1:14 – A new home, a new life

The next weeks flew away before she even realized they had been there. There was so much to do in the new house, but the thing she had admired and told most everyone around her about, was the view. From living underground for so long, having sunshine come into the windows, and seeing the world around her outside the windows was the thing she loved the most. 

“First audition tomorrow Rags, first step on the way to what I want. What I hope can be the start of something special.”

She looked over at the dog as she was playing the piano. She was still learning how to play it, but at least Rags didn’t seem to mind at all. He seemed as happy as them with their new home. 

“You’ll stay with us a bit longer, won’t you?”

His coat was getting gray, and she remembered what Liam had once told her as a child. That a dog did not live as long as humans. The only reason he had lastet this long was a special serum Liam had been giving him, but even that would not make him stay with them forever. 

Before heading to her audition the next day, she took Rags out for a walk. She wondered if he missed he freedom he had at their old house, with the new are they lived in, he wasn’t as free as was used too. 

“You think I’ll be fine?”
“Woof!”
“I think so too!”

Giving him one final pet on the head, she headed out the door. With the move, Liam was still working on bringing the plants and other stuff from their old house to the new, so he had somewhat unwillingly let her go on her own.

“Well, she should be home soon, we’ll know how it went then.”

They lived in the most fancy and secure place in Del Sol Valley. He had pulled som serious strings from old contacts and of course the money he still had from his old life. The house design itself he had human help with, as he wanted it to feel less like a android home, and more like what a home a human would have liked. 

“I GOT IT!”

The door slammed open so fast that both Rags and Liam turned their attention to the door at the same time. Rags almost jumping of the couch in shock. 

“I got the role, I am soo on my way!”

“What was the role again?”
“An old country and western one.. singing, dancing and some acting scenes.”
“And thats good?”
“Yes, I mean, it’s not a lead role, but it is a foot innside the door.”

He nodded, trying to keep up with what she was telling him as she jumped back and fourth in what apparently had been an eventful day. 

“They had androids there too, some acting, and others filming.”

She noticed a change as soon as he mentioned the presence of androids, so she quickly added something she knew would soothe his worry. 

“The Director is married to an android, I asked, and they said it was more and more common. The other android is their “son.””
“Son?”
“Well kinda, they have helped him together, and he calls them mom and dad.”

She looked at him as he was clearly processing all she had told him, and then she just continued telling him all about her day, and the role, and what she needed to do. 

“Good thing I added this to the house.”
“Yeah, but why?”
“I just remembered Itsuki and his running thing.”
“True, and here I thought you might think me fat?”
“What no.. I would never…”
“Kidding Liam.. just kidding.”

She chuckled, it wasn’t often she got to tease him for every word he said, but when she had the chance she would most certainly take it. 

“I didn’t think you would use it though.”
“It’s kinda fun, and a good way to make sure the joints are still flexible.”
“Ah.. is it heavy though?”
“No, but it adds resistance.”

She wished she could say the same, but she had tried and had barely been able to lift it on the lowest setting. She had a long way to go to get as strong as she would like to be. She knew she needed to for the most action filled roles she hoped she would one day get to do. 

“I am still getting used to this view though.”
“Yeah, it was the main reason I wanted this lot.”
“I guess you were not alone in it?”
“Nope, there was a bit of a “battle” for it.”
“Battle?”
“Money, I just happened to have more than the other guy.”
“Ah.”
“He got the other house, the one over there.”

He turned her head to the side, where you could spot another house. The ones living there was human like she was, as was the last of only three houses up there. From what she had understood they were all big stars in the acting world, so they had been rather surprised when Liam had been able to outbid them. 

“So, still happy?”
“Yes, thank you so much for.. well everything.”
“Seeing you happy is all I need.”

She looked at him for a bit wondering where on earth that sentence came from. It was very unlike him to say something like that.

“Did I say it wrong?”
“Ehm… no..”
“Hmh.. are you sure?”
“It’s just odd hearing you say that kinda stuff.”
“I’m trying to learn.”

“I think I might need to know where you are learning from.”
“Oh no.. that’s my secret for now.”
“For now..”

She smiled as he pulled her closer. She knew what she would like to do other than just sit like this together, but it was also more than she had expected. 

“I have found one flaw with our new place though.”
“You have?”

She nodded, not wanting to drag anything out, as she noticed the instant worry on his face. 

“There won’t be any snow for Winterfest.”
“Oh… well.. luckily for you, I have a plan.”
“You do?”
“Yep, as long as you have some time off.”
“The studio is closed, so yes.”

“Perfect!”

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1:13 -Happy Birthday

(As you might notice.. my cc has changed, it is now a mix between alpha and MM)

“He has been awfully secretive the last months..”

She had ofcourse tried to ask him what he was doing, but he had just shrugged his shoulders and told her that she would get to know when he was ready. 

“You think it might be a birthday present?”

It felt wierd that she was finally having her birthday. How many birthday’s had they been to now, so that it was her turn now was quite a fun idea to her. He had asked if she wanted a big party, but she had shook her head. It was something with living for so long that just made it something she wanted to share with those that had been around for all her life. 

“You are late.”
“And you are sitting outside in the snow doing homework?”
“Yeah.. that serum you made seems to work.”

She had asked him if there was a way for her to not freeze so much whenever it was winter. He had been a unwilling to begin with, but when she once returned from school so cold he had to put her in a bathtub to get her warm again, he had a change of heart. 

“Good, I’d rather not have that scare again.”

“You were really scared weren’t you?”
“Yeah.. my programming isn’t really ment for sick teenagers.”
“Luckily, you had help.”

She didn’t blame him for his reaction too it. She barely remembered being sick, just that when she was getting better someone named Jeremiah was in their home, someone she later learned was one of Itsuki and Nagisa’s grandchildren. He had been a doctor back in the days so he had been called in to help out. 

“A doctor was a little over the top though, don’t you think?”
“Nah, I wanted to be safe.”

“Sooo, do I get to know the surprise soon?”
“On your birthday.”
“That’s tomorrow.. really?”
“Yes, it took some time.”

She was so curious as to what he had been working on. She had even tried to follow him a couple of times, but he had either noticed her, or he had managed to give her the slip. 

“I just hope you like it.”

“I will, regardless of what it is.”
“How can you say that?”
“Because it’s from you.”

“You don’t need to freeze up every time I compliment you.”

He blinked, he hadn’t realized he was doing it again, the addition of her leaning her head on his shoulder just seemed to affect his way of thinking. Like if he moved, he would break the moment. 

“Sorry.”
“It’s fine, you will get used to it eventually.”

She remembered their long talk. She only dared to because of something she had a very long talk with Nagisa about how she felt, and how he said he felt. It was after a bit of thinking and probably talking with her husband, she told her the words that he had told her so many times in her childhood; He wasn’t her father.

So, as odd as it might be, loving him was nothing wrong. What she didn’t know was that Liam had also talked to them, separate form her, asking for their thoughts on the matter. He was afraid that it would be seen by wrong by everyone else, but after a long talk with many questions on their end, they had told him the same thing they later told her. He was not her father, they were not related, there was nothing wrong with loving her. He had asked Inori on one of his visits as well, but all she had done was smile, pat him on the back, and mumbled something about “It’s about dammed time!”

So although it was still a very slow process, he was learning how to handle the fact that he had feelings in his system, or as he liked to call it, a cute error in his software programming.

“So, have you made the cake?”
“Wait.. you wanted cake.”
“Duuh!”

He chuckled, he had of course made cake, he had just made sure she hadn’t noticed. 

“Come on, they should be here any minute, we best get ready.”

While Liam was doing the finishing touches, she picked up the violin she had gotten her last birthday, getting an audience of one dog, and after a while their guests. 

“Ready?”
“Oh yes!”

“I don’t really feel much different.”
“I have been told that’s normal.. but, I now need you to trust me, and not take this off.”

She saw Nagisa’s grin before a blindfold was put over her eyes, and she was lead out of the house she had spent all her life in. She couldn’t make out where they were going, but it took them a fair while to get there. The sounds were different, she had only heard car’s a couple of times in her life so far and that was when they visited San Mushino. 

“Okay, were here.. are you ready for your birthdaypresent?”
“YES!”

Very carefully the blindfold was removed, and it took her eyes a little time to get used to the light again. 

“Happy Birthday, I hope you like it.”
“…..”
“No?”
“How.. but.. eh?”

It wasn’t often she didn’t have words, and it made him happy to notice her not know what to say. 

“I’ll take that as a yes.”
“YES!”

She knew that she had made him a promise that they would take things slow, not so much for her sake, but for his. The whole idea of loving someone was still very new to him, and something he wasn’t fully sure of how to handle, but with this surprise she simply forgot. 

“Come on, let me show you what I have been spending so much time on.”

“So this isn’t just me dreaming?”
“If it is, were having the same dream.”

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1:12 – An idea!

“How do you like it?”
“Oh.. it’s a little bit creepy really.”

He chuckled, she had begged and begged and then begged some more for a drone so she could see more of the outside world with it. Little had she expected that he would make one that looked like it was watching her whenever it was flying around the house. But, it also meant that she could stream her violin playing to some of her friends that were living in far away houses and keep in contact much easier. She had slowly gotten to accept the fact that she would like many before them, outlive them, and instead she focused on having as good a time as she possibly could have.

One thing though, she was really tired off. The place they were living. It was small, cramped, under ground and she had lived there for such a long time. 

“Do you think he would agree with my plan?”
“Wooof!”
“Yeah.. he probably won’t.. but I have to try, I can’t live like this for the rest of my life. It’s going to be a long one after all.”

She remembered the talk she had with Nagisa just some weeks before. She had complained about how bored she was with living underground, and also having a very small home. She knew it was safe, but she just wanted something a little bit more. 

It was then Nagisa had mentioned a new town that the androids had built, where they let their stars live. Much like their human counterparts, most androids enjoyed movies and tv series, so those that played in them, be they android or human were held in the highest regards. 

“Wait.. you say they have humans there?”
“Yeah, the ones that have managed to become famous, acting in the androids favorite movies and so on. Or of course if you simply have enough money to buy something there”
“So, if I worked really hard, became famous and all that.. we could live there?”
“Yes, you should be able to just fine. it has been deemed a human “safe zone”. where humans are free to live as they want, although of course, there would still be androids around.”
“So.. you are saying that some androids and human live together, kinda like me and Liam?”
“Kinda.”

And with that talk, the idea was born in her head. She needed a change, it had been hundreds of years in that bunker, and she couldn’t imagine any reason why he wouldn’t like a change too. 

“So… what do you really want?”
“Just to talk.”
“Nah, then you would have talked to me earlier, whenever you want me to stay here with you, there is something more.”
“Okay.. fine, there is something more.”

He shook his head, it had become their thing to talk before she went to bed, mostly it was just them in the sofa, but whenever she wanted to talk about something special, she dragged him to her bedroom and wanted to have the chat there. He wasn’t sure why, but he honestly didn’t mind. 

“I want us to move.”
“Eh.. you do?”
“Yes.. I am so tired of this place, and I know you love it, and it feels safe, but come on..”

She could see on his face that he was conflicted, and she let him have his time to think things over. 

“Where would we go then?”
“There is this new place, Nagisa told me about it.”
“Del sol something?”
“You heard of it?”
“Yeah, it’s supposed to be a haven, for people like you and me.”
“Then why haven’t you mentioned it to me?!”

He sighed, he had his reasons, but he also understood why she wanted something new. Even he wouldn’t mind something new, his biggest issue was like with everything else, was it safe?

“How about we do some recon, check it out, and see if we agree that it is safe?”
“Are you innside my head?”
“Almost, I know how you think dummy.”
“And yet, you still surprise me.”

She smiled, just happy that he hadn’t shut her idea down immediately. 

“Stay with me?”
“Sure.”

He could hear her mumble in her sleep, she often did, but this time it was different taking him out of his self diagnostic program he often ran when she asked him to stay with her when she slept. 


“Hey… what is it?”

He had seen her have nightmares before, but not anything like this. It seemed almost like a panic attack. 

“Come here little one.”

“They killed you..”

He helped her turn around, and pulled her close. Not really sure what to say to her. He knew he had been killed before, but that it would be part of her nightmare took him by surprise. 

“Who?”
“Them.. the two on tv..”

“It’s okay, I won’t let them.”
“I don’t want you to forget me..”
“I won’t.”
“I love you…”

The last sentence was mumbled as she was falling back asleep in his arms, leaving him to lie there, mulling over the words he had just heard. As far as he could remember, no one had ever told him that before.

“I’m so not programmed for this..”

He knew what he had to do though, he had to have a long talk with some people, and then plan for them to move. She was right, they couldn’t spend the rest of their lives in this bunker. She deserved more, much more. 

“I….”

He shook his head, and closed his eyes. Restarting his self diagnostic program. If he was to do this, he had to be sure all his systems were working optimally.

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1:11 – A mistake?

“Isn’t it cheating if you help me with this?”
“Why?”
“Well.. You gave me the assigment.”
“You get help from mr innocent over there normally, I’d say I am a downgrade regardless”

He just chuckled as he walked past. Several years had already gone past, and they had hit the first real bump in the road when some of her friends had died, and she was still a teenager. It had resulted in their one and only really big fight. Watching them, he went out to the garden, preparing it for yet another winter. 

“So, how are you holding up?”
“I still feel so bad for the things I said to him back then.”
“But?”
“I am also still mad.. why do I have to see those I care for die? He of all people knows how much that hurts..”
“He does, and that’s why he understands why you are so angry with him.”
“The worst part.. I am not that mad at him.. I am mad at them, and I never even met them.”

Nagisa nodded, she understood, even though they had lost very few in their family, there had always been the occasional one. She also understood what it meant to outlive others around her. 

“How do you deal with it.”
“Well.. unlike you, this was my choice, given to me by my husband.”
“I had no choice.”
“No, you didn’t, but neither did he, he made a promise to..”

She stopped herself as she noticed the look she was given. 

“My mother?”
“Yes, but more than that, he gave a promise to someone he loved. Now he might not understand it, but he loved your mother.

The words from that day still lingered in her head. She knew Liam cared about her parents, but when Nagisa had mentioned that he loved her, it was like the puzzle fell into place. 

“Can an android love someone?”

“Uhm.. “
“Well?”
“Where did that question come from?”
“Curiosity?”
“Well.. several reports of androids loving either other androids or humans have been made. Some even live together and marry.”
“Did you love my mom?”
“Ehm..”
“It’s a simple question did you do all this because you loved her?”
“And if I did, would it change anything?”
“Yes, then I know I mean nothing, I am just some dumb promise you made.”

She was about to say something more when she noticed he stopped typing, before he turned himself away from her. 

“You’re wrong, you mean everything.”

He stood up, and for a second she was sure she could see a tear run down his cheek, and it felt like her heart stopped. 

“Liam..”

She had tried to stop him when he got up and walked towards the door, but the look she got had her stop in her tracks and just stand there with her homework in her hands.  

“What have I done…”

She had picked up the phone and called Nagisa, asking what she should do, and how she could take it back, or at least tell him she was sorry.

“What if he never returns?”
“He will return, you just need to give him time. He might be an android, but he has feelings, and you just stomped all over them.”
“I… I didn’t mean too.. I…”
“Just give him time, he won’t leave you for too long.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“He loves you, haven’t you noticed?”

She pet Rags on the head, as her mind tried to wrap around the notion of what Nagisa had just said. 

“As his daughter you mean?”
“No, he just hasn’t understood it yet.”
“Because I look like my mom?”
“No, he loves you for you. He just doesn’t understand that yet.”

She ended up talking to Nagisa for hours. In a way, it was a talk a mother would have with their teenager, and as she finally hung up on the phone, things had become much clearer to her. 

“Lets go for a walk.. maybe we’ll meet him.”

Rags wagged his tail and walked after her as they entered the garden. Taking the long route around the Island they lived on, even passed the gravyeard just in case. But as much as she hoped, there was no sign of him anywhere.

“Come Rags.. I guess we’ll go home.”
“Wooof!”
“Yeah.. I want him to come back too..”

She had eventually gone to bed, pushing the code he had once told her to use on the occasion that he wasn’t home to lock down their little hideaway. At first she just lied on the bed staring at the roof, the house was too quiet to fall asleep. But in the end sleep won over worry.

“I’m sorry little one..”

She had woken up the instant he sat down, but a little bit afraid he would leave her again, she pretended to sleep, at least until he talked. 

“I am so sorry.. I shouldn’t have left like that. I have no idea what came over me, and…”
“No.. I am the one that is sorry, I was out of line, and I never wanted to hurt you.”
“I need to have my programming checked…”
“How come?”
“It keeps doing this.. I am not supposed to be this dumb.”

“You are not dumb.”
“Malfunctioning then..”

She sighed, she understood where he came from, and why he worried, he had been through so much already, and she had pretty much trampled all over his feelings.

“I know you don’t need to rest.. but how about you lie down here with me, and we can just talk?”

Much to her surprise he didn’t fight her wish, and instead crawled up in bed with her. How many times it had been the other way, she couldn’t even begin to try to remember. But this, this was the first time where she felt he needed her. 

“My little android.”

At first she thought maybe she had said something wrong, until she actually heard him chuckle, and then saw him smile. She wasn’t sure why, but that made her smile too. 

“Little android.. sounds like a children’s book.”
“I blame you!”
“Oh you do, huh?”
“Yeah, it’s all those books you wrote!”

“So does that count as our first real fight?”
“Nah, more like me being a dumb-ass and leaving you alone.”
“You know you are allowed to have feelings too?”
“I am not supposed to have them, that would be faults in my programming.”
“Or maybe you are deviant?”

“Just what has Nagisa been teaching you?”
“Because I said you were deviant?”
“Yeah?”
“Well.. she told me just a little of how the android war started, with deviants. Machines that had feelings, and deviated from their programming.”

It was a hard logic to fight. After all, he still remembered hunting those deviants, and trying to capture Markus their leader. But most details were gone or very fuzzy. 

“Do you think I am deviant?”
“Yup!”
“And what makes you say that?”
“You saved my parents.. you said yes to their plan, and you lived alone for over two thousand years to keep that promise..”
“Fair enough..”

“Deviant.. I guess you might be right.”

They had talked most the night away, he had told her more about her parents again, told her some things about himself he hadn’t before, but in the end, he had noticed her falling asleep. 

“Stay here with me?”
“Okay.”

He sighed, it had really been a long day, and one he wouldn’t mind forgetting. On the other hand, he didn’t want to forget the moments he had just had with her. It reminded him of something he had felt a long time ago, and something he suddenly realized he was feeling again from her question earlier. 

“I loved her..”

It was a feeling he shouldn’t have, and as much as he had a hunch it would complicate things, he knew that the feeling was just the same when he looked at Madison. 

“This complicates things little one.. it really does.”

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1.10 – Who they were

“Don’t you dare Liam!”
“What?”
“That move is so bad I know you wouldn’t do it, unless…”
“Fine, I guess I have been teaching you too much.”

She smiled, praise from Liam had always made her smile. Specially when it came to chess for some reason. They kept on playing for a while, it was what she referred to as a lazy Sunday. 

“So, will you keep your promise?”
“Do I tend to break them?”
“Only when it comes to the past.”

She could see how uncomfortable he was, it was something she only saw when she brought up the past, but she needed to know, so for once she kept on pushing. 

“You promised me when I was little, that you would tell when I was older. I am older now. You said on my birthday that you would tell me today, now I want you to keep your promise. 

“After I walk Rags, okay?”

He didn’t let her answer, leaving her with a half played chess game as he exited their house and hiding place with Rags in tow. 

“Why is this so hard, it shouldn’t affect me.”

He knew he had promised her so many times, but whenever it was time, it was like he just couldn’t. He was an android, memories shouldn’t be something he had this much of an issue with.

“I need you to tell me, I need to know.”

He had heard the footsteps coming from behind him, knowing it was her long before she opened her mouth. As she placed herself in front of him, crossing her arms, he knew that it was time and that he would just have to deal with what came of it. 

“They went to save their friends, not wanting me to come with them.”
“Why, why would they not want you to come?”
“They were heading into cyberlife, where I was made, where we were all made. I think they were afraid I would be compromised or somehow taken.”
“So?”
“They made me promise to wait by the harbour on the other side…”

“Only she made it back, staggering towards me..”

“She collapsed in my arms, barely able to speak.”

“She told me they had him, they had failed their mission and she told me, she had failed me.”
“Failed you?”
“By leaving me behind, she said she should have trusted me.”

“I told her she hadn’t failed me, and that I would get him back. I promised her I would not leave him in their hands.”

“She died in my arms. The wounds were too many for me to help with.”

“I sensed them, they had followed her, and I was not going to let her fall into their hands.”

“So I brought her back here, carried her to the graveyard you once found me at when you were just a toddler.”

“I failed them..”
“No you didn’t fail them”

“Did you get him?”
“Yes, and it is something I would rather not tell you about. It cost too many lives to talk about.”
“Android lives or?”
“Both.”

She noticed something she had never seen before. She honestly didn’t know that he could, but as the story of her parents were told, she noticed tears. 

“I’m sorry.”

She didn’t know what it was that came over her, but seeing him cry made her cry too. She had no real bond to her parents, but she did have one to him.

“You have nothing to be sorry for, do you?”
“For making you tell me, for making you cry.”

“It’s okay, you had the right to know.”
“I’m still sorry. I should have taken your feelings into consideration too not just my own.”

He didn’t know how to answer that. He was a machine, an android, and the fact that someone cared about his feelings was not something he was used too, at least not to this extent. 

“It’s fine little one.”
“I’m not that little anymore.”
“True.”

She hugged him tight, realizing he was warm to the touch like any human would be. 

“Liam?”
“Yeah?”

“Are they still alive? I mean.. the ones that killed them.”
“Two are still alive, the rest are not.”
“North and Markus?”
“Yes.. they were too heavily guarded for me to get to them.”

They stood there for a while, Madison letting the story sink inn, it felt good to finally know. And although she had many more questions, she decided that for now, she would let it be.

“Woof!”

“I think that’s our queue to go back.”
“Yeh, I guess so.”

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1:9 – A time for everything

“Isn’t it cold?”
“No.. not really, at least I don’t think so?”
“Hmh, okay then, want a hand with those?”

“I seem to have plenty of help.”

She smiled as she noticed Rags taking his spot as well, making all three of them sit out in the crisp autumn air. 

“So… ?”
“So?”

She closed her book and looked at Liam with eyes he had learned meant the type of things he would not really want to talk about. 

“My friends are almost young adults.. I am still a child.. what did you do?”
“Oh..”
“No, oh doesn’t cover this Liam..I asked Nagisa if I was sick or if there was something wrong with me, she said to ask you.”
“Oh.. I see…”

He didn’t know where to start, so instead he simply blurted out the entire mess that had become his life and why she stayed young for such a long time while her friends aged normally. 

“Why would they want this for me?”
“None of us knew how the world would look, you might have been humans last hope.”
“So.. I needed to live long because?”

He put his hand behind his neck, he wasn’t comfortable talking about this with her, but he knew, there was no way around it right now. 

“Well, to have babies, to restart the human race I guess.”
“EWWWW!!!! Really, why would you want such a thing?”
“Your parents wanted it.. it was their hope for the future.”
“And you just did it, without any thought as to how it would make me feel?”
“No.. “

She looked at him as he for what felt like the longest time just stood there, as if she wasn’t there, and almost like he was somewhere else. She had asked Nagisa, and she said it seemed like it was a fault in his system that caused him to see old memories at random. 

“Liam?”
“Oh.. no, I questioned it many times.. but in the end, I did as they wished, knowing you might hate me for it.”
“I don’t hate you.. I just.”

It suddenly hit her how he must have felt over the years, how much it must have hurt to always be the one staying behind, when everyone else moved on. How many friends or known ones he must have lost. 

“I guess I understand…”
“You do?”
“Yeah, can I have pancakes?”
“Sure.”

“I’m sorry little one.. “

He watched her sleep for a bit, it was soon her time to become a teenager, and he would find himself having to tell her all the stories she had been asking him for. 

“I really wish it had been different.”

“Cake…”

He stood aimlessly in front of the oven, trying to get his own mind to focus. He should after all be able to, it shouldn’t be all that hard, he was an android, and these things should be simple. 

“I guess as long as I do not burn it..”

“Find anything Connor?”
“Not yet, but I think I might be close.”
“Good.”

He searched the database looking for incidents that fit the deviant bill. Trying his best to eliminate those that were of no concern to them. 

“I have some, should we go and check them first.”
“I guess so, how many are some?”
“150.”
“That’s not some Connor.. that’s insane!”
“But you asked for cases Lieutenant?”
“I thought maybe 10?”
“I will narrow it down.. “

“Connor, what are you doing?”
“This man was selling contraband..”
“We are not the common police, now come on, we have a job to do.”
“Yes Lieutenant.”

He could see the elderly man sigh, and shake his head as he jogged over to him, matching his phase as they walked. 

“You can tell us where your leader is?”
“No.. I would never.”
“You can tell me, or I can probe your mind and find out. It is your choice.”
“Connor!”
“What?”
“She will just blow herself up like the last one…”
“Oh..”
“Woooof!”

He shook his head as the memories of old faded, and a now almost over baked cake came into sight. 

“Oh.. thanks, wouldn’t be good to have burned it.”

“So, today is kinda an important day.”
“Is it?”
“Yes, it’s my birthday, I finally get to be a teenager.”
“Hmh…”
“What do you mean hmh?”

“Oh nothing, I just remembered I had asked some people over.”
“For my birthday?”
“Of course.”
“Sweeet!”

Just as they were about to finish their chess game, a knock on the door was heard, and for a while, everything about games, pasts and possible futures was forgotten, it was simply a birthday.

“So… what do you think?”
“I will kick your butt in this so hard.”
“Not what I was talking about.”
“Oh.. well I don’t know.”
“She is.. well, the spitting image of her.. “

He knew that well, she had always been the spitting image off her mother, the main difference was that she had her fathers hair color. If not, it was almost like they could have been twins. 

“It will be fine.”
“Hmh.. so you say.”

“Liam?”

She could see he had drifted off somewhere again. 

“Sorry.. what were you asking.”
“If you could help me with this.”

“I can try.”

She really did look like her mom, almost sounded like her too. He had known this would be hard, but that it would end up being this difficult to watch her, he hadn’t imagined. 

“You kinda have to listen to me if you want to help me though.”
“Sorry.. I’ll focus.”

Rags watched the two as they went over something new Nagisa wanted her to learn. 

“Robotics huh..”
“Yep”
“I guess in case i break.. or something like it.”
“That’s pretty much what she said.”

“Aahh, so that was the blue strange stuff I saw in the stores.”
“Yes, it’s called Thirium 310, and it’s what we have instead of blood.”
“Do you need it?”
“On occasion, along side other spare parts. Like power cells and so on.”
“Do all of you need it?”
“No, there have been some new models, they use the 550 version, but I am to old for that to work.”

She looked up at him, trying to once more wrap her head around just how long he had been alive. 

“So we have a stash of it?”
“You could say that.”
“Good, you have to teach me how to fix you, if it is needed.”

He nodded, almost expecting more questions, but for now she seemed content with the answer she had gotten. 

“Liam?”
“Yes?”
“Tell me about them?”

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1:8 – The world around us

“Soooo, you think he will say yes Rags?”
“WOOF WOOF!”
“You are right, the worst answer I can get is no.”

She had a hunch that it might be the only answer there was a high hope of her getting. He was always wary of taking her places, but she wanted to see a little more of the world. 

“So can I come with you?”
“With me?”
“Yes, your round, it’s today isn’t it?”

He looked up from their game of chess, his expression impossible for her to make anything proper out of it. 

“Please? I need to get to know these things, and you said time and time again it’s safe.”
“I guess..”
“Really??”
“But.. then we need to make this fit properly.”

He held out his hand, a small led light similar to the one he had glowing towards her. She couldn’t help but squeal, jump around before tossing herself around his neck and hugging him. 

“Thank you!”

“So, he said yes?”
“Yep!”
“Told you he would.”
“Hey.. you were in on this?”

Itsuki chuckled, it was him and Nagisa that had done a little pushing on their end. She was so sheltered, and she needed to see more of the world and meet more people than just the other kids. She needed to learn the cold hard truths, and seeing other people would be the first step do do just that. Specially with her aging being slowed, she would soon enough get new questions to ask, and he would have to answer them. 

“So, where are you two heading next.”
“Same route I normally take, figured it would be the easiest way.”
“I heard.. I get to meet a cat!”

The for mentioned cat was their last stop on the route, and somwhere they ended up spending a bit more time,Inori had some stuff that she wanted Liam’s help with, so she in turn took care of the little one. 

“So you are a vampire?”
“Yeah, just like Itsuki and Nagisa.”
“But you are not their family?”
“No, I came from another country, and then ended up in the middle of an android revolution.”
“Yeah, I guess I could have gone back, but I also kinda like it here.”
“Even with all the android stuff happening?”

She nodded, they quickly found out that Vampires were not for them to fight. Being both stronger, healing faster, and simply outmatching most machines. She like them lived underground, mostly because she liked it, and it gave her a much bigger garden to play with. It was also handy to keep unwelcome visitors away, as they just took it as a garden. 

She also met the cat of the house, finding their common ground with a laser pointer she had borrowed. Rags was with them, but he had learned the hard way earlier that in this house, the cat was the boss. 

“So cute!”
“Mreow!”

She chuckled, maybe she could have a cat someday, although she wasn’t sure what Rags or Liam would think off that idea.

“So, I’ll see you both next time too then?”
“If he lets me.. yes!”
“I’m sure he will”

Liam just shrugged his shoulders and shook his  head. It had been nice to have the company, but it also meant the rounds had taken longer, and that meant more risk. 

“You are such a good boy aren’t you?”

She could hear the sizzle from the pan in the kitchen, and her stomach responded with a slight growl.  The trip had given her quite a lot to think about. Mostly about how they all seemed so different, but they all had the same story. 

“What’s on your mind?”

Liam handed her the food he had been making, before sitting down on the other side of the dog enjoying the cuddles in the sofa. 

“How different they all were, but they were bonded together by one big event.”

He nodded, and slowly it dawned on him what Nagisa and Itsuki were helping him accomplish. They were giving her a feel for the backstory, more than just by words, but also by showing her the world and the people in it. 

“Do you want to see where most of my kind live?”
“Can I?”
“Yeah, they will just think your a android with the led.. just stay close and let me do the talk?”
“Yes, I’ll just be quiet.”

He doubted that was possible, but he also understood that she had to see more, to learn and to get an understanding for everything. Even more so with what he knew he would have to tell her at some point. 

“Is it bad Rags?”

She couldn’t quite make out the look her dog was giving her, she had been surprised when Liam had brought it home, but also very happy. She had wanted to try to play something, and the violin was something that fit in their small house. 

“I’ll take you not running away as it isn’t all that bad.”

She was also playing to take her mind of where they were going early next morning. She had prepared some nice clothing, and they had worked on getting the led ring to sit properly on her head and look like his did. He had told her some androids had removed their rings to blend in with humans, but most in the town they were going were still using theirs. 

“I wonder how it will be..”

The city was so different to where she lived, tall buildings so many people going from one place to the other. Fancy cars, and vehicles she had never seen the likes off, and strange beverages and stores that sold parts. 

“What’s this?”
“A Karaoke bar.. oddly, they kept these.”
“And what do you do here?”
“Sing and drink”
“But we don’t get drunk?”
“No, but many of us like to do it anyways.”

He led her innside, chose a song and handed her a mic. It was early enough in the morning for it to be fairly quiet, much like he had planned. The last ones he wanted to meet was North or Markus, as they would probably recognize him, even with his new look. 

They had also met Istuki, who told them how this was once the place him and Nagisa had met. Of course it had been renovated several times, but it was still the same place. As androids didn’t get drunk, no one really lifted an eyebrow at her sitting at the bar with Liam.

“So, is this what you did before me?”
“What.. sing and go to the pub?”
“Yeah.”
“Sometimes, mostly I did the other thing I told you about.”
“Should I be drinking this though?”
“It’s just water with bubbles.”
“Ah!”

He had told her about the town close to where they lived. How he had kept it looking much the same and of course from falling apart over the many years he had been alone. 

“Good to head home?”
“Yeah, Rags is probably bored by now.”
“Come on then.”

He was quite happy it had all went so well, and she had gotten to see what was once part of his world. 

“It was so big Rags, you couldn’t imagine. I wonder how it looked back when it was both humans and androids living there!”

Liam watched as she was telling Rags all about her grand adventure. It worried him somewhat, he knew more questions would come, and he had a hunch he would soon have to properly answer them. At least to the best of his capability. 

“Oh and you should have seen the stores, they were so weird!”
“Weird huh?”
“Yeah, that blue stuff”

He just smiled as he found himself dragged back out to watch the stars. It had become a thing for them before her bedtime after the first time, and something he found he quite enjoyed. 

“Even Rags want’s to look at the stars now.”
“Or us.. I am not sure.”
“Maybe both?”

She showed him the newest stars she had learned the  name off, and he told her the names of some he knew. 

“So what happens when we run out of stars?”
“Then we can go over them again, and maybe learn more about them.”
“Ohhhh, I like that!”

They slowly shifted into a new routine, where he took her with her whenever he was going for errands. Alongside school and their trips, she did a lot of drawing, and another favorite was plying her violin. Liam on the other hand had read a book about how to train their dog, and was putting his new learned skills into action. 

“Lie down.”

He motioned for what he wanted, and slowly but steadily Rags seemed to learn what he wanted to do. Madison still remembered just how funny it had been to watch when he had been teaching Rags to play dead. 

“Good boy!”

“Another book?”
“Mm, the adventures of Madison and Rags.”

She smiled, she had learned by now that he often turned his memories into books. Nagisa had helped her understand why, it was simply in case something did happen and he lost his memories, they wouldn’t be truely lost and he could in a way regain some. 

“Teach me to read?”
“Isn’t Nagisa already doing that?”
“Slowly, but I kinda want to learn faster.”
“Sure, I can try.”

He saved his current worked and got her favorite book out of the bookshelf. She pretty much knew it by heart, so he figured it would be a good book to begin with. 

“Don’t you dare not aim properly!”
“Don’t worry, I learned my lesson.”

She had asked for one last balloon fight as autumn was heading their way. It was still warm in the daytime, but it was also getting much cooler at night. She had read about winter with Liam and him telling her about what snow was, snow-pals and snowball fights. 

“I’ll get you back when we get snow!”

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1:7 – You and me

He was still being quite careful with what he told her about the things she asked. It would seem the more schooling she had, the more questions came along. Perhaps he should have expected it, but it was still something he needed to get used too. 

“Did you have a dog before?”
“No, but I think a friend of mine had.. “
“Oh.. Sumo?”

He nodded, he had told her pretty much all he could remember about that dog, yet not so much about his owner. He had also explained that his memory wasn’t complete, and why. 

“I wonder..”
“What?”
“You said, your model lost some memories if killed?”
“Yeah?”

He looked at her and Rags playing their games, he had though about it many times himself, but that she seemed to worry about it was a little more of a surprise. 

“Did you get killed many times?”
“I don’t know, my records don’t show the amount of times I have come back, I believe someone might have deleted them.”
“Oh…”

Gently patting Rag’s on the head, she grabbed her school stuff, and dragged Liam with her. He still refused to let her go on her own. He had said that maybe when she was older. 

“Tired from all that playtime huh?”

Itsuki had said he would bring Madison home after their school day was over. One of the other kids had said they wanted to visit, and he had promised her parents that he would take her safely there and then home.

“Wow.. an underground house!”
“Pretty coool, small, but still nice.”
“Our house is huge, but well, we have a lot of people living there.”
“Do you get food from our garden?”
“Yeah, Liam is really nice, he brings food and often drinks too.”

She had learned more about what Liam had been doing before she had been born from the other kids. No one had mocked her for living with an android since the first time, but she knew some of them simply kept away from her. 

“Are you worried?”
“Worried?”

Madison looked at her friend for a bit. She was perhaps the one she had gotten to know the best of all the kids. 

“That someone will come take him or you away?”
“Nah.. why would they want to do that?”
“Because their silly, and afraid?”
“I’m sure it will be fine, we managed fine so far after all.”

Her friend nodded, and the two went back to more fun things, like running around the house and the garden alongside Rag’s who loved the company. 

“So, just you and me today, what should we do.”
“Waterbalooon war!”
“Hmh…”
“You said you were water proof…”
“Of course I am.”
“Then come on!”

It was a really warm summers day, his sensors warned him against it, and he knew that he would have to keep an extra eye on Madison while they were outside. 

“Were you aiming?”
“YES!”
“Better work on that then.”
“And stop missing on purpose!”

He shook his head, before getting another balloon out of the bucket they had filled together, taking proper aim, releasing the balloon from his hand to be followed by a happy squeal from Madison as she got drenched by the cold water. 

“YES!”

His sensors told him he had been hit, and as he saw Madison run over to him, he held out both hands pretending to freeze in place.

“You know high five is with one hand?”

He just stood there, moving ever so slowly, watching her as her expression changed from a smile to one of worry. 

“Come on.. you said you could handle water!”

She slowly started to panic, trying to pull him with her, and out of his frozen in place state. 

“COME ON!”

“Liam..?”
“Please don’t die on me Liam.. I don’t want you to forget me too!”

He couldn’t pull his joke any longer, the worry on her face was simply to much for him to keep at it. As suddenly as he had “frozen” he turned his head and gave her a wink. 

“Gotcha!”

“You tricked me!”
“Yeah, and you should have seen your face!”

She laughed as he lifted her up and swirled her around. He felt a little bad about fooling her, but the joy on her face and the laughter that filled the air made it worth it. 

“So you are programmed to fool people?”
“I’m programmed for many things.”

She chuckled as he put her back down on the ground. She still had a lot of questions for him, but she had realized she would have to wait to get the answers until she was older. That was the standard answer she got whenever she asked him anything from the past. 

“So what did Nagisa tell you?”
“About what?”
“Me, I assume you asked her?”

“She told me you are one of many good androids, she told me a little bit about the whole android war, and how your kind was treated before that..”
“And?”
“She told me you would tell me the rest when you were ready, or when I am older as you say.”

He looked at her as she grabbed his arm. He had known she was curious, but he wasn’t quite ready to go back into all of it. He would after all, have to tell her quite a few things he was not proud about. 

“How about ice cream on this warm summer day?”
“YES!”
“Woof!”
“Can dogs have icecream?”
“I’m sure they can have a little, just not much.”

He lifted her back up and put her on his shoulders as they walked back into their house and grabbing ice cream for her and Rags. 

“And that one, is called Orion, and those that look like a belt is Orions Belt.”
“Nagisa told you all this?”
“And Itsuki.. they said they used to watch the stars all the time before.”

He nodded, letting her point out the stars and constellations he knew so well. She reminded him of her mother who loved the stars and could spend hours just lying out there telling Liam and her husband all about them. 

“Liam?”
“Yeah?”
“What’s that one called?”
“Sirius, it’s the brightest star.”
“Sirius, how about that one?”

She pointed to another star, having realized that he probably knew them all. The two being joined by Rags as the evening was whisked away by the stars. 

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1:6 – Now it begins

It was the first time in so long that he had someone to play with, that he found himself doing the rookie mistakes he was trying to teach her not to do. 

“Uhm.. You just said not to do that move.”
“I did.. didn’t I?”
“I thought you said androids didn’t do silly mistakes?”
“I guess I was mistaken..”

She chuckled, most of the time she forgot all of the android stuff, but on occasion when she needed to use it against him, it came back to mind. He had been telling her what he was since she was a baby, but she still felt like he was more human than whatever an android would be.

“Don’t you dare let me win.”
“You sound like your dad.”
“I do?”
“Yeah.. he used to say that all the time when we played..”

He looked over at her, he tried telling her all he could remember of her parents, what they were like, what he knew of their life but the one thing he hadn’t mentioned yet, was how they had died and well.. what they had agreed on. 

“Oy.. just because you are an android you still need to watch the game.”
“Sorry.. was just lost in thought.”
“I noticed..”

She had noticed he would sometimes drift off when he remembered other things about the past. She wasn’t sure if she should push him or not, something told her that he had been alone for quite a while. 

“School?”
“Yes, Nagisa, you remember her right?”
“Yes?”
“She teaches the children of the stories of the past, and other things.”
“So..?”
“I told her you would start to come, kinda like School back in the days.”
“Okay.”

He looked at her and the sleeping puppy. It worried him a little to let her go, but on the other hand, if she was to have a proper life, she would need to meet others, and also learn about the past from those that had lived before his time. 

“Hey Liam?”
“Yeah?”
“Would you read me a bedtime story?”
“Of course, what one would you like?”
“The one about the police officer.”

He nodded, and went to get the book. It was one of his impartial memories, and although he wasn’t sure why they were important to him, he just knew they were. Probably something from before the last time he had been shot. 

“One day… I will tell you everything, when I am ready.”

He watched her sleep for a while, Rag’s sleeping close to her, something that made him smile. It felt almost like like when they had lived with him, yet, also it felt very different. 

“Let’s hope I do this right.”

“Oh my god.. you  have a stain on your shirt!”
“What?”

Just as he looked down, he felt her poke his chest, and then suddenly gently yet playfully flick his nose.

“That’s what Nagisa is teaching you?”
“Among other things.. it’s called a prank.”

They both chuckled, he had to admit that it was a bit funny, even if he thought that his now favorite shirt was dirty. He had never really gotten into all the humor of humans, but he found it to be an interesting thing.

“Are you sure you are allowed to help?”
“Did she say differently?”
“No… she said she used to love helping her kids, and grand kids and so on with these.”
“Hmh… interesting.”

“I was beginning to wonder if I did something wrong.”

He hadn’t been able to not alter the lifespan of their dog when he had noticed just how good a relationship they both had with him. Nagisa had mentioned a treat that they had made long ago, and he had done som research and made a serum instead of just a treat. 

“Awwww Rags, I will miss you too, but I’ll be home before you know it.”
“I’ll take him for a walk when I come home, he’ll be just fine.”

He still took her there every day, made sure to draw a ring on the side of her head, just in case. She knew the basics of why, and that most androids wouldn’t like a human child to run around. 

“Can I get one the glows like your’s one day?”
“Hmh.. I guess I could make one, if you really want one?”
“Then I can go with you on your travels.”

He tilted his head, that was something he oddly hadn’t expected her to already want to do. He felt himself conflicted though, as taking her with him would risk them seeing her. 

“I’ll see what I can do.”

“Come on rags, I hope you don’t mind the rain.”

Her words were still rushing around his head. That she wanted to come with him on his trips, help him help the others. Of course he could pass her off as a android child, people still made them as many androids wanted almost a human life. 

“Sometimes.. I wish you could talk back to me Rags.. I really do.”
“Wooof!”
“Okay then..”

“Stupid, stupid, STUPID!”

He had seen her stomping down the stairs and into her room. At first he had planned on letting her be, but when he heard the clear sounds of her hitting the poor stuffed animal, he found it best to see what was up. 

“Ehm.. what is it?”
“Nothing..”
“You’re bunny might disagree.”

She looked up at him, and hung her head. 

“Nagisa told me about the android rebellion.. and one of the other kids said that all androids should die..”
“Oh…”
“And I said that not all androids were bad, and then he told me I was an idiot who was raised by one..”

He honestly didn’t know what to say to that, he knew many felt like that, but he was still a little surprised that the kids would feel the same way. 

“Nagisa said that there are several androids that live in hiding with humans, afraid to be known as what they are, is that true?”
“Yes.”
“Why?”
“Several reasons, how about we go through that later?”
“Okay..”

“I don’t care what they say, I am happy your my caretaker.”
“Good, how about pancakes for dinner.”
“YES!”

She hugged him even tighter, before rushing into the kitchen, leaving  him for just a second by himself

“Liam?”
“Yeah..?”
“Pancakes?”
“Yes, of course!”

She gave him a somewhat worried look, but then just took his hand and dragged him with her into the kitchen. She would just have to ask Nagisa about it, she seemed to know so much, maybe she knew about this too. 

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1:5 – A memory of the past

“Good dog.”

While Madison was still sleeping, Liam was out making sure their plants and that their puppy was happy. Although he would have loved to never have arguments with the little one, he found that they would have their fair share. Luckily, he had Itsuki and Nagisa as backup helpers, and they could almost always tell him that what he didn’t understand was perfectly normal. 

“At least, you seem a little easier to manage.”

The garden was also thriving, and for the first time in many years he knew he would be able to provide fresh outside grown fruits and vegetables to the community he cared for. It had been the main talk for weeks already, that they would soon be able to eat the same kinda food like before everything happened. 

“I wonder what you will think of it..”

“You are such a good doggy!”

It wasn’t easy to see who of them were most happy to be around the other, and as he knew Nagisa would  have put it, it was almost to cute to bear to watch.

“Liam?”
“Yes?”
“Well we have him forever?”

Now that was a question he wasn’t prepared for. And for a while he simply stood there, without an answer to her question. 

“Liam?”

He snapped out of just standing there, before shaking his head. 

“No, I’m sorry but dogs do not live as long as humans do.”
“Oh, how about me then?”
“I’ll tell you that when you get older, okay?”
“Okay.”

He had put both the puppy and Madison to bed, before walking somewhere he hadn’t been in much to long now, or perhaps not long enough. At first he had spent much time here, but after several hundred years, he had stopped. 

It was a pet cemetery, but he had decided that he wanted them both close when it had happened. At first it had only been her, he knew it would take him time to find and bring him back.

Why they had gone without him, he still didn’t understand. He knew that he might be a risk, but the risk of not having him with them seemed so much higher. 

It was the first time since he had met them that he put on his old suit, connecting to the main hub of his old employer, using a decoy number he had taken off another android. 

“There not getting you..”

He’d like to never mention what he did that day, and how many android lives he ended just to get to him and back out again. But he did it, and when it was done, he ended up at a bar, drinking glass after glass of alcohol.

“You know we can’t get drunk.. even if you drink the entire contents of this bar.”
“It helps me think.”
“Alright then.”

Why je said that, he couldn’t really say. But it felt like someone had told him something like it at some point in his life. He had to admit though that he wished that alcohol had the same effect on him as on humans.

“Liam?”

He blinked snapping out of h is thoughts and turning his head to see Madison make her way towards him. 

“I thought you were asleep?”
“I was.”
“But how did you find this place, it is a long walk from home.”

She pointed to a ghost like cat standing between the two of them. 

“I followed the kitty.”

“What is this?”
“It’s a graveyeard, where those that die are put to rest.”
“huh?”
“Well humans can get old and die, or get sick…”
“Okay.”

She didn’t quite understand what he was talking about, but she did understand one thing; Liam who was almost always so happy around her, seemed sad. 

“Don’t be sad.”

Her words made him look at her and not the grave. Had he seemed sad, enough for her to notice? He sat himself down, so that she didn’t have to look up to see his face. 

“It’s okay to be sad though, sometimes it’s right.”
“But why are you sad?”
“I miss the people I once lived with.”
“My parents?”
“Yes.”
“And they are in there?”
“Kinda.”

“Now come on, let’s go back home.”

He attempted to lift her up, only to have a very stern look given to him, and a equally vigilant shake of her head. 

“I can walk myself!”
“It’s a long walk, and you already walked here.”
“I can do it!”

He had walked just a little ahead of her, as she so adamantly said she would be able to walk all alone, yet not willing to leave her behind completely. 

“See!”
“Yep, now come on, let’s get you something to eat and then you get a bedtime story.”
“Sumo!”
“Sure.”

It would be her birthday soon, and after that, he knew things would take more time. It had been her mothers idea, to change the life span of her offspring. He had of course agreed, at the time they did not know how many humans would be left when he did as they had agreed. 

“Hopefully, you won’t hate us..”

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