you spread wide open and trembling, unsure of how much more you can take, or if this will end before he’s even touched you.

“Please, I can’t…I-I…ah,” you’re past the point of being self-conscious, getting distressingly close to orgasm just from the slight friction of your pants as you try to twist in his grasp. He ignores you, shifting away from your chest to kneel between your legs. The coiled metal around your thighs moves down with him, pulling at the legs of your pants and exposing the rest of your abdomen, along with a few stray blond curls of hair. When he places his fingers just below your navel and slowly drags them down, you practically thrash in his grip, and your voice finally breaks when his fingers hook into the waistband of your pants.

Suddenly one of your legs is freed from the metal coils, and the next thing you see is an array of glinting points, hovering over your face as the appendage twists in the air. It takes a moment to orient itself, before descending and clamping firmly over your mouth, although this time he’s considerate enough not to cover your nose and suffocate you.

“Your vocalizations are excessive,” AR scolds, meeting your wide eyes before returning his attention to the waist of your pants.

Please don’t tear my clothes, you whimper incoherently, unable to move your head or see what he’s doing anymore with his claws clamped around your face like a steel trap. When you try to move the leg he’s freed, one of his hands grabs your knee and presses it back against the floor, keeping them apart. His fingers hook into your waistband again, pulling it down and exposing you to the cold air. It would be uncomfortable if his limbs weren’t so warm and your body wasn’t already in overdrive just at the fact that he’s observing your painfully aching hard-on with nothing more than detached curiosity.

His fingers brush against the inside of your bare thigh, and your inner voice becomes a senseless mantra of pleas and curses. Your hips twitch uselessly as the buzz of electricity trails closer, and the implications of that feeling finally hit you, just as he wraps his hand around you and the sensation arcs through your spine like a lightning strike, seizing up your entire body in his grasp with every muscle held taut, as your back arches mindlessly and your brain is utterly wiped blank.

He lets go after only a moment, but it felt like an eternity as you pant for air through your nose, exhausted and tingling from overstimulation. He lifts his own hand and stares at it, considering the red circuits running over his palm before turning his attention back to you. When he reaches down out of your line of sight again, you tense up apprehensively, flinching when something touches the base of your dick, but he keeps the contact light this time, using what feels like a single finger to trail up from base to tip, and repeating the motion a few more times before the unbearable heat starts to pool between your legs again.

“I apologize if that sensation was painful,” he says, and you barely have the presence of mind left to meet his eyes, as his finger leisurely circles the head of your cock. “I was unaware of how sensitive your genitals were to electricity, or how exaggerated your physical response would be to having them stimulated in this manner.”

You’re only able to understand half of what he’s saying, as this time a slow, deep burn gradually makes its way up your spine, soaking into your bones until you’re shivering every time his finger trails up the underside of your shaft. Whenever your hips twitch a little too hard, he ceases touching you until your movements still, and then the tingle of electricity returns. It isn’t long before you’re urgently twisting and pulling at his coils while he watches, unmoved by the frantic, muffled sounds you’re making as he mercilessly edges you.

“It is a pity that we do not have more time at our disposal,” he remarks as you helplessly shake in his grasp, unable to think coherently while his touches keep getting lighter and more fleeting, until it’s down to the brush of a single, buzzing fingertip against the head of your cock, but the feeling reverberates throughout your entire body. There’s no coordination left to your movements, and your approaching orgasm is wound up like a spring, but he keeps pulling you back, holding you still and stifling your desperate cries.

AR trails along the base of your shaft one last time, then circles it with his fingers as your legs jerk in his grasp, but he doesn’t let go of you this time, observing as your body squirms, then arches, muscles shaking weakly until you’re unable to breathe as the spring in your gut tightens. You’re held suspended in a moment of painful, blinding ecstasy as he suddenly squeezes harder, forcing you to the edge and holding you there, and your body practically convulses as the orgasm hits you, but it’s drawn-out for a long, unbearable moment before something wet finally leaks out from the sensitive slit. The claw still clamped onto your mouth mutes the broken sounds in your throat, as your back arches in rhythmic waves and cum slowly drips down the side of your shaft. It’s unbelievably good, even after it’s over and you’re left shuddering through the aftershocks.

For the next few moments, you focus only on filling your lungs until they don’t burn anymore. The metal limbs unwind themselves from your arms and legs, and you can tell you’ll be aching tomorrow, but you can’t bring yourself to care. You’re startled when something clamps onto your leg and AR pulls you towards him, leaning over you as his appendage wraps itself around your waist.

“What’re you doing?” you mumble, swallowing against what is going to be a very sore throat later.

“Human orgasm results in elevated levels of the nonapeptide compound oxytocin, a hypophyseal neurotransmitter that exerts a psychological pair-bonding effect during the period of physical contact that follows sexual activity. I am taking advantage of this.”

You blink up at him in confusion, before a tired, but genuine laugh wells up in your chest. He lets you wrap your arms around his neck and pull him down until he’s on the floor next to you, close enough that you can curl into his chest as the coils slide around your body, until you’re surrounded by warm, living metal. His circuits tingle pleasantly against your arms, and you close your eyes, trying to savor the peaceful moment before reality starts to creep its way back in.

“How long do we have?” you whisper, mindful of the drying mess on your abdomen and hoping that you didn’t get any of it on him. AR wouldn’t care, knowing him, but it would still be embarrassing.

“It has been slightly over one hour since your companion left.”

“Mm…fuck,” you sigh, fully aware that you should be worrying about Roxy walking in on you like this, but you aren’t interested in giving up the weight of his appendages draped across your legs, or worrying about the consequences of what comes after. AR doesn’t seem concerned when you start to drift in and out of sleep against his chest, as exhaustion catches up with you. There was a lot you wanted to say to him before Roxy came back, but as your time together quickly ran out, nothing else mattered but preserving that moment as long as you could, fully aware that it might be the last time you ever see him again. You’ll forgive yourself later for wasting the chance to tell him things that probably don’t matter anyway, in the grand scheme of things.

In the end, Roxy was kind enough to knock and give you a minute to untangle yourself from AR’s coils and compose yourself, before answering the door and resuming the steady march of time, counting down the final hours, and wishing with all your heart that it didn’t have to be this way.

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