Title: One Day, Robots Will Cry
Fandom: RPFS, K-Pop, Nine Muses
Notes: for prompt post 10 at unnideul
Fandom: RPFS, K-Pop, Nine Muses
Notes: for prompt post 10 at unnideul
|"I don't sleep."
"You don't—" Hyemi rubs the bridge of her nose, she can feel a headache coming on.
"I do not require it like you."
"Of course not," Hyemi mutters and makes her way towards the door. "At least try to pretend to sleep or something. I don't like you lurking around in the dark." She leaves the room, doesn't bother to hide the haste in which she does it.
She's unsettled. Having Hyemin around puts her on edge. They tell her it's necessary, she knows it's necessary but it still doesn't help make her feel less anxious.
They don't know anything about Hyemin yet she seems to know everything about them. Hyemi suspects Hyuna knows more than she's letting on but she leaves it be, lets Hyuna come to her in her own time. Unwarranted confrontation is the last thing any of them need.
Still, she can't shake the feeling that there's something off about Hyemin. She's strange, even for an android.
"I pretended to sleep," Hyemin says at breakfast. She sits with them at the table even though she doesn't eat.
Hyemi doesn't know what to say to that. She drags her eyes back to her food and continues to eat, ignores the look Hyuna gives her.
"I did not sleep but I dreamed."
"We need more of... everything. We can't keep holing up in here forever." She's right and she knows it. She stares at Hyuna, dares her to say otherwise.
"It's too dangerous," Hyuna says after a long while.
Hyuna looks defeated and that scares her more than Hyemin.
"You're different from the other models. Why," Hyemi demands rather than asks.
"I'm not the other models."
Hyemi can feel herself getting angry and it's irrational. She knows that's how they're programmed, they're literal because it's all they know.
"I think I'm defective."
They've been careful about rationing but they still run out and everyone starts to panic. They're left with no choice but to go out and try to salvage what they can from the city. Hyemi volunteers to go; she would have volunteered weeks ago had Hyuna let her.
Hyemin watches them as they get ready. It makes her skin crawl and Hyemi tries to ignore it as best as she can.
"I can help."
Hyemi's head snaps up in surprise, the laces on her boots forgotten. "You're not programmed to fight." The words come out a little more harshly than she means to. "You'll just put yourself and all of us in danger," she says not unkindly. An android being in danger isn't really danger but Hyemi keeps the thought to herself.
"I have radars, I can warn you of imminent threats."
"You never mentioned this before."
"You never asked."
It makes sense, Hyemin's heightened sense of awareness. She can't be self-aware so she has to redirect it elsewhere. Hyemin helps them sneak around abandoned buildings, alerts them of any danger and guides them when they need to rely on her to be their eyes. It's practical.
Efficient. Systematic. Inhuman.
It makes sense but Hyemi still doesn't understand.
Hyemi takes to walking around the house at night when she can't sleep. She expects to run into Hyemin and when she doesn't, her already frayed nerves are put even more on edge.
She finds her in the spare bedroom, stock-still in the middle of the bed on top of the covers. Knowing that Hyemin isn't actually asleep should unsettle her, instead she walks in and takes a seat at the foot of the bed.
Hyemin doesn't stir and Hyemi doesn't say a word.
"Are you eating?" Hyuna's tone is incredulous, she looks at the plate of toast in front of Hyemin in confusion.
Hyemin gingerly picks up a piece of toast, stares at it for a moment before saying, "No."
Hyuna doesn't ask anything else and Hyemi hadn't planned on saying anything in the first place. They eat their breakfast in silence and Hyemin stares at her toast.
They're small changes but Hyemi notices them nonetheless.
Sometimes, Hyemin disappears into the bathroom for a few minutes. When she emerges, there are no sounds of a toilet flushing or running water. Hyemin goes in, comes out, looks pleased with herself and everyone leaves it at that.
Other times, Hyemin offers to help with the cooking. Hyemi doubts she came equipped with taste receptors but she doesn't turn down the help. Hyemin makes idle conversation while they cook and it all feels so pedestrian.
That's another thing—Hyemin talks more. She initiates conversations instead of just waiting for others to question her, to give commands. Hyemi never has much to say when Hyemin tries talking to her, she acknowledges her and Hyemin seems content with just that. They often end up sitting in silence and it should bother her but it doesn't.
Hyemin doesn't bother her anymore and that in itself bothers her but she doesn't let on.
"Can you feel?" Hyemi asks when they're alone in the kitchen.
Hyemin stills beside her, the knife in her hand drops and the tomatoes lay forgotten.
Hyemi can sense Hyemin looking at her and she keeps her gaze firmly on the cutting board. Out of the corner of her eye she can see Hyemin's hand hovering just out of reach of her. She wants to be able to blame it on Hyemin's programming, something going haywire, anything.
"I don't know," she says uncertainly and goes back to dicing the tomatoes.
"What aren't you telling me?" Hyemi finally asks after weeks of Hyuna dodging her.
Hyuna regards her for a moment, fidgets with her book before looking away. Hyemi already knows she's going to snap at her if Hyuna tries to deny it or play dumb. They've both been in this for far too long and they know each other too well.
"I think she can fix this—all of this." Hyuna looks hopeful and it's difficult not to be pulled in.
She resists because she has to. She knows better by now.
"How? She's just one person." Android. Hyemi doesn't bother to correct herself. She's not even sure if there's a big difference anymore.
"I don't know yet," Hyuna admits. "I don't think she knows yet either."
They leave the house more often. Hyuna still looks wary but she comes along, out of solidarity if not necessity. The others offer to go but Hyuna never lets them. "Less is better," she says with finality and not even Sera looks like she wants to argue with her.
Hyemin comes with them on every trip.
Hyemi can feel it, a sense of dread that prickles the back of her neck. They're about two seconds away from walking into an ambush when Hyemin stops her with a hand on her arm.
"Don't go," she whispers, eyes wide and glued on Hyemi.
Hyemi thinks she sees fear in Hyemin's eyes.
Hyemi doesn't mean to but she ends up in Hyemin's room most nights to watch her not-sleep. If it were the other way around Hyemi would be thoroughly perturbed. Hyemin never brings it up so Hyemi doesn't either; they never talk about how Hyemi falls asleep curled around herself near Hyemin's legs.
Hyemin's thoughtful enough to leave before Hyemi awakens.
"Hyuna seems to think you're going to save the world." Hyemi breaks the silence because it starts getting to her. She's not unsettled anymore but she's antsy.
Hyemin sits up, lets the sheets pool around her waist. Hyemi's not sure when she started lying under the sheets instead of on top.
"I'm not here to save the world," Hyemin says quietly, conflict etched all over her face. Hyemi thinks she might even be upset.
"Then why are you here?"
When Hyemi falls asleep that night she's curled around Hyemin.
She dreams of all the things she misses and doesn't resent herself for wanting them back. Hyemin, next to her, isn't asleep but she thinks she's dreaming as well.