Pulsating polychrome lights reflected off the tinted windows of the car they were in, patterns of light performing an intricate dance along the mecha’s face. There was a charged hum of excitement in the air, a feeling so palpable that Joe nearly shivered with pleasure. Rouge City was such a lovely mix of entertainment and sex; the streets were practically paved with young woman yearning for a bit of passion, in which he was certainly capable of providing. After all, he was a lover-mecha, the ultimate artificial being of physical incentive, and then some.
Cars zoomed past them on either side, the glow of their tail lights the only thing visible amid the darkness of the night. They were both crammed into the farthest side of the car, drunken teenagers flogged on either side of them.
The interior of the car smelled of cheap booze and stale fast food, a rather hostile smell if a mere human were to get a whiff of the offending odor, however for mecha, it was as simple as overriding their olfactory processors. At least the air was crisp and biting, wholly pleasant against his synthetic flesh.
Joe blinked for a millisecond and craned his head, staring down at the little boy—no, mecha, who sat huddled in between his legs, the boy clutching his animatronic plaything to his chest. David stared up at him, slate eyes wide and misty, clutching Teddy so tightly that the little robot had an angry scowl on its face.
“Is Rouge City a scary place?” David murmured, easing his back into the older mecha’s lean chest. Joe shuffled back into his seat, blinking his eyes thrice, before setting his gaze on the city skyline in the distance. The horizon glowed and glittered, neon colored lights zipping across the night sky. The bridge they were driving on was a very lengthy one; they still had at least 10 minutes until they arrived at the city’s entrance.
“It’s scary if you’re looking in all the wrong places,” Joe replied, a smirk finding his way across well-sculpted lips. David furrowed a brow and titled his head.
“How do I know if I’m looking in the wrong place?” David inquired, fiddling with Teddy’s paw. “What if I get lost?”
As Joe stared down at the kid, the lover-mecha blinked his eyes, instantaneously altering his eye color from milky blue to candid white. David widened his own, clearly captivated by the sudden change of eye color, and in the next instant, Joe reverted the color back to its original hue.
“That’s why you have me, David,” Joe breathed, running his fingers through the boy’s hair. David had such fine, textured hair, so genuine that Joe had at first thought it was real, however, he had soon found out that David was artificial; everything about the boy was artificial. David was a child in appearance and a child in nature, but everything about him was an imitation of the real thing- what a clever little ruse.
The boy stayed quiet after that, occasionally shifting about in his seat. David’s head was cast down, strands of hair framing his face, his shoulders trembling. Teddy was grumbling in front of him. Deciding it was best to ease the melancholic atmosphere, Joe decided he would cheer the little mecha up. After all, he was a lover-model, easily capable of picking up on emotions and using them to his advantage, or to theirs, whichever way worked best. Since David was as close to the real thing as any, Joe wouldn’t have a difficult time making the boy smile once again.
“Shall I tell you more about Rouge City?” Joe began, tapping his fingers along the glass of the car window. David marginally picked up his head, his shoulders shrugging. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
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As they stepped out of the car, Joe thanked the teenagers that drove them and pointed them towards a happening street club that promised booze and easy ladies. The youths’ eyes were glazed and hazy, taking in the sights of the scantily clad women prowling the streets ahead of them.
They had made it to Rouge City at last.
The car zoomed away, leaving behind a trail of light in its wake. Buildings of all shapes and sizes, some of them towering so high into the sky they pierced through the hazy mist and tobacco smoke swirling above, lined the streets on either side. Couples darted across the roads this way and that, laughing and quarreling amongst themselves. Both women and men prowled through the alleyways searching for their next source of entertainment, many of which were mecha exactly like himself: lover-models.
The sweet, putrid smell of trash and sex hung thick in the air, a scent Joe was all too used to. Oh yes, they were definitely in Rouge City. Joe was plucked from his observations when he felt a tug at his coat sleeve and looked down, finding David latched around his arm. Joe cocked his head and merely continued onward, his shoes clipping across the wet pavement while David hurriedly trailed behind him.
“Is the blue fairy here?” David asked quietly, dragging Teddy across the ground. The robotic play-thing grunted as its furry bottom slid against the wet concrete, its fur matting and clumping. David watched as the end of Joe’s coat fluttered softly behind him, the man’s regal stature straight and poised. It seemed the older mecha did indeed know the streets of Rouge City very well. David wondered how many times Joe had come here.
“There’s something akin to your blue fairy, but I’m certain it isn’t the one you’re looking for,” Joe peered over his shoulder, slicking back strands of onyx hair when he caught sight of an organic woman who was trailing her eyes over his form. He grinned cheekily back at her.
“There has to be one here,” David insisted, trying to match his stride with Joe’s. He looked up at his guide; the lover-mecha’s defined jaw was turned the other way. David peered past Joe and found that the older of the two was staring at yet another woman. “I need her to- .”
“Does this have to do with that Monica-woman?” Joe quipped. “I told you, I can easily satisfy her and everything will be…” Joe trailed away when David immediately halted, pulling Joe along with him. The lover-model stared down at the boy, cocking an eyebrow in confusion. What had made the little thing stop so abruptly?
“She’s not a woman,” David whispered, locking eyes with Joe. Said man was having quite a difficult time reading the sentiment churning in the child-mecha’s eyes. He had to remember that David was a mecha, an inorganic like himself, just like the countless many other advanced humanoids prowling the earth.
“I’m fairly sure you addressed her as such.”
“She’s not a woman,” David interrupted, bringing Teddy to his chest and giving the toy a quick pat on its head. He added softly, “She’s my mommy.”
“If my knowledge of mothers is correct, why would this ‘mommy’ let her child wander about in a place like this?” Joe queried, pulling his coat sleeve free from David’s hold. The child listlessly looked up at the sky, eyes locking on the moon that glowed amidst the murky backdrop of the night. It seemed like hours had passed when David finally spoke again, although in actuality, the moment of silence had only lasted a few minutes. David hunched his shoulders and withdrew from Joe’s proximity, taking slow and measured steps along the pavement. He peered over his shoulder, his eyes sad and turbulent; practically screaming with an emotion Joe was quick to identify on account of the many women he bedded that often embodied this same grievance: abandonment.
David smiled, but Joe could tell it was forced, positively artificial. “She lost me in the forest.”