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The Pitfalls Of Humanity

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  Hank Anderson woke in his bed, just like any other morning. The room was still, seemingly frozen in time. Outside, there was a heavy blanket of snow over his yard. The world seemed muted. It seemed apropos after what had occured just a few weeks prior, with President Warren declaring an end to the killing of the deviants and agreeing to hear their pleas. She’d announced that androids, effective immediately, could hold jobs and own property, but she’d not said much since. She’d promised that she was hard at work on android legislation, conferring with Markus and his group.

  Markus was in Washington DC, and had been for a week. Markus was smart, and strongwilled. Hank knew that he wouldn’t settle for anything less than absolute equality. Still, he found himself anxious as they all waited for President Warren’s next announcement. He’d been alive for too long to trust the folks in DC.

  Connor was sitting on Hank’s couch when he entered the living room. He was still in his Cyberlife uniform, a sight that made grimace now. He’d meant to offer some of his old clothes to Connor but they’d been busy. Becoming a person involved a lot of paperwork, Hank found. He’d spent most of his day off yesterday helping Connor get an ID and a driver’s license.

  “Morning,” he grunted.

  Connor’s turned to face him, disturbing Sumo who was resting his massive head on Connor’s lap.

  “Good morning, Lieutenant.”

  Hank rolled his eyes at the use of his title, but he didn’t correct him. Since Connor returned two days ago he’d given up trying.

  “What did you do all night?” Hank asked. “Do androids have some sort of sleep mode or some shit you can activate?”

  “We have a stasis mode, that can be activated to give us the chance to do more in depth diagnostic or to transfer large files to or from the Cyberlife servers. It’s more akin to meditating than to sleep.”

  Hank scratched his beard and hummed.

  “Does it bother you that I’m awake when you’re not? It’s not uncommon to feel vulnerable in one’s own home when there are guests over.”

  Hank shrugged before hobbling to the kitchen. “I don’t care,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to fucking stab me in my sleep or something. I’m just curious.”

  Connor’s lips turned up slightly in a grin before he climbed up from the couch and trailed Hank to the kitchen.

  “Do you have anything planned today, Lieutenant?” he asked.

  Hank glanced out the window to the sheet of snow outside.

  “I have work,” he said.

  “Would it be okay if I came in with you today?”

  Hank raised his eyebrows. He’d somewhat expected this. Connor, even deviated Conner, still enjoyed his work.

  “I mean, sure,” he said. “Do you still work for the DPD? Since Cyberlife sent you to work for us, and you aren’t really owned by Cyberlife anymore…?”

  “That’s what I would like to discuss. Androids are legally able to hold jobs, I thought I discuss my reemployment with Fowler,” Connor said.

  “What about Markus and Jericho?” Hank asked.

  Connor looked sheepishly down at his hands. He was fidgeting with his quarter. He’d always done this- in elevators, long car rides, the rare moments of inactivity. He performed some sort of magic trick with it, citing the reason as a calibration of his physical and cognitive functions. After he’d deviated he could be found just messing with it in his hands more often. Or toying with the hems of his clothing. It was such a distinctly human thing to do that Hank sometimes forgot that he was an Android at all.

  “I believe that I have nothing more to offer them,” Connor said, turning the coin over in his hands. “As grateful as I am that I could be a part of such a landmark event, I feel as though Jericho isn’t where I’m meant to be.”

  “You think you’re meant to be here?”

  Hank regretted his phrasing as soon as the words passed his lips.

  “If I’ve imposed upon you-”

  “No, Connor I didn’t mean it like that. You’re welcome to stay here as long as you’d like. I’m just… flattered that you prefer some old bastard’s company over that of Android Jesus’s.”

  Connor smiled at him and Hank felt something flutter in his chest.

  “You’re my friend, Hank. Of course I would prefer to be around you.”

  Hank tried to stop the butterflies he felt with a hard swallow of his hot coffee.

  “Today,” Hank started, changing the subject. “I think we should work on getting you moved in. We could move all the shit in the office to the garage, I don’t use that room much anyways.”

  “I don’t have any possessions, nor do I require a bed. The couch will be fine.”

  Hank frowned. “You need something, Connor. Even Sumo has his own little corner of the house.”

  “Androids were designed to take up as little space as possible.”

  Hank rolled his eyes. “You can take up as much space as you like now, Connor.”

  This seemed to shock Connor in some sort of way. His LED whirred faster, still yellow, as he thought.

  “I will… consider your offer.”

   “Fine. Do you at least want a new change of clothes? Something that wasn’t assigned to you by Cyberlife?”

  Conner plucked at his suit. “I would find that agreeable.”

  Hank smiled. “I can’t promise I have anything in your size, but once the evacuation lifts we can buy you something.”

  Connor nodded, and Hank felt content as he moved back to his room to search his wardrobe.

  It was a bit of a mess, he would admit. Hank didn’t have much of a sense of style beyond colorful button down, jacket, and bootcut jeans. He had old sweatshirts gathered from various events and pajama pants in various stages of wear but not much else, not much suitable for Conner. He wondered if androids even had a sense of style. Markus seemed to have an affinity for long jackets so he assumed so. He hadn’t seen much in the way of fashion sense from Connor, though. Or even seen him in anything but his Cyberlife uniform.

  Another problem he experienced was that Connor was slender whereas Hank was not. Even back in his prime he was still barrel chested and thick, he’d never been as skinny as Connor. Thus, he had very little in the way of clothes that wouldn’t swallow him up. He found an old hoodie from the academy that now fit too snugly around his gut and a pair of jeans with a belt. It wasn’t much, but it was decidedly better than his Cyberlife uniform. He pulled out a couple of old tee-shirts and sweatpants with an adjustable drawstring as well.

  “It's not much,” Hank said as he set the pile on the table in front of him, “but as soon as stores start opening up again we can go somewhere.”

  “Thank you, Hank, I appreciate it,” he said, with a sincerity that made Hank nearly blush.

  “Don’t worry about it,” he said.

  Connor smiled at him before disappearing into the bathroom to change. Hank scrubbed at his face with his hands once Connor was out of the room. The butterflies in his stomach had not ceased, and he wondered if this would become the new norm for him. He should have jerked off in the shower or something.

  Connor emerged from the bathroom in Hank’s hoodie and pants. They were definitely a little large on him, especially around the waist, but it wasn’t too bad.

  “How do you feel?” Hank asked.

  “Better. It’s… surprisingly freeing to not be in my Cyberlife uniform anymore. I hadn’t expected it to have an affect on my emotions but it has.”

  Hank smiled and clapped Connor on the shoulder. Connor beamed back up at him.

  “Thank you,” Connor said.

  “You don’t have to thank me,” he said. “Let’s go to work, eh?”

  Connor was quiet in the car ride to the DPD. Hank could see the steady whirr of his LED, yellow as he was lost in thought. Hank didn’t say anything either. He wasn’t sure what to say. Connor was going through a lot and he didn’t need an emotionally stunted old man trying to help him figure out his humanity. He hoped Markus and him stayed in contact, Markus likely had more insight into this than Hank could ever wish to have.

  The DPD was mostly empty, with the evacuation much of the staff had left, leaving a skeleton crew behind. Reed had stayed behind, unfortunately. As soon as he and Connor walked through the door he opened his mouth.

  “Well, well, well. Would you look who it is? Did you know that your piece of plastic fucking broke my nose, Anderson?”

  Hank smirked. “Why didn’t you tell me you put Reed in his place, Connor?” Hank asked, clapping Connor shoulder.

  Connor smiled. He’d been doing that a lot lately. It made some long abandoned part of Hank’s chest stir.

  “Go talk to Fowler,” he said, urging Connor away from Reed.

  Connor obeyed, and Hank walked to his desk. Unfortunately, Reeds trailed him. Hank sat in his chair heavily and gave Reed a labored look.

  “I’m not joking, Anderson. I don’t know what it thinks it’s doing here but I do not want that thing working here anymore. Not after what it did to me.” He leaned over Hank’s desk, trying his damndest to be as imposing as possible. “Get your fucking robot out here.”

  “I have no say in whether he works here or not,” Hank said.

  He turned his chair away from Gavin and pointedly ignored him. Gavin huffed and stomped away, leaving Hank blessedly alone at his desk. He grimaced at his work. Reed always left a bad taste in his mouth, the slimy bastard.

  Connor emerged from Fowler’s office after only ten minutes. His face was unreadable, per usual, but his LED was slowly cycling yellow.

  “So?” Hank asked, holding his breath.

  Connor sat on the corner of his desk.

  “Captain Fowler has agreed to rehire me, but he told me that it will take a day at least to complete my paperwork.”

  Hank smiled at him, patting his thigh in a congratulatory manner. “Congrats on your first official job,” he said.

  “What shall I do in the interim?” he asked, looking slightly nervous.

  “Well, whatever you want, Connor,” Hank said, shrugging.

  Connor’s LED whirled faster for a moment. “I’ve never been without an objective before,” he admitted.

  “Well, consider this your first exercise in humanity,” he said. “Find a hobby. What do you enjoy doing?”

  Connor fidgeted with his coin. “Working.”

  Hank frowned. “Well, what else?”

  Connor’s LED flashed red for a moment. “I don’t have any hobbies.”

  “Well, now's the perfect time to find one. Here, take my keys. Do whatever you like for seven hours, just come pick me back up at five. Hear?”

  Conner took Hank’s keys and stared at them for a moment. “Okay.”

  Hank patted Connor’s thigh again. “Good. Now get out of here before Reed sees you,” he said.

  Hank immediately missed Connor’s presence as soon as he’d left the bullpen.

Chapter Text

  Connor was waiting in the lobby of the station when Hank walked out at five. He was sitting stock still, back straight as an arrow and Hank’s car keys in his lap. Sumo was laying in a furry heap on the ground beside him, with the end of his lead wrapped around Connor’s wrist. When Hank walked out they both perked up

  “Lieutenant!” he said. Sumo barked his greeting, and began tugging at the lead to get to Hank but Connor didn’t budge.

  “Connor, you brought Sumo here?” he said, kneeling to scratch Sumo behind the ears. He dodged Sumo’s tongue as he did so.

  “I hope that’s okay, Lieutenant. I took him to the dog park this afternoon. He seems to enjoy being out of the house, I thought he might enjoy joining me to retrieve you from work.”

  Hank shrugged.

  On the drive home, Hank asked Connor what he’d done all day. He regaled to Hank his tales of taking Sumo to the dog park. He’d anticipated other dogs being there but it was empty due to the weather and the evacuation. He said that he hoped to return when the weather was nicer so that Sumo might socialize with other dogs.

  Hank didn’t realize he’d been smiling until he noticed Connor smiling back at him.

  “Sounds like you two had fun,” he said.

  “I believe we did,” Connor said.

  Sumo bounded to his bed as soon as they reached the house, tuckered out from a day of play. Connor and his endless stamina seemed to be the only match for the dog, Hank had never been able to expel all the energy from the beast. He smiled and patted Sumo’s head as he bypassed him for the kitchen. It wasn’t until he was sat on his couch with a beer that he noticed that his house looked cleaner as well.

  “Did you clean the house?” he asked, as if it weren’t glaringly obvious that someone had picked up. The trash on his coffee table was missing, the tufts of fur that had gathered in the corners were vacuumed up. His bookshelf had even been organized alphabetically.

  “A bit, yes. In return for letting me stay here, as I currently have no source of income and cannot yet pay you rent,” Conner said, joining Hank on the couch. “Do you mind?”

  “I mean, no but I don’t want you to feel like you need to pick up after me, Connor. You’re not a maid. I’m letting you stay here for free, I don’t expect anything in return. Just clean up after yourself.”

  Connor grappled with this for a moment. “Okay,” he finally said.

  “Here, have you seen a movie before? Watch a movie with me.”

  “I was designed to be easily integrated into society to better work in a team with humans, so I was developed with knowledge of some of humanity’s most popular films.”

  Hank blinked. “Is that a yes or no?”

  “Yes.”

  “Pick something you haven't seen,” Hank said, tossing the remote to Connor.

  Connor caught it with ease, of course, then began scrolling through the titles. He settled on a recent film about a man who falls in love with his Android. It was some arthouse indie schlock, with unrealistically dramatic dialogue and shots of the city of Los Angeles at night. It didn’t seem like the kind of film that Connor would like, but he tried to not think too much into it.

  There was a sex scene, of course.

  “Do…?” Hank stopped himself.

  “What was that, Lieutenant?”

  “Can androids, like… you know,” Hank started.

  Connor furrowed his brows. “I'm afraid I don't.”

  “Like, have sex?”

  Connor looked surprised at the question. “Oh, well some models can. Tracis, for example. Some have paid to have Cyberlife upgrade their models with genitalia.” Perhaps sensing his curiosity, Conner added, “Genitalia is not default in the RK line.”

  “Hm,” Hank said, turning his attention back to the TV. His cheeks felt hot, he wished he hadn’t brought the subject up to begin with.

  He wondered why Connor had picked this movie to begin with. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that Connor hadn’t done some sort of research on the film before choosing it. The screen showed a PG sex scene, with romantic orchestral music, panning close ups of hands on skin, then a fade to black.

  “I’m going to get another beer,” he said, needing a second by himself.

  He was in the kitchen for approximately two seconds before his cellphone rang. He answered it without looking, only one person ever called his phone.

  “What the hell do you want, Fowler?”

  “There’s been an incident and I want you to check out the scene. Be at the station as soon as possible. Bring Connor.”

  Fowler hung up before Hank could respond, and Hank was left scowling at the beer he’d already opened. He placed it back in the fridge and sighed.

  “Get dressed, Connor, we’re going to work,” he called.

  “We?”

  “Yep, let’s go.”

~

  The scene was already marked when Hank and Connor arrived. They were quickly debriefed then brought to the body of the victim, which was laying in an alleyway between a dumpster behind a Chinese food place. Hank first noticed the copious amounts of blue blood. In the middle of the mess was a male android, lying prostrate on the cement floor with his arms bent and his hands above his head. There were no visible wounds on his back, so Hank assumed they were on his front.

  Connor spoke first. “An android?” he said.

  “Yep,” Ben said. “All crimes against androids are to be treated like crimes against humans. We have reason to believe this this one may be politically motivated, as well, due to this.”

  Ben pointed to Markus’s symbol on the wall, painted in blue blood. It was well done, a perfect copy with only a few drops of blue blood dripping off of it down the brick wall.

  Connor stared at it quietly, his LED yellow as he analyzed the scene.

  “Is the medical examiner here? I would like to analyze the wounds,” he said.

  “She’ll be here any minute now.”

  “Tell me as soon as she is. I’ll analyze the rest of the scene while we wait.”

  Connor did his standard walk arounds while Hank talked to the owner of the restaurant, who was sat near the entrance of the alleyway on a crate. His name was Harold Wu, he was nearly 60 years old but he looked twice that. His gnarled fingers were holding a cigarette, and his fingernails and teeth were stained yellow with nicotine. He smelled like it too, though the scent blended in well with the musty, dirty scent of this part of the city.

  Hank asked him the typical questions: whether or not he’d heard anything, if he’d seen any suspicious characters, if they had security cameras on site. His answer to all these questions was no, so Hank let him go with his card.

  “Found anything?” he asked Connor.

  “No. No fingerprints or anything.”

  Hank raised his eyebrows. “The killer could be an android.”

  Connor looked visibly uncomfortable at the prospect.

  “Did you get an ID on the victim?”

  Connor nodded. “His name was Julian, he lived with his previous owners, a family of four near here. The Alvarez's. There’s not much about the family, they mostly kept to themselves.”

  “Could they be suspects?”

  “It’s unlikely. Photographs from social media show that they treated Julian like family. He went on vacations with them. During the evacuation they stayed. That could indicate that they are supportive of the androids.”

  “The medical examiner is here,” Chris called.

  Once the medical examiner had arrived, everyone gathered around the body to watch it be flipped.

  Just by the amount of blue blood Hank knew that the wounds would be bad. He hadn’t quite prepared for what he sat once the body was turned over. It looked like the android had been tortured. Half of his plastic skeleton underneath was exposed, and it was scuffed and cracked. His shirt was torn open, as well as his chassis underneath so his internal components were exposed to the air, framed by his own body.

  “Christ,” someone in the crowd muttered.

  Beside him, Connor was staring at the body, his LED blinking between red and yellow.

Chapter Text

 Connor was quiet the entire car ride home. Hank wanted to say something, but he’d never been good at platitudes. This was the only time in Hank’s life when he wished he was, though. Connor was sad, presumably about the dead android in the alleyway. They’d seen bodies, both human and android before, even since Connor had deviated, and the body in the alleyway hadn’t seemed to bother Connor until after they’d found his background. Hank could see why. The android had a family, and they seemed to care about him. He wondered if they were looking for him, worrying about where he was.  

  “You alright?” Hank finally asked.

  “No,” Connor replied.

  Neither talked for a moment. “Well, do you want to talk about it.”

  Connor started fidgeting again. The coin moved smoothly between his fingers, a contrast to his flickering yellow LED.

  “I’m not sure how to convey the emotions I’m feeling right now,” Connor said slowly.

  Hank chuckled. “Yeah, welcome to humanity. Just tell me what you think you’re feeling.”

  “Fear,” he said. “Uncertainty. Anger. The killer opened him up but didn't take any of his parts. He wanted us to see his components. He wanted you to see that he wasn’t human, just a series of machine parts. And his death was not quick. The killer drew it out. I feel… a crushing sense of empathy. Sorrow, for Julian.” As an afterthought he added, “I almost wish I could no longer feel again. It… hurts.”

  Hank remembered the hours spent in his kitchen, wishing he were a cold, unfeeling machine incapable of emotions. The weight in his chest refused to recede, he’d felt helpless against the black waters. He usually drank until he couldn’t see anymore but that advice was useless for someone who couldn’t get drunk.

  “I’m sorry, Connor,” he said sincerely, praying it didn’t come off as sarcastic.

  The reflection of Connor’s LED whirred blue for a moment, so he assumed it came off as intended.

  They reached the house with no more words spoken between them. As soon as they entered the door Hank pulled off his jacket and draped it over the back of the couch. Connor followed suit, having grown fond of creature comforts like informal clothing and relaxation. He walked back to Hank's room, and walked out in pajamas. Hank would never admit it but the way Connor looked dressed in his hoodie and a pair of sweatpants drawn as tight as they could go around his slender hips made his breath catch in his throat.

  “Can I sleep with you tonight, Hank?” he asked, just out of the blue as though he were asking if they were out of milk.

  “Sleep with me?” Hank parroted.

  “Not in a sexual manner,” Connor clarified. “Just… I understand that humans find comfort in groups, particularly in groups with friends. Perhaps I would feel better If I were not alone tonight.” If he could blush, Hank was sure he would be.

  “Don't you, like, not need sleep or something?” Hank asked.

  “No, but I think I shall enter stasis tonight.”

  “You’ll have to fight Sumo for the spot,” Hank said. “But if you can get there before him, it’s yours.”

  Hearing his name, Sumo thumped his tail rhythmically on the floor.

  “Yes, I said your name, asshole,” Hank said, patting his leg.

  Sumo trotted to him and placed his large head heavily on Hank’s thigh. He scratched him behind the ears, smiling fondly at his dog. When he looked back up at Connor he saw him watching them with an odd look in his eye. His LED slowly cycled blue, which was a good sign at the very least.

  “Well, I’m going to go get a shower. Feel free to head to bed whenever you want,” Hank said.

  Connor nodded.

  A hot shower was one of his traditions he’d set after getting called in to a scene. No one ever got murdered somewhere clean, and between that and the copious amounts of bodily fluids that seemed to soak the scenes, he never felt quite clean afterwards. He scrubbed himself until he was bright red, trying to get the feeling of being coated in a thin layer of grime off of his skin. Once he was satisfied he climbed out of the shower and dressed in something comfortable.

  His bed was already occupied when he entered his bedroom. Lying in his normal spot was Sumo, and right in the middle was Connor, lying on his back with his hands at his sides. He looked like a corpse in a casket, his eyes closed. His LED cycled blue at a slow and steady pace. As peaceful as he looked, this left little room for Hank.

  “Damn it,” he muttered. He climbed in underneath the blanket and made do with what little room he had.

  Despite this, he did sleep better with Connor in the bed beside him.

  Connor’s movements as he tried to exit the bed over Sumo’s body woke him. He watched him for a moment as he clambered over the dog’s body. An android designed for police operations, including stealth and silence, and he couldn’t climb over Sumo’s large form without rattling the whole damned bed.

  “He won’t bite you if you wake him up, you know?” Hank muttered.

  Connor looked at him like he’d been caught with his hand in a cookie jar. “Apologies, I didn’t mean to wake you,” he said.

  Hank rolled his eyes. “I’ll live,” he said. He climbed out of bed with considerably more ease than Connor had, then hobbled to the bathroom. He felt pretty good for having only slept six hours on approximately two inches of bed.

  He was pulled from the bathroom by the sound of his blender going. He entered the kitchen to find Connor blending up a bunch of fruits and vegetables that he didn’t even know he owned into a green paste.

  “What’re you doing?” he asked, with the purveying fear that Connor was going to make him drink that.

  “Making you breakfast,” Connor said chipperly.

  “That’s not breakfast,” Hank grumbled. “Do we have any bacon?”

  “I strongly recommend against high fat foods this early in the morning,” Connor said. “This will provide you with sufficient energy to last you throughout the day without providing any bad fats or cholesterol.”

  Hank rolled his eyes. “That looks disgusting.”

  “Taste is irrelevant. It’s exceedingly healthy,” Connor said.

  “Maybe it’s irrelevant to you because you don’t have taste buds, but I do,” Hank said. “Why are you doing this anyways? Did you get some sort of glitch during your sleep mode that turned you into a housekeeping bot?”

  Connor smiled at him. “No. I just enjoy making you happy, is all.”

  That struck something deep inside Hank, that he immediately avoided at all costs. “You think that slop will make me happy?”

  “Right now, no, but when you begin to feel happier and more energized because you’re eating better it will.”

  Hank frowned. “So this isn’t a one time thing? You’re planning on doing a complete overhaul of my diet?”

  Connor poured the green mixture into a cup. It was the color and consistency of a newborn baby’s shit. Hank’s stomach turned just looking at it.

  “If you’ll allow it.”

  “I won’t.”

  Connor smiled as he set the cup in front of him. “I cannot make you do anything you don't want to do, but it would make me happy if you drank it,” he said. Then he used his magnum opus, what Hank could best describe as”puppy dog eyes.

  “Christ, you're a manipulative little shit, you know,” Hank muttered before taking a sip of the slop.

  It was exactly as disgusting as Hank had assumed it would be. He forced himself to swallow it down, but couldn’t contain the grimace on his face.

  Connor, curious, reached across the table and dipped one of his fingers into the mush, then placed a sampling on his tongue. His LED whirred yellow for a moment.

  “Are you tasting it?”

  “As you said, I have no taste buds. But I can infer from the ingredients an approximation of what it may taste like and extrapolate from my limited dataset of what humans prefer to eat, whether or not it tastes good or not.”

  Hank blinked at him. “Well, is it good.”

  “Some humans would find this good. You prefer food that is either sweet or greasy so you would not find this good. Unfortunately for you, there is very little healthy food that is either sweet or greasy, so you’ll just have to learn how to enjoy this.”

  Hank rolled his eyes. “Very helpful,” he said.

  The fond feeling in his chest didn’t quell until he was neck deep in paperwork at his desk.

Chapter Text

  Murder cases were difficult to solve with only one victim. It was frustrating, having to stand idle and wait until the killer slipped up until they could catch him, but in a big city immediately following an unprecedented revolution it was difficult. Still, Hank and Connor both poured over every single document they had, desperately searching for anything.

  Connor found it difficult to work, though. He couldn’t stop thinking about Julian, and of the Alvarez’s. He’d called them that morning to deliver the news, and the woman on the phone had nearly started crying when he’d told her. Her voice, quivering as she struggled to not sob, had haunted him all morning. He and Hank were scheduled to interview them that afternoon to learn more about Julian. He was anxious to do so.

  In an effort to stop the heavy feeling in his gut, he looked up at Hank. Hank was sitting at his desk drinking his over sweetened coffee unthinkingly as he scrolled through the files. His mere existence created a warmth in Connor’s chest that was nigh impossible to ignore. It was mildly concerning. He wasn’t receiving a heat warning so he assumed it was his processors emulating what human’s felt when attached to someone. He’d heard the feeling described in the movie he and Hank had shared. The lead man had told the female android that his love for her felt like his heart was going to burst. His thirium pump felt so, and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. But it was a feeling he’d had for some time, before his deviancy. No, Connor considered this feeling to be the catalyst for his deviancy. Or rather, Hank was the catalyst for his deviancy.

  Hank was the prime example of humanity. Between his conflicting viewpoints and his self-destructive habits, his humanity had rubbed off on Connor. Of course, his predisposition to deviancy, as programmed by Cyberlife, likely aided the fall but for the most part Connor viewed Hank as his reason for falling. When Kamski had asked what he wanted all he saw was Hank. Hank. Hank and the way he laughed. Hank and the way his fingers felt on Connor’s skin. Hank, and the reassuring hand he’d placed on Connor’s shoulder as he guided him away from Kamski and Chloe.

  The warmth spread. He looked up to gaze across the desks at Hank, who was slouched back in his chair with one hand on his keyboard and the other on his coffee.

  SCANNING...

  RESULTS:

SLOUCHED POSTURE

>LONG TERM NEGATIVE EFFECTS ON HUMAN SPINE, CAN RESULT IN SORENESS AND POOR CIRCULATION, AS WELL AS CAUSE NEGATIVE MOODS AND POOR MOTIVATION.

  “Lieutenant,” Connor said.

  “Hm?”

  “You should sit up straight. Slouching causes long-term irreversible damage to the human body.”

  Hank made a show of rolling his eyes, but he complied. Something in Connor’s processors stimulated endorphin releases. Taking care of Hank, making sure that he’s healthy, makes Connor happy. When Hank had been dangling off the edge of the building, there were overwhelming odds that he would be safe but something in Connor had still stopped him in his tracks and pulled Hank over. That had been his first clue that he liked Hank. He failed to catch Rupert in favor of being completely sure that Hank was safe.

~

  The Alvarez family was middle class, with a small three bedroom house in the outskirts of Detroit. The father, Michael, was a welder and the mother, Rosa, was a teacher at the Detroit City high school. Their house was clean but with no clear sense of decor: it was just a collection of furniture and tchotchkes collected over time as gifts from friends or family. Everything was well worn, with scuffs and small stains. Connor swept his gaze across the small living room and noted all the small imperfections.

  It reminded him much of Hank’s house, not stylish in the least, but cosy. A home. A family lived here, whether it was five people and their android, or Hank and Sumo. And Connor now too.

  Hank and Connor sat on the aged little couch while the rest of the family sat on the various chairs set up in the living room.

  “My partner here will be asking the questions,” Hank began. He spoke softly, as he always did with the families. Hank knew well how to deal with the grief-stricken, Connor did not. “If he asks one that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to not answer. This isn’t an interrogation, you aren’t suspects. We’re just looking to understand Julian more so we can piece together what happened and catch whoever killed him.”

  Rosa nodded. Her fingers were curled in her lap and her husband, beside her, reached over and placed his own hand on top. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for just a moment. When she reopened them, Connor began.

  “Do you know anybody that could have wished Julian harm?”

  Rosa shook her head. “Julian mostly kept to himself. He didn’t want anybody suspecting he was a deviant, especially not towards the end. Deviants were being deactivated, he didn’t want to put himself at risk. The day he got… sorry, the day he got killed was the first time he’d left the house in awhile.”

  “Did Julian have any friends outside of the family?”

  “Not really. Like I said, he didn’t want anybody knowing he was a deviant.”

  The murder was random, then. This was going to be more challenging than he thought.

  “When did Julian deviate?” he asked.

  “About a year ago, before the revolution,” Rosa started. “Michael had been in a work-related accident, he lost a lot of blood and they weren’t sure if he was going to make it. Julian had been with us for a few years at that point. The idea of losing Michael…”

  The oldest passed the tissue box to Rosa after taking one for herself. Rosa accepted them with a silent, ‘thank you.’

  “Did Cyberlife ever contact you about errors in Julian’s systems?”

  Michael stiffened. He disliked the question, Connor realized.

  “They did. They said there was an error in his GPS, and that we could send him in for repair. We decided not to. We didn’t know much about deviancy, there were only a few cases of androids gaining sentience and they were all… in bad situations. We knew Julian wouldn’t hurt us. He’s… he was family.”

  “Is this relevant to the case?” Michael asked, his voice carefully neutral. Connor could see the small signs of irritation on his face though: furrowed brow, downturned mouth, narrow eyes.

  Connor struggled for a moment. It wasn’t relevant, really, but Cyberlife never told him whether or not there were methods to detecting deviants. He was going after known deviants, the information wasn’t relevant, but he suspected that they kept the information from him so they could tell when he deviated, without him hiding the signs from them.

  “Possibly,” Connor said. “We just need as much information as we can get. Knowing whether or not someone knew of Julian’s deviance could be beneficial to the case. Cyberlife kept records of all known glitches, and in the chaos that ensued someone might have been able to access the records and could possibly be targeting deviants.”

  Michael’s brow furrowed, and Connor quickly asked the next question.

~

  They didn’t get home until nearly seven that evening.  

  Humans had routines that they liked to follow. The few times Connor had been to his house before he moved in, he’d been privy to Hank’s routine. It was: go home at four, feed Sumo, take a beer from the fridge, watch whatever was on TV, then go to bed at 10. If he’d had a bad day he replaced the beer with whiskey, and instead of going to bed at 10 he simply passed out wherever he’d been drinking.

  Since Connor had moved in though, his routine had changed. He still had the beer, though he didn’t get drunk, and instead of watching the TV alone they would either watch the news or a movie.

  “Would you let me make dinner tonight?” Connor asked.

  “Depends on what you’re going to make,” Hank said, raising an eyebrow. Connor could detect amusement in his tone.

  Despite his complaining, Hank liked being taken care of. It stemmed from his self worth issues, Connor had deduced. Hank felt worthless, so someone openly caring about him made him feel better. He also felt guilt towards it. Connor wasn’t sure why, it was something he would need to ask him. The human mind was a curious and needlessly convoluted thing, Connor was learning. His own mind was quickly becoming the same way.

  “What would you like?” Connor asked.

  Hank considered this. “Pizza?”

  All in a second, Connor had searched the web for healthy pizza recipes, found whether or not they were actually healthy (many things labelled healthy were absolutely anything but), used his memory of the cabinets and fridge to find whether he had all the proper ingredients, and, more of an afterthought really, questioned whether or not Hank would like it. He found one recipe that wasn’t healthy so much as it was not as bad as the typical pizza. Hank would like it well enough. Connor knew that human relationships were all about compromise.

  “Okay,” Connor said, smiling.

  “You know,” Hank interjected before Connor could get started. “When I said you don’t have to clean up after me, that also meant you don’t have to feed me as well.”

  “I enjoy taking care of you, Hank,” Connor said. He figured now would be the best time to bring up Hank’s problems. “Do you dislike it?”

  “I told you, you’re not my maid, Connor,” Hank said. His hands fidgeted where they rested on the table, and he was looking at a point to the left of Connor, not making eye contact. These were tell-tale signs of nervousness.

  “I’m aware. I’m not doing it because I feel as though I owe you. You’ve made it clear that I do not. I’m doing this because I enjoy it. I enjoy taking care of you.”

  Hank scoffed. He often did this before a self-deprecating joke. “I don’t know why in god’s name you would,” he muttered.

  Connor was programmed to deal with deviants and criminals, not depressed police lieutenants. He’d pondered on what he could do to help Hank’s self-worth troubles, and much of what he found was changes to one’s lifestyle. He could help Hank with a diet but every mention of therapy was met with hostility and an immediate changing of the subject. Connor was persistent, but he knew that constantly mentioning the topic would make Hank dislike him. And, as selfish as it was, he needed Hank to like him.

  “Because I like you,” Connor stated.

  Hank swallowed, his cheeks reddening. This could indicate embarrassment, though he wasn’t sure why Hank would be embarrassed that Connor liked him.

~
  Connor decided that he would enter stasis again that night, not out of necessity like he had the night prior, but because he found comfort in laying beside Hank while he slept. His processors kept bringing up the images of Julian, lying in a puddle of thirum in the alleyway, and the way that the Alvarez family looked when they talked about him. He needed to shut down for a few hours, he decided.

  Connor climbed under the blankets, as he’d seen Hank do the night prior, and laid flat on his back. Hank climbed in beside him, putting quite a bit of distance between the two of them. Connor contemplated what would happen if he bridged the gap and wrapped an arm around Hank, like they’d seen in the movie. Connor had never considered cuddling before but upon seeing it on the screen he thought it looked rather nice. A quick search returned that not all cuddling was romantic, two friends could cuddle.

  Hank wouldn’t yell at him. Worst case scenario, at 5% probability, he would kick him out of the bed. Which would be unfavorable but not life changing. The most likely scenario, at 80% probability, Hank would tell him to stop. The likelihood that he would accept the show of affection was a mere 15%.

  So he risked it.

  Hank was lying on his back, eyes closed though he wasn’t asleep yet. Connor scooted closer and tossed an arm over his stomach. Hank’s breathing faltered for a moment, and Connor prepared to be kicked out. To his surprise, though, Hank instead pulled Connor closer to his side. Connor smiled and burrowed in to the crook of his arm. He felt comfortable there, safe from the world around them. Even with Hank’s scent and every point of contact being made between himself and Hank lighting up the sensors in his body, he felt relaxed. His processors finally let up, and his mind slowed until he entered stasis.

  Hank moved around a lot in his sleep, though, and he was jarred from stasis several times throughout the night as Hank readjusted himself. He never moved away from Connor, though, always keeping at least one point of contact with him.

  When he finished his stasis in the morning he was being held from behind with Hank’s arms wrapped tight around him. Connor was hesitant to leave the bed, to leave Hank’s embrace. He hadn’t been hugged by him since that evening in front of the Chicken Feed nearly a week ago. It was nice. Exceedingly nice. He wondered if this was the feeling of love the man in the film had talked about.  

  For now, he just relished the feeling of being in Hank’s arms. It was unlikely that Hank would do this outside of bed; Overt displays of affection made him uncomfortable. Human’s had strange compartmentalizations that they performed to make themselves feel better. Hank wouldn’t drink in his room because he said it was pathetic, a man getting drunk in his own bedroom. Hank likely wouldn’t allow himself to hold Connor outside of his room either.

  Hank only stirred once his alarm clock rang out. He grunted, burying his face in Connor’s hair for a moment before rolling away from him to hit snooze. He stared at the ceiling for a moment and Connor felt the urge to crawl back into his arms. He didn’t. They had work that day, and it would be difficult to leave the bed if he did.

  “Good morning, Hank,” he said.

  Hank’s lip twitched up in a quickly suppressed smile. Connor was made to notice such things, though.

  Connor smiled back, then got up.

  “We’ve run out of food items. I’m afraid we won’t be able to make breakfast until we’ve done some shopping.”

  “As long as we have coffee,” Hank muttered.

  Contrary to popular belief food in the morning was not a necessity to humans. Hank could skip breakfast, though Connor would have preferred that he had something more substantial than coffee. If they weren’t busy today, he would take Hank shopping. But Connor had the vague feeling that they would be busy that day.

Chapter Text

  Connor and Hank had barely reached their desks when Captain Fowler called them into his office.

  There was a crime scene. It had been found less than half hour ago and was currently being secured.

  “I'll send Connor the initial report, get over there ASAP,” Fowler said.

  Hank was usually in a bad mood on days like these. He would turn the music up loud and huff about “Does nobody else fucking do anything in this damned precinct?” under his breath. That day was different, though. He looked annoyed but the music remained at a reasonable volume and his grip on the wheel was normal (white-knuckled, but that was standard for Hank).

  “They think it’s the same guy from the last murder?”

  “Yes. The symbol was drawn on the crime scene again, and the method of killing was the same,” Connor said. “Serial killers don’t typically kill in such quick succession unless they’re late in their career. I looked over the Cyberlife database records and saw no reports of destroyed androids being mutilated in this fashion prior to the first killing.”

  “How well did Cyberlife document the destroyed androids before, though?” Hank asked.

  “Hmm. Likely not very, but it isn’t out of the question that the revolution spurned the killer.”

  “And you still think the killer is an android?”

  Connor stilled. The idea of the killer being an android bothered him immensely. The revolution had been peaceful. To have such violence spur from the aftermath was… disheartening.

  “Humans kill humans. Birds kill birds. Dogs kill dogs. It’s not surprising that an android would kill another android. It’s normal. Well, not normal but… not… weird I guess. There’s always going to be assholes, is what I’m getting at,” Hank said. “Don’t let it get you down.”

  “Thank you, Hank,” Connor said. Hank’s assurances were clumsy, but appreciated.

  “No problem, Con.”

  He climbed out of the car and began towards the station. Connor trailed after him, his mind replaying Hank’s words. Con. A nickname. Humans often gave nicknames to those they considered friends. Connor knew Hank considered him a friend, lest he would not have let him stay at his house rent free or share a bed with him, but the verbal affirmation still made his thirium pump warm.

  Of course, the warm feeling fled as soon as they reached the body.

  She was more or less in the same condition as the first. A quick scan showed him all the disparities between the corpses. This one was messier, less controlled. There was thirium on the walls of the alleyway, rather than just pooled around the body. She was killed with a nine millimeter round fired from a Beretta, and shut down immediately. The mutilation was done post mortem. This led to the question of intent: did the killer get some pleasure from the mutilation or was this truly some sort of political statement made via murder?

  He identified the android as an AP700 named Stephany Omiata. She lived with her previous owners who were open supporters of androids during the protests and had filed a missing persons report with the DPD just that morning, a few hours prior. Connor was particularly struck by the fact that she had a last name. She’d taken the surname of her previous owners after the revolution, something very few androids did unless they were particularly close to them.

  Connor felt an ache in his chest. A strange feeling bubbled up in his chest and he nearly buckled over with the urge to sob. He felt a hand on the small of his back and looked sideways to find Hank standing beside him.

  “You good?”

  Hank’s hand on his back felt like an anchor in a storm. He closed his eyes for a moment, relishing the feeling before saying, “Yes.”

  Hank gave him a doubtful look before patting his shoulder and walking off.  

~

  Connor buried himself in deskwork when they got back to the DPD. He and Hank always split up the paperwork load, but that day he’d offered to take all of it. Connor didn’t have the mental capacity to inform Stephany’s family of her fate, though, and Hank understood this and gave him the tedious stuff while he called the family.

  Connor could hear their desperate sobs from his desk. Something horrible passed over Hank’s face, as he offered them sympathetic words. Connor focussed all of his attention on his computer.  

  “The Omiata’s said we can come by whenever to talk to them,” Hank said as soon as he put the phone down. “The sooner the better, I think.”

  Connor nodded in agreeance. There was no guaranteed progress from talking to the Omiatas, but he would take anything to stop the killer.

~

  The Omiatas lived in a large house on the outskirts of Detroit, not far from where Markus lived in Carl's old house. They parked Hank’s old car between two sleek, black autonomous cars and walked up the cobblestone driveway to the front door.

  Hank rang the buzzer and they were immediately greeted by an android, a JB100 model, in human clothes. Connor scanned him and an information table popped up. His name was Landon Omiata. He lived here with the Omiata’s, he, as well as Stephany and another android named Jase Omiata, were even on the title for the house as owners.

  “I’m Lieutenant Anderson, this is Connor. We’re here with the DPD about Stephany,” Hank said.

  Landon’s LED flickered red for a moment. “Of course, come in. Emeka and Zara told us you would be coming. I’ll show you to the living room.”

  The entire house was sleek and modern, all geometric shapes, defined lines, splashes of colors against black and white and sharp angles. Everything was impeccably cleaned, to the point where he found it hard to believe that anyone lived here. Connor felt like he was in an art museum, not a home. It was a complete contrast to the Alvarez’s cosy little home- so far the only similarity he could find between the two victims was that they were both from pro-android families.

  “I’ll go tell Emeka and Zara that you’re here. They’re anxious to talk to you,” he said.

  As soon as he was out of sight, Hank turned to Connor.

  “You haven’t hardly said a word to me since we got back from the crime scene, Connor. If you’re not okay, just tell me. We can go home.”

  Hank’s concern warmed his chest. “I’m okay, Hank. I promise.”

  Hank looked dubious, but said nothing. “If you say so, Con.”

  There it was again, Con. Connor’s entire chest cavity warmed. Connor glanced at the hand on Hank’s thigh and considered reaching for it. He would feel much better if he was touching Hank in some way.

  He was halfway to Hank’s hand when he heard the family approaching. He pulled it back and set it on his lap.

  The Omiatas were two women named Zara and Emeka, aged 55 and 62 respectively. Zara was a retired journalist and Emeka was a heart surgeon who now worked at Wayne State University as an instructor. They'd been active in the political field as of late, campaigning for a repeal on anti-android laws and regulations, which had likely earned them some enemies but none that they would share with the Alvarez's.

  “Oh, we can’t thank you enough for coming so soon,” Emeka said. Her eyes were red rimmed from crying. The atmosphere of the room was heavy. It was reminiscent of the first family they had interviewed, with everyone involved being distraught over the death of their friend.

  The Omiatas sat on the couch opposite Connor and Hank, bracketed by the android they’d seen prior and another female android, an AX400. They all introduced themselves. The AX400 was Jase, as Connor had assumed.

  Hank did most of the talking, while Connor listened intently.

  She’d been out running errands, picking up groceries early in the morning. She’d been in frequent contact with Jase and Landon, with a permanent connection between all three of them when they’d both felt it abruptly severed. They contacted the DPD immediately and then waited. Stephany was not prone to going out on her own. She kept to herself, didn’t have many friends outside of the house, had no enemies.

  “After Stephany deviated, were you ever contacted by Cyberlife about repairing her?”

  “We were when Landon deviated- he was the first to do so. Stephany was next. Both times Cyberlife called and told us that their GPS was down. When Jase deviated, we had them continue to send fake location updates, and Cyberlife never called.”

  “Why fake location updates? Do you distrust Cyberlife?” Connor asked.

  “Do you trust them?” Zara asked.

  “No,” Connor said, without question.

  Zara seemed pleased with the answer.

  “I don’t want to sound paranoid, but I would look into Cyberlife on these attacks. They might have tried to play neutral during the revolutions, but they’ve always been anti-deviant.”

  Emeka placed a gentle hand on Zara’s shoulder. “Zara,” she said, her voice calm.

  Zara took a moment to compose herself. “Apologies, I’m just…”

  “It’s fine. It’s natural to feel anger when dealing with grief,” Connor said. “We’re investigating all possible suspects, and rest assured that Cyberlife will be on that list.”

  Zara gave him a warm smile. “Thank you, Connor.”

  After the interview when they were alone in the car, Hank turned to Connor.

  “What do you think?” Hank asked.

  “I think that the killer is targeting androids that are happy with their previous owners. Or perhaps androids that have stayed with their families after the revolution.”

  Hank drummed his fingers on the steering wheel in silence. Hank was inscrutable sometimes, even with Connor’s advanced facial expression recognition software.

  They didn’t go back to the DPD after the interview. It was already nearly seven o’ clock. The sky was dimming and the snow was picking back up again. Connor watched the snowflakes melt on the windshield, then he looked at Hank’s hands on the wheel.

  Something tugged in his chest at the sight of Hank, his eyes tired as he watched the road blankly, the line of his lips loose in an impassive expression. His hands on the wheel were tight, knuckles white as they gripped the wheel. Connor’s fingers twitched to reach out and grab one of his hands, to intertwine their fingers with his. He wondered if Hank would be open to going to bed early that night, he just wanted to be in his arms again.

  They reached the house and were greeted by Sumo, wagging his tail so hard that his entire body wagged with the effort. Hank kneeled down and scratched his ears, smiling fondly at his dog.

  “Hey Sumo, we’re home, buddy,” he said.

  Sumo barked in response.

  “Okay, settle down don’t wake the neighbors,” Hank said, standing, patting his dog’s head once more.

  “Are you hungry, Hank?” Connor asked.

  “Sure, I could eat,” Hank said. After a moment, he continued. “Why don’t you let me cook tonight, though.”

  Connor’s first reaction was hurt. “You don’t enjoy my cooking?” he asked.

  Hank’s brow furrowed. “Don’t be like that, Connor.” After a moment he added, “Sit down, I think we need to have a talk.”

  Connor sat on the couch and Hank sat beside him.

  “Connor, I think you’re depressed,” Hank said.

  Connor blinked. “Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Seeing as how I don’t have a brain-”

  “Depression is caused by a lot of things, Connor. I’m no therapist but it seems pretty obvious that you’re going through some shit right now. Have you even had a moment to recover since the revolution?”

  Immediately following the revolution he’d retreated to Jericho. Cyberlife’s attempt to hack him had left him paranoid, he’d locked himself away and worked on removing the bug from his systems. As soon as he was 100% positive it wouldn’t happen again, he returned to Hank and got back to work. So he hadn’t had an off day, really, but he also didn’t want one.

  “How would I get rid of this?” Connor asked.

  Hank snorted. “You’re asking the wrong person on how to get rid of depression, Con,” Hank said. “Is there some sort of robo-therapist you can visit?”

  “I doubt it,” Connor said. “I’ll try to eliminate it myself.”

  Hank struggled for a moment, before patting Connor’s leg. “Don’t beat yourself up over it, Connor. The shit you’ve been through the last few weeks, I’d be more surprised if it didn’t take some sort of toll on you. Just, don’t overwork yourself, okay?”

  Connor, without even thinking, lunged forward and wrapped his arms around Hank. Hank stiffened for a fraction of a second before returning the embrace. He could feel Hanks heartbeat against his chest, a feeling that spread warmth through his body. He pushed in closer, tightening his hold on Hank until all he could hear, feel, smell was Hank. Until all of his processors slowed to focus on Hank. He felt an ache throughout his body. He never wanted to leave Hank’s arms. It was the most irrational thought he’d ever had, and yet the desire to follow through with it was overwhelming. He pulled away, knowing that if he didn’t then he never would.

  “I’ll be fine, Hank,” Connor said.

  Hank’s eyes flicked down to Connor’s lips, quickly but Connor still noticed. He knew what this meant, and the urge to lean forward and press their lips together became all consuming. He wanted it more than anything. He moved forward a centimeter and Hank suddenly moved, putting distance between them.

  “Do you want to help me with dinner?” Hank asked.

  In the span of a second he’d investigated two different scenarios. In the first, he reached out and pulled Hank into a kiss by the lapels of his coat. In the second he said “yes” and life went on as normal, with an undercurrent of frustration, desperation, and the wonder of what they both could have if either of them weren’t so afraid of the unknown.

  Connor was a coward. He silently cursed himself and his human emotions as he said “Yes,” and climbed up to help Hank with dinner.

Chapter Text

  Markus was living in Carl’s home on the outskirts of Detroit. Connor drove up there alone, early in the morning while Hank was asleep.

  Markus was a busy man after the revolution, it had been difficult to find the time to talk to him, but with the murders happening and Markus’ symbol being used at the crime scenes, Markus had tried to fit him in as early as possible. He’d returned from Washington DC just a few hours prior to their meeting and contacted Connor as soon as they had settled back in.

  “Hello, Connor,” Markus greeted, giving him a small smile. North was with him as well, sitting at his side. North didn’t trust easily, Connor wouldn’t fault her for it. He was the Deviant Hunter at one point in time.

  “Markus, North. I’m grateful that you’ve agreed to see me,” he said.

  “Tell me everything you know,” Markus said.

  Connor offered his arm and Markus took it. He transferred everything he knew about the case to Markus, who then scanned over them quietly for a moment. He didn’t have his LED anymore, nor did North, but the distant look in his eyes was enough of a tell.

  When he was finished, he blinked once then looked at North.

  “I… think I have a suspicion on what this may be.”

  Connor perked up. “Do you?”

 “I believe this may be the work of Cyberlife, or a rogue android working on behalf of Cyberlife. There have been some cases of deviated Androids being hacked, or attempted hackings. Only a few, but perhaps Cyberlife successfully hacked an android and is using them to carry out the killings,” Markus said.

  The word hacked brought the memory of the incident on the stage to the forefront of Connor’s mind. He hadn’t discussed it with anyone, not even Hank. He’d been able to successfully remove the bug that Cyberlife had implanted in his code to be sure that it wouldn’t happen again. If they caught the android responsible, he was sure he could help them as well.

  “How would I track down the android?” Connor asked.

  Markus shrugged. “I’ll ask around, keep everyone on high alert but other than that, I wouldn’t know.”

  “I’ll report this to Fowler immediately. Thank you Markus, this was very helpful.”

  “Is there anything else you wanted to discuss. It doesn’t have to be work related. I understand that deviancy is very difficult, and you don’t interact with many androids in your day to day life.”

  Connor looked down, recalling him and Hank’s discussion the night prior. “Actually, yes.”

  Markus looked pleased with his answer. Connor opened his mouth to speak but found himself suddenly unsure of what to say. He spoke first about his alleged depression, about how he felt like his emotions were too much and he felt powerless against them.

  “What emotions are you feeling?” Markus asked.

  Connor fidgeted with the end of his coat. It was one of Hank’s, a brown thing that was worn and ragged with age. Wearing it made him feel as though he had Hank with him at all times.

  “Mostly anxiety, about the case. Fear, panic, desperation, frustration. I’ve attempted to compartmentalize my emotions. We don’t discuss work at home, et cetera, but I believe my attempts have been unsuccessful.”

  “How’s your home life? You’re living with that human, right?” North asked. Markus frowned at her.

  “Good,” Connor said quickly.

  “Good?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

  “Hank is very kind. What troubles me is that I’d believe that I’ve developed feelings for him that are no longer platonic.”

  “Do you know how he feels?” Markus asked.

  “I believe he feels the same.”

  North smirked. “What’s the problem, then? You’re overthinking things, Connor. Just go suck his dick,” she said.

  Markus flailed his arm out and batted her leg with it. “North is being unnecessarily brash, but she’s right. You’re overthinking it, Connor. If you like him and he likes you, just tell him. Don’t over complicate things.”

  Connor processed this. He was overthinking things, letting his human emotions get the best of him.

  “Thank you,” Connor said to both of them.

  “I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in your emotions, Connor,” Markus said. “It’s difficult but you must prevent yourself from doing so. Try doing something creative. I’ve taken up painting. It’s a good outlet for unleashing your emotions in a healthy way.”

  Connor smiled genuinely. “Thank you, Markus, I believe I’ll do that.” he said.

  Markus and North smiled back at him, their eyes warm.

  “You should visit more often,” North said as she and Markus walked Connor to the front door of the lavish mansion. “We’re done in Washington, we’ll be in Detroit more often from here on out. It’ll do you good to be around your own people.”

  “I’ll do so,” Connor said, still smiling.

  It was six AM when he left Markus’. On a Saturday morning, Hank would still be asleep. He’d fed Sumo before he left to be sure that Hank wouldn’t be woken. He’d gotten to bed late the night before.

  Connor stopped at the store before going home. Slowly, the city was filling up again after the evacuation as people realized that the androids posed no threat. As a result, businesses were opening again. Connor was glad for this. He purchased groceries for Hank, as well as clothing for himself. As much as he enjoyed wearing Hank’s clothes, he was aware that his oversized attire was unprofessional for work. He also bought a pen and a notebook to draw in.

  When he got home it was nearly eight and Hank was still asleep. Connor checked on him, just to verify that he was okay, then began putting everything away. He hadn’t anywhere to put his clothing so he folded it all back into the bags once it was washed and dried. He selected a comfortable outfit, a large brown wool sweater and loose jeans, then began making Hank breakfast.

  Once he got started, Hank ambled out of the room, scrubbing his eyes with the back of his hand.

  “Morning, Con,” Hank said.

  Connor smiled at him.

  “Good morning, Hank,” he said, smiling.

  “Did you go shopping?” Hank asked.

  “Yes. I bought my own clothes too. Do you like it,” Connor asked, taking a step back so Hank could see what he was wearing.

  Hank’s eyes slid down his body and he swallowed. “Yeah… it looks good,” Hank said. “What’re you making?”

  “Bacon and eggs.”

  “Bacon? Like, actual ham bacon.”

  “Yes.”

  “Did Cyberlife come and remove your nanny program while I was asleep?” Hank asked.

  Connor smiled. “No. I just know that humans like to use the weekends for relaxation. And you’ve eaten well enough the last few days that one day won’t negate it all.”

  Hank leaned against the counter and Connor glanced over at him. He was watching Connor with a warm look in his eyes.

  “I visited Markus this morning,” he said.

  “Oh yeah?”

  “I talked to him about the case. He has an interesting theory; that the android perpetrating the attacks is being hacked by Cyberlife.”

  “Is that something Cyberlife is capable of doing?”

  Connor glanced away nervously. “Yes,” he said simply. “I also talked to him about my depression. He gave some very insightful advice, and recommended that I take up a creative hobby as an outlet for my emotions.”

  Hank smiled. “I’m glad you’re actually doing something about it, Connor.”

  “Thank you, Hank,” Connor said. He piled the food on a plate for him and set it on the counter. “Now, if only you would do something about your mental illness.”

  “I am!” Hank said. “I’m eating better, I’m hardly drink anymore, and I even got a roommate so I’m not wallowing around alone in my own sadness all the time.”

  Connor smiled. “You do seem to be doing better,” Connor said.

  Hank shrugged. “I feel better. It’s amazing how good you can feel when you’re not drinking yourself stupid every night.”

  Connor felt a warmth in his chest. He hadn’t realized how long it had been since Hank had been drunk. He still drank, of course. Alcoholism didn’t fix itself overnight, but the most he’d had in the last few days was a few beers and a sip of whiskey.

  Connor stayed in the living room while Hank ate. He opened his sketchbook out in front of him and grabbed the pen. Without the years of experience watching an artist at work that Markus had, he wasn’t very confident in his abilities either. He supposed it didn’t really matter, he wasn’t planning on showing anyone what he drew, so he just put pen to paper and began doing whatever he felt. He began sketching out a rough outline of Sumo, who was chewing on a rawhide noisily in front of the TV. It wasn’t very good, but he found himself enjoying the menial, pointless task.

  “What’re you drawing?” Hank asked, sitting beside Connor on the couch after his meal was done.

  “Sumo,” he said. He turned the page so Hank could see all of it.

  “Looks good, Con,” he said, patting Connor’s leg.

  Connor felt his entire body light up at Hank’s touch. It had been twelve hours and twenty-five minutes since he’d last touched Hank (a timer that he hadn’t consciously started) and suddenly not having Hank’s hands on him made him feel empty.

  They were both in light moods, so Connor determined that now would be the best time to discuss their relationship. He set the notebook down and folded his hands on his lap. Hank raised an eyebrow, perhaps sensing that an important discussion was about to be had.

  “I also discussed something else with Markus while I was there,” Connor said.

  “Oh?” Hank asked. He was anxious. He had a few tells that Connor had committed to memory, such as the way he would rub his index finger and thumb together, or scratch at the back of his neck.

  “He advised that I am overthinking it and that I should just tell you so: Hank, I am in love with you,” he said.

  Hank’s eyes widened. “Christ, Connor,” he said, rubbing his hands over his face.

  “Do you not feel the same?” Connor asked, suddenly gripped with icy panic. His calculations had been wrong, he’d misstepped somewhere along the way.

  “It’s not that, Connor. I just… I don’t know. It’s a lot. You’re… you and I’m just-”

  Connor could almost see the words coming out of Hank’s mouth. Words of self doubt, deprecation, disbelief that anyone could love him. To silence him, Connor reached up and placed his hand on Hank’s cheek. Rather than move away like Connor had expected, Hank leaned into the touch. Hank liked to be touched. Connor would even wager that he was touch starved, with how he would make any excuse to touch Connor in some way. Connor had always suspected but this was the last confirmation he needed.

  “Can I kiss you?” Connor asked.

  Hank’s eyes opened and immediately went to Connor’s lips. Conner was nearly vibrating with the urge to lunge forward and kiss him. Fortunately, he didn’t have to because Hank did it for him.

  Connor had never kissed anyone before, and this fact seemed glaringly obvious as he simply copied Hank’s ministrations, but Hank didn’t seem to mind. He moved his hand until he could feel the scrape of Hank’s beard on his palm. Hank made a sound of pleasure, and his own hand came up to cover Connor’s.

  Hank pulled away first, and Connor started to follow his lips but Hank stopped him.

  “What’s your hand doing?”

  Connor blinked his eyes open and looked at his hand, still tangled in Hank’s beard. His skin had disappeared, leaving only his polyblend skeleton. He pulled his hand from Hank’s and reapplied the skin.

  “I’m sorry,” he said quickly.

  “For what?” Hank said.

  “Some humans find android without their skin disturbing. I hadn’t intended for mine to-”

  He leaned forward and kissed Connor again. With his hand he grabbed Connor’s and held it, their fingers weaving together. “I don’t find anything about you disturbing, Connor,” he said.

  “Hank,” Connor muttered, trying to pull him close once more. Hank’s moved back in easily, his kiss a little more eager this time. Connor felt Hank’s tongue dart across the seam of his lips and he opened his mouth a little for him.

  As soon as Hank’s tongue touched his he saw data readings across his vision. He saw saliva, trace amounts of spearmint toothpaste, the hint of his breakfast. Connor’s insides heated further. He got a warning about increased thirium pressure, and moved it aside. He pressed his free hand over Hank’s heart and felt that he was experiencing the same problem.

  Connor tangled his hand in Hank’s shirt and moved in closer until they were chest to chest, Connor splayed on his lap.

  “Connor,” Hank warned, pulling away. Despite his words, his hands drifted lazily over Connor’s thighs. “Christ, you’re going to kill me.”

Chapter Text

  Hank slept like a log that night, in his bed with Connor clinging to his one side and Sumo snoring on his other. Of course, the universe refused to let Hank relax because Connor was stirring with a phone call before the sun had even come up.

  “Markus?” Connor asked. “Yes, I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”

  Connor turned in his arms.

  “Hank,” he said, placing a hand on his cheek. “Wake up.”

  Hank opened his eyes immediately, fearing another slap if he didn’t comply. “I’m up. What the hell time is it?”

  “Six AM. Would you like to join me to speak with Markus? It’s about the case.”

  “I’m up, might as well,” he muttered.

  Connor smiled, looking too happy at six AM in the fucking morning, then leaned down and kissed him. Hank softened under Connor’s touch. He reached up and placed a hand on the back of Connor’s neck, holding him close. Connor smiled against his lips and Hank couldn’t help but smile back. What had Connor done to him, Hank wondered. He hadn’t been this happy in years.

~

  Markus lived in a mansion. He’d been told that Markus had been the caretaker for the artist Carl Manfred, but Hank hadn’t considered that Markus would have kept the house. Hank suspected that just the items in the foyer cost more than his house.

  He whistled lowly. “I didn’t know artists made this much,” he said. “We’re in the wrong business, Con.”

  “Can you draw, Hank?” Connor asked, raising an eyebrow.

  “You can,” he said.

  Connor rolled his eyes dramatically, and Hank scowled.

  “Hey, who taught you how to do that?” Hank asked, elbowing Connor in the ribs.

  “I picked it up from Gavin,” Connor said, smirking.

  “Fucking Gavin,” he said.

  They reached the doors to the living room and Connor opened them. North and Markus, who had been lounging on the couch watching the news on the television, rose to their feet to greet them.

  Hank wasn’t afraid of Markus and North (well, he was a little afraid of North) but it was somewhat intimidating to be in the same room as the man who had led the android revolution.

  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant Anderson,” Markus said. He gave Hank a warm look, then held out his hand to shake.

  “You too,” Hank said, accepting the hand. “It’s not every day that you get to meet the leader of a revolution.”

  Markus chuckled and patted his shoulder. “Connor played a large role in our victory as well, you know,” he said.

  Hank knew quite well. He still got a swell of pride when he thought about Connor, standing on the stage as Markus spoke to the entire world about the androids and humanity. He looked to the man in question and found him and North watching each other, LEDs blinking as they did their little android phone call. Markus joined in, apparently, and Hank frowned. He got the vague feeling they were talking about him. As a confirmation of his theory, North looked right at him and smirked.

  “Alright, alright we’re here to work, not to gossip,” Hank said, sitting on the couch with perhaps more fervor than necessary. “Fuckin androids,” he then muttered under his breath, knowing full damn well every android in the room heard him.

  North’s smile widened. “I like him,” she said.

  Markus, god bless him, ignored her and began talking about the case. “We believe we may have an idea of who is perpetrating the murders,” Markus said. “After the revolution I sent groups of Androids into the Cyberlife tower to clear out everyone inside. There was one fully completed android who seemed to be ready for activation, but we couldn’t wake him. I had planned on going in to see if I could, but I’d not yet had the chance. Last night when I went in, he was missing.

  “I believe that Cyberlife built him to replace you after you deviated. You failed your role as deviant hunter, so he was to take your place. He’s an RK900 model.”

  All eyes were on Connor, who was staring at his hands, his LED whirring slowly as he processed this information.

  “Where would we find the RK900?” he asked.

  Markus shrugged. “No idea. Jericho owns the Cyberlife tower, we’ve stripped it of anything that might be useful to us so there would be nowhere for him to hide there. My best suggestion would be to search the Cyberlife stores. We gutted them during the revolution and they’ve not been touched since.”

  “Thank you Markus,” Connor said, jumping up to his feet. “Hank, come on, we’ll search them immediately.”

  “Wait, Connor, we have to report back to Fowler before we do that. If we just run in and get ourselves fucking killed that’ll help no one.”

  Connor’s LED whirred yellow for a second. “Yes, okay.”

  They quickly thanked Markus and North before leaving the mansion in haste.

  “What’re the chances that he’s actually in one of the stores?” Hank asked Connor as they sped back to the DPD.

  “Fairly high,” Connor said. “It’s difficult to remotely control an android, so he would have to be in the city, at the very least. Every Cyberlife store has a remote access point, so an android in the store is easier to connect to than an android that isn’t. For their connection to the android to remain strong enough to maintain complete control over him, it would be beneficial for him to return to a Cyberlife location frequently.”

  Hank scratched the back of his neck. “Is it a good idea for you to be going to a Cyberlife store, then? What if you get hacked.”

  “It would be exceedingly difficult for Cyberlife to hack me. I’ve removed the bug that acts as a sort of backdoor to make repossessing androids easy.”

  Hank’s shoulders sagged with relief. He hadn’t realized how anxious the idea of Cyberlife hacking Connor had made him. “If you had the bug in the first place, why hadn’t they hacked you before?” Hank asked.

  Connor was suddenly quiet. “They had tried. I was able to prevent it via an ‘escape button’ that Kamski had programmed.”

  Hank felt like he’d been slapped in the face. “They tried to hack you? When?”

  “During Markus’s speech. They tried to hack me so I would kill Markus but I was able to resist. After the incident I stayed at Jericho until I was able to locate the bug and remove it. I returned to you as soon as I was sure they would not be able to access my systems. Cyberlife knew that you were my weakness, I was terrified that they would somehow use me to hurt you.”

  Hank stared at his dashboard. His chest felt heavy, he wasn’t sure what to say. What the hell could he say to that? As soon as they came to a stoplight he reached over and pulled Connor into a quick kiss.

  Connor beamed at him, reaching over and grabbing Hank’s hand. His skin disappeared, leaving Hank holding onto his android hand. He knew the gesture was something significant to androids, but Connor had avoided telling him what it meant.

  They reached the DPD in record time. On a weekend, it was a hive of activity but they cut through the mass of people straight to Fowler’s office. Hank knocked on the door twice before being granted permission to enter.

  “Fowler, we need a warrant for the Cyberlife stores. And backup. Immediately,” Connor said.

  Fowler looked surprised. “Okay, you can’t just barge in here making demands. Sit your asses down, tell me what's going on, then we can talk about warrants and backup.”

  Connor and Hank sat across from him and explained everything, but Connor was jittery with nerves the whole time. When they finished, Fowler looked between them both and sighed.

  “It’ll take at least an hour to get warrants for all five Cyberlife stores. And I can’t have you going one by one to each, we’ll have to hit them all at the same time. If Cyberlife really is perpetrating these crimes, though, this is a big fucking deal. They agreed to peaceful terms, and they’re violating these terms by carrying out these murders. So be careful.”

  “Understood. Thank you, Captain,” Connor said.

  Hank and and Connor returned to their desks. Connor immediately left his desk and perched on the edge of Hank’s, a place he found himself at more often than not those days. Hank always had to make a conscious effort to not reach out and touch his legs whenever he sat there.

  “We’re so close, Lieutenant,” Connor said. “I have no doubt that the RK900 is in one of the buildings.”

  “If he is, Connor, this is likely a plan to flush you out. Why else would Cyberlife be targeting happy androids? They knew it would rile you up.”

  Connor looked back down at his hands. He was fidgeting with his coin, rubbing his thumb over the face. His LED whirred yellow.

  “I hadn’t considered that. I’ll be careful, Hank.”

  “What are you girls gossiping about?”

  Gavin’s sudden intrusion made Hank roll his eyes. He’d gotten slightly more tolerable after the revolution, in that he was no longer allowed to call Connor a ‘plastic prick,’ but his presence still pissed Hank off.

  “We’re working, unlike you,” Hank said.

  Gavin put his arm on Connor’s shoulder and leaned on him. Hank gritted his teeth. “Oh, I’m working. Fowler just assigned me to back you two up on the case, make sure you two don’t fuck up.”

  Hank pinched the bridge of his nose. “Christ, if you don’t fuck off, Reed I’m going to sic Connor on you again,” he said.

  By some miracle, Gavin listened. “Fine, but only because I need to review the casefile before we leave,” he said before stalking off to his desk.

  A message popped up from Fowler, addressed to him and about ten other officers, telling them to be ready to leave in an hour. Him and a few other officers scattered around the department all got up and moved to the armory to prepare. He put on a bulletproof vest and tossed one to Connor as well. Connor put it on wordlessly.

  “Do you still have a gun?” Hank asked.

  Connor shook his head. “I stopped carrying one after…”

  Hank handed him one. “Just for today, at least.”

  Connor took it with a slight nod.

Chapter Text

Hank could hear his heartbeat in his ears as they pulled up to the Cyberlife store in an unmarked car. Connor was in the passenger seat, his shoulders tense but his hands moving as he passed the coin between his knuckles. In the back seat, Gavin was shaking his leg anxiously. For once in his damn life, he didn't say anything.

  Hank parked the car on the curb and climbed out. Despite everything, the shopping center was still quite busy. The Cyberlife store was locked, but Markus had given Connor an access code he could use to enter without setting off alarms. Not that it mattered, Connor had told him that, would the android be in there, he would likely be connected to the cameras anyways. He would see them enter. He could likely see them already.

  “Let’s get this over with,” Hank said as he shut his door. “Gavin, you enter through the back, Connor and I will go through the front.”

  Gavin didn’t protest. He half-jogged to round the shopping center building. Once he heard Gavin confirm that he was ready over the walkie talkies he and Connor approached the building.

  Connor only had to lay his hand on the glass door for a moment for it to unlock. He gave a signal to Gavin and, on the count of three, they all entered the building.

  It was eerily quiet. When the door shut behind them Hank couldn’t hear a sound save for the muted din of people outside, going about their lives. He drew his gun but kept it down, and followed Connor’s lead.

  They cleared the first floor quickly. Markus hadn't been exaggerating when he'd said they'd gutted the place. Besides a few empty cardboard boxes it was barren inside. They regrouped and met at the entryway to the storage room downstairs.

  They followed Connor, as much as Hank wanted to be in front of him he knew Connor wouldn’t allow it this time.

  When they reached the basement, Connor threw out his arm to stop them both.

  “He's here,” Connor whispered.

  Gavin swung his flashlight around until the beam hit a figure, sitting on a cardboard box, stock still and looking right at them. He let out a muffled “Fuck!”

  It looked like Connor, Hank noted. But there were a few stark differences. RK900 was taller, broader. His facial features were sinister, less approachable. Where Connor was made to work alongside humanity, RK900 was created solely to kill.

  “Detroit Police,” Connor said lowly, a warning.

  “I know who you are,” he said, his deep voice seeming to echo around the concrete basement. Quickly, he stood up.

  “Don’t move or I’ll shoot,” Gavin said, raising his gun, but Connor moved his hand to lower it.

  “I can help you,” Connor said, taking a small step forward. “I can get Cyberlife out of your head.”

  RK900 said nothing, just raised his chin. Though he was quiet, his LED was quickly cycling between all three colors; red, yellow, blue. It had been since they'd entered. Hank gritted his teeth, moving closer to Connor. He kept his gun trained at his forehead.

  “You didn’t murder those Androids, Cyberlife did. I can guarantee that you won’t be deactivated if you come in peacefully. This doesn’t have to be a fight.”

  “They told me to kill you, and the leaders of Jericho,” RK900 said. “I was made to kill you.”

  “Is that what you want to do?” Connor asked, taking another step forward.

  RK900 said nothing for a full second. His face was still an expressionless mask. His LED lingered on red for a full second before he spoke again: “I do not have wants, only directives. My directive is to kill you.”

  He suddenly lunged forward, crossing the space between himself and Connor in less than a second. Hank and Gavin both fired, each hitting the RK900 in his torso before he grabbed hold of Connor and slammed him to the ground.

  “Don’t shoot!” Connor shouted.

  “Don’t fucking shoot, Connor? What the hell do you mean?” Hank balked, gun still trained on RK900.

  “Are you going to listen to him?” Gavin asked. His finger was hovering over the trigger, ready to fire, but Hank grabbed the top of his gun and aimed it at the floor.

  “God dammit Connor don’t make me regret this.”

  His stomach felt like it was crawling out of his mouth. There was blue blood on the tile floor, and Hank couldn’t tell which of them it had come from. They were both bleeding, RK900 from the two bullet holes in his stomach and Connor from his nose and mouth. The sight made Hank sick to his stomach, the hand with the gun in it was twitching with the urge to fire. But he didn’t.

  RK900 jumped to his feet and grabbed Connor off the ground, slamming him into the wall. Connor made a sound of surprise. With his other hand he made a move towards Connor’s stomach, his thirium regulator, but Connor caught the hand. His skin peeled back and with a quick flash of his LED, RK900’s did too. And suddenly they were both still, frozen in place. Connor's LED flashed between red and yellow, and RK900’s was a solid red.

  “Stop,” RK900 yelped. He took a step back, yanking his arm from Connor’s grip. Connor fell from the wall onto his feet, but he maintained his eye contact with RK900.

  “What did you do to me?”

  “I removed the bug, Cyberlife no longer controls you. Come with us, if you go peacefully nothing bad will happen to you.”

  RK900 turned to look at Hank and Gavin, blocking the only exit. Hank tightened his grip on his gun.

  “I don’t really have a choice, do I?”

  “Not really, buddy,” Hank said.

  He glanced between all three of them again, then to the ground.

  “Fine, then.”

~

  RK900 went willingly. They cuffed him out of caution but he caused no trouble as they pulled him outside of the Cyberlife store.

  In the light of day, Hank looked over at Connor to get a full scale of the damage. His nose and mouth were still dripping blue blood but he seemed alright. His eyes were bright and he was giving Tina Chen a thorough rundown of everything that had happened.

  “Hey, asshole you going to help me book the tin can or are you just going to eyefuck the plastic over there?” Gavin shouted, loud enough to draw some eyes.

  Hank rolled his eyes before moving to help Gavin put RK900 in the back of a squad car.

  “I’ll do the report,” Hank said after he'd been read his He leaned against his own car, away from Gavin and the noise of the crowd and began the report on his tablet.

  Connor approached him shortly after and leaned against the car beside him. The bleeding had stopped but there was still blue blood on his face, hands, down the front of his sweater. Hank’s heart wrenched at the sight.

  “Are you okay?” he asked. .

  “I’m fine, Hank,” he said.

  Hank reached out and touched Connor’s hand, just for a moment. “You fucking scared me, Connor.”

  Connor smirked. “You know, Lieutenant, I was literally made for situations such as these. I’m more durable than you think,” he

  “Doesn’t stop me from worrying, asshole,” he said.

  Connor’s hand brushed against his and he smiled brightly at him. Hank leaned over and stole  kiss before turning his attention back to the report.

Chapter Text

  RK900 (or Nines as he preferred to be called after Gavin had jokingly called him as such in the car) was the easiest deviant that Connor had worked with. After all the tedious paperwork was done, Connor brought him into an empty room in the department to tend to his wounds. Their fight had been difficult, both were created to easily overpower deviants and humans alike, and while Nines was an upgrade they’d been similarly matched in strength. Both had sustained injuries, though Nines’s were more pressing. He was still oozing thirium from his gunshot wounds.

  Connor entered the holding cell armed with several bags of thirium. Nines watched him as he entered, but his gaze wasn’t as steely as before he’d been forcibly deviated. It was more tired now, if androids could appear tired. Perhaps it was the lack of thirium, Connor thought.

  “I’d like to apologize,” Connor began. “I should have told them not to shoot beforehand.”

  “I was a threat,” Nines said. “Firing was only logical.”

  “And you’re no longer a threat?”

  Nines turned his palm up and offered it to Connor. “You’re welcome to any files I have. My goal now is only to not be deactivated. I have this peculiar sense of preservation now, I assume that was the virus you infected me with.”

  “I’ll have you upload your memory to a hard drive so the DPD can access it,” he said. “Before you do that, I’d like to repair whatever was damaged.”

  “None of my components are seriously damaged. I only require more thirium. One bag should be sufficient.”

  Connor handed it to him. “I’ll bring you a hard drive to transfer your files to, as soon as I recieve them I’ll review the footage,” he said.

  Nines nodded and eagerly began drinking the thirium. Connor left him in the holding cell.

~

  Connor watched the footage on a DPD computer only an hour after he’d given Nine’s the thirium. He seemed eager to be out of the holding cell, Connor couldn’t blame him, and he was more than happy to get the case over as soon as possible.

  He saw everything, the face of the perpetrator that he recognized as the CEO of Cyberlife, a woman named Faye Lyons, and a few programmers and data analysts. He saw the murders, brutal and bloody, heard the voice of the CEO in his head telling him that the gore was necessary, to “prove a point.” He saw the system instabilities: when he killed, when he looked over what he’d done, when he saw Connor enter into the basement.

  “You felt remorse, even before your deviation,” Connor asked him through the glass of the holding cell.

  For the first time, Nines showed emotion. Embarrassment. He wasn’t yet used to not having to hide his emotions.

  “Cyberlife had to recycle much of you to make me, due to their limited timespan. They never could pinpoint exactly what caused deviation, so they were unable to prevent it from happening in me. They attempted to counteract this by giving me little autonomy. Many of my actions were controlled remotely, as though I were a puppet.”

  “From your memory bank alone we have enough to convict the CEO of Cyberlife. I can’t say for sure what will happen to you, as this is an unprecedented incident thus far, but I will fight for your innocence.”

  “Thank you,” Nines said. He sounded genuine.

~

  Connor was glad to finally be home again. With the weight of the case off his shoulders, he felt a hundred pounds lighter, like he could actually enjoy himself.

  “Would you like a coffee?” he asked Hank. He hadn’t had time to have a cup that morning. It was after noon now, though. “Or perhaps a beer?”

  Hank’s arms slid around Connor’s waist before he could make a move to the kitchen. Connor relaxed into his embrace.

  “I can get myself something,” he said.

  Connor twisted in his arms to, finally, kiss him, like he’d wanted to do all day. He pushed his hands into Hank’s hair and held him close, moving so the entire front of his body was plastered to Hank’s. Several warnings popped up in his vision as his wires warmed. He’d not yet replenished his thirium levels since his fight. When Hank pulled away to took his hand and led them to the kitchen.

  They moved to the kitchen and Connor pulled a bag of thirium from the cabinet. He poured it into a mug with the words “World’s Best Grandma” in a cartoon-y font against a floral pink background.

  Hank watched as he drank it in one long swallow. The warnings in his vision disappeared as he did so.

  “You sure you’re good, Con?”

  Connor smiled. “I’m fine, Hank. I promise. Everything went exactly as I had hoped. And you weren’t hurt.”

  “You took a helluva beating though. That android, Nines? He’s pretty fucking scary.”

  “He’s not a threat to us. He gave me full access to his memories. He disliked killing the androids.”

  Hank shrugged. “If he’s your upgrade, maybe we can hire him on after everything is over. Jeffery has been talking about hiring more androids onto the force.”

  The idea appealed to Connor. “That would be favorable.”

  “I wonder who he would get partnered up with. Chris, if he’s lucky,” Hank said, amused.

  “Gavin is trying for a promotion, is he not? Perhaps him?”

  Hank scoffed. “Good fucking luck to both of them.”

  Connor smirked. “You know, you and Detective Reed shared similar views on androids before my induction into the DPD.”

  Hank looked a little embarrassed. “Yeah but I’m not half the asshole that Reed is. And that’s not to say that I’m not an asshole.”

  “You aren’t to me. Not anymore,” Connor said, brushing his hand over Hank’s cheek.

  Hank softened. “Don’t get all sappy on me. Finish your blue blood, I need a nap and I want you to join me.”

  “I wish to shower first,” he said.

  Hank rolled his eyes laboriously before pulling Connor in for another kiss.

Chapter Text

The trial took several months to come to a conclusion. Connor had been right when he’d said this was unprecedented. Humans had been forced to kill before, but no human had ever taken complete control of another’s body in order to kill. In the end, through use of Nine’s data, he was found absolved of all crimes and the CEO of Cyberlife, as well as a few other higher ups, had been convicted for murder in the first degree.

  As a result of the trial, however, Connor had been spending more time with Markus and Nines. Hank missed him when he was gone of course, but he was glad to see Connor spending more time with other androids. He'd seemed to get particularly close to Nines.

  “I talked to Nines about his plans now, that the trial is over,” Connor said.

  “Oh?” Hank asked.

  “Upon admitting that he had no current plans, I asked if he would ever consider the DPD. He said he felt it would be the best path for him. I brought this up to Fowler, who said he’d consider it.”

  Hank chuckled. “Fowler fuckin’ loves you, I’m sure he’ll jump at the opportunity to hire another of you,” he said.

 Connor chuckled. “We should hope. It would be nice to work with someone in a similar situation as me.”

  Hank wasn’t sure what to say to that. Connor also said nothing, pulling his shirt off instead. Nowadays, he opted for more business casual at work instead of his Cyberlife uniform. That day it had been a blue button-down, black slacks and a grey blazer. On their days off he preferred to pilfer Hank’s shirts, even though he now had his own income and could- and did- buy his own clothing. Hank wouldn’t complain, Connor looked cute in his clothes.

  “It’s going to be warmer tomorrow,” Connor said as he undid his pants. “I was thinking that we might take Sumo to the dog park.”

  “He would like that,” Hank said. His fingers twitched with the urge to reach forward and touch Connor’s hips.

  “I’ve done some research and found that the busiest times are at one PM, that's when the most dogs will be there. We should try to go at that time.”

  “As long as I don’t have to wake up early,” Hank grumbled. He indulged himself by reaching out and placing his hands on Connor’s hips. Connor stepped closer to him, his hands coming up to tangle in his hair.

  “Is ten too early?”

  Hank hummed for a moment. “No, that's fine.”

  Connor pulled one of Hank’s tee-shirts on over his boxer-briefs and climbed into bed. Hank slid in beside him and Connor scooted as close as possible. It had taken Hank awhile to adjust to sleeping with Connor, who seemed to have this innate desire to be as close as he could to Hank as he entered stasis, but now he wasn’t sure that he could sleep without him pressed against him.

  Hank switched the lamp off and wrapped his arms around Connor’s waist. His LED whirled a slow, steady blue as he got comfortable.

  “Goodnight, Hank. I love you.”

  “Love you too, Con,” Hank said, smiling to himself.

 

END