Whether or not a sufficiently advanced AI can learn to independently think and feel is one of the hallmarks of science fiction, and an existential dilemma that, as far as I’m concerned, has endless avenues of exploration. The show Almost Human missed a lot of opportunities to dig right into the cold, robotic heart of this concept, but in all the places the show itself failed, One of the Crazy Ones by starandrea on AO3 was there to pick up the slack.
Though there are some very conventional elements of relationship fanfiction throughout (hurt/comfort, “forced to share a house,” first time tropes) the writing avoids cliché by thoughtfully revisiting the question of whether or not Dorian actually has free will and is able to consent. Can he, as a robot, actually want or enjoy any of these relationship norms that humans love, or is he simply hard-wired to respond positively to them? Are his opinions real opinions or does his complex and deliberately human-like programming simply obligate him to obey his partner under the guise of independent decision-making?