Actions

Work Header

Me the Machine: Extras

Chapter Text

They entered the academy together, both bright-eyed and in awe of what being a police officer could bring them. Everybody knew Detroit was riddled with crime, but the Anderson brothers figured that they could clean up the streets together. With one crime at a time, they could make Detroit one of the best cities in the country.

Nothing really turned out the way they planned it to. Where Connor was book smart, Niles was street smart. Even though Connor passed all of his basic classes with flying colors, he could barely struggle through the practical -- it was the opposite for Niles. So the two did what they did best, they worked together. Connor studied by quizzing Niles on the laws until the younger twin knew them backwards and forwards. Niles pulled Connor aside after hours to walk through fighting techniques or ways to handle his gun.

It worked for a while. Kind of.

The first time things went bad, Connor was standing right next to Niles as the man threw out a punch, knocking out a fellow officer. Connor had been too shocked to move, so others claimed that he had egged Niles on. They both ended up under disciplinary actions and Connor swore that he would never be in that situation again.

Niles took it as a challenge to see if he would get caught the next time he did something.

He did. He always did.

Two weeks before graduation, Connor followed Captain Smith down an empty hallway, their dress shoes the only sound echoing off the walls. Though they had assured him that he wasn’t in trouble, Connor still felt as if he were walking to some kind of disciplinary hearing again. Sure, he still spent some of his time messing around with the rest of the guys in the Academy, but nothing that would grant him a visit to the Chief. Nothing like before.

Once the door opened, however, he understood. Sitting, no-- slouching in one of the chairs across from the Chief’s desk was Niles. His brother didn’t even need to turn around for Connor to know that he was bruised and his uniform dirty. This wasn’t the first time Niles had done something stupid, but Connor knew that it would be his last. He nodded his thanks to the Captain before sitting in the other empty chair, frowning.

Niles snorted, continuing to stare at his fingernails. “I know you just got here, but I’m sure you have a speech ready for me.”

“No speech,” Connor said. He tried his best to keep the disappointment out of his tone, but Niles’ frown proved that he failed at that. “I don’t know what to say to you anymore.”

“That’s a first.” Niles brushed his pants off. “Why’d they bring you in here?”

“Probably because we’re family and it was easier than telling me later.” Connor shrugged. “Mom’s not going to be happy.”

“When is she ever happy with me?” He leaned his head back, resting it against the chair. “Besides, I’m not moving back home.”

“Where are you going to go, Niles? Because they sure as hell aren’t letting you stay here. Not after whatever you did this time.”

“Why is it always my fault?”

Connor arched an eyebrow. “Is it not?” Before Niles could answer, he pressed on. “They’re going to send you home, so where are you going?”

Niles stared at the ceiling for a long moment before sighing and moving his head to stare at his hands again. “A buddy of mine has a place downtown. He can also get me a job with his boss. Construction isn’t the police, but it’s something.”

“You’ll keep in contact?”

He smirked, finally looking at Connor. “You’re my big brother.”

“By three minutes.”

“Nothing can stop us from talking. I’ll still be around to bug you.” Niles motioned to the door. “Now get out of here and call mom. I know you’re going to.”

“You don’t want me to wait for the Chief?”

Niles shook his head. “Nah, I can handle the cranky old man.”

Connor let out a breath and stood. “Don’t do anything stupid out there. I also expect to see muscles on you next time we get together. If you work construction, you might as well make it look good.”

Niles clasped their hands together, giving Connor a wide smile. “I make anything look good.”

“Your ego is definitely bigger than your brain,” Connor teased.

He left Niles with a laugh, comforted by the fact that his brother at least had a plan for when he got kicked out. They wouldn’t take over Detroit Police together, so what. It wouldn’t be the first thing they did separately, and he was sure it wouldn’t be the last.

It wasn’t long after Connor graduated from the police academy that androids really became a thing. He was four months into his new job when his mother called, informing him that she lost her job as a desk manager to one. A few months after that, Niles called -- half drunk and angry -- about half the construction crew being replaced.

From there, it just got worse. The only time Connor saw his brother was when Niles landed himself in trouble, unable to keep off the streets after he lost job after job. Connor tried to help, going as far as to buy a house big enough for both of them to live there, but Niles refused. When he tried to offer their mom the spare room, she refused as well.

While Connor didn’t actively dislike androids, he couldn’t bring himself to like them either. Sandy at the front desk was soon replaced with one and while the desk became more efficient, Connor missed the morning smile and offer of cookies. So he squared his shoulders and watched the changes happen while also making sure he was as irreplaceable as possible. He thought he had honestly reached that point.

And then RK800 -- code name Hank -- stepped into his life. It took five minutes to Connor to panic and automatically hate the android. When he later called Niles, his brother just laughed before hanging up.

Connor figured he deserved that.

Chapter Text

He stood on the stage, eyes on Connor despite Markus being the focus of everyone else. Something about what they had accomplished, what they did not only for androids but for the city, filled Hank with a warmth he couldn’t quite explain. Seeing Connor standing with Sumo, a wide smile on his face, filled Hank with the emotion he could only describe as joy . He straightened his shoulders, returning Connor’s smile. Joy, pride, elation... it was almost confusing, but Hank welcomed it.

Something twitched in his vision and before he could figure out what it was, his vision shifted and he was back in his mind garden in the middle of a blizzard. The cold hit him fast and strong, making Hank wrap his arms around himself to try and keep his components from freezing over. The wind whipped around his face and he had to turn his head, trying to get any protection he could against the rage that surrounded him.

He turned, knowing he needed a way out, but hesitated once he saw Amanda standing there, wind causing her scarf to flap even if otherwise she looked unaffected by the turmoil around them. Hank stumbled toward her as much as he could, calling out her name uselessly into the wind.

Still, she turned to him, a scowl on her face. Hank looked around again before forcing himself to move closer.

“What’s... what’s happening?” he asked, voice shaky. Fear . He was afraid.

Her scowl turned into a friendly smile that looked anything but friendly. Hank forced himself to stop as she said, “What was planned from the very beginning.”

Lies. She’s lying .

“You were compromised and you became a deviant.” She raised her chin. “We just had to wait for the right moment to resume control of your program.”

Hank’s eyes widened. “Resume control?” he asked, trying to think through the cold seeping through his systems. That meant... no . “You can’t do that!”

“I’m afraid I can, Hank.” Her smirk returned. “We didn’t expect it to work out as well as it did, but your handler seemed... rather interested in you.”

Hank tried to take a threatening step. “If you hurt--”

“Don’t have any regrets,” Amanda interrupted, ignoring him. “You did what you were designed to do. You... accomplished your mission.”

With that, she was gone, leaving Hank stumbling toward her with his arm outstretched. This couldn’t end this way -- it shouldn’t end this way. Hank looked around the snow-covered garden, a new feeling creeping into his system. Panic . He was panicking. He had to get back to Connor, back to Markus. Would they still be there? Would Connor figure out what was going on? Was he acting weird?

There had to be a way out. Hank spun in circles, looking around the landscape as best he could. Then, like a memory half-wiped from his drive, Connor’s words came back to him. Kamski put in a backdoor, a way to get out. If he were ever locked in his mind, he just had to find it.

The straight light poles helped with nothing in the vicinity. He had a good image of the garden in his mind, but nothing stuck out as different . Hank finally just took a deep breath and picked a direction, searching for anything out of the ordinary. With a hand held up in front of his face to stop most of the snow from pelting his cheeks, he made his way to the edge and started there.

It felt as though he had been wandering for hours, but Hank knew it could have only been moments. He stumbled further through the storm, tripping as he came to the path he normally walked on when greeting Amanda. His knee joint hit the ground hard and he knew that if this were real, he would need some kind of repair, but for now, the only thing he felt physically was the cold.

Frustrated, Hank sat up on his knees and tried to look around again. Why hadn’t he tried to be more prepared for this? He knew Cyberlife wouldn’t want to give him up, so why did he think he was in the clear? He had to get back to Connor; maybe they could figure out a way to sever this connection.

Then, in the distance, he saw it -- a blue light shining through the snow. Hank stared at it for a long moment before struggling to his feet and pushing through the storm. The closer he got, the more it raged -- this had to be it.

“You can’t have me!” he screamed, a hand reached out for the light in the middle of the stone. “I am not yours! I am free !”

Hank tripped again and didn’t bother trying to stand. He crawled the rest of the way to the stone, fingers digging into the snow and dirt. Finally, finally , he was close enough. Hank gritted his teeth, reached his shaking hand up, and slammed it as hard as he could against the light. He closed his eyes as the light then spread across the garden.

When he blinked his eyes open, he knew three things. One, he was back in the real world, standing just where he had been before. Two, he had a smoking gun in his hand. And three, Connor was falling to the floor of the stage.

“Connor!” Hank dropped the gun and started toward him. “Connor, no!”

“Get away from him, you asshole!” Niles pushed at Hank’s shoulder, stopping his momentum.

Hank barely felt it. He tried to push past him. “Connor!”

Markus separated them, focusing his frown on Hank. “Everybody stop!”

Hank stopped struggling and could only watch as Niles knelt down to grasp Connor’s outstretched hand. North dropped down on his other side, her hands putting pressure on the wound. All Hank could do was stand there, with Markus’ hand on his chest, and hate himself.

He hadn’t made it fast enough. He hadn’t tried hard enough, hadn’t pushed through the storm and just found the damn blue light. “Connor...”

“Stay away from him,” Niles snarled, looking over his shoulder at Hank. “You did enough.”

But Connor’s head shook once, his voice weak as he left out a soft, “Hank...”

Niles looked back at Connor. “What?”

“Not his... not him. Amanda.”

Niles looked back to Hank, his eyes wide. “What’s he talking about?”

Hank stepped back, further away from Markus’ hand. “Amanda was controlling me. She was the one who handled my missions, made sure that I was working properly. She...” He looked to Markus now. “She wanted me to kill you after I turned deviant. In case it happened, they made sure they could hack me.”

Markus kicked the gun away from them. “Do you have any other weapons on you?”

“No. Can I see him? Please?”

Markus looked between Hank and Connor before nodding. Niles squeezed Connor’s hand once before begrudgingly letting Hank take his place. Hank slid his hand into Connor’s own, not liking how slow the pulse was. There wasn’t much he could do and he knew that, but that didn’t stop him from leaning in and running his fingers through Connor’s hair gently.

“I’m so sorry,” he said before leaning close and asking, “Why? Why would you do that?”

Connor coughed a bit before he could speak. “Save you,” he said. “Save them.”

This was the last time he was going to see Connor and Hank knew it, so he leaned over, pressing their lips together softly. “Connor...”

“Save them,” Connor murmured, and then his hand went slack in Hank’s grip. A new emotion, one he never wanted to experience, swept through Hank’s body and he knew that this? This was devastation and sadness.

This was loss .

He barely noticed as Niles cried out next to him, the man’s hands gripping onto Connor’s shirt. All Hank could do was sit there and stare at the pale face of the one man that changed his purpose. The one man who showed him what love was.

North reached up and gently closed Connor’s eyes. Hank pulled Connor’s limp hand to his chest and let Niles lean against him to cry. Later, he knew he would keep to Connor’s dying wish and help the other androids. But for now? For now, Hank could do nothing more than lean back against Niles and mourn.

Chapter Text

Niles sat in his brother’s car outside of his brother’s house, hands gripping the steering wheel tighter than he should. The song on the radio had switched over twice already, but he couldn’t bring himself to shut off the engine and get out to see what was left of Connor’s life. Sure, he had full access to all of Connor’s property now that he was dead, but it wasn’t the same as having his brother.

The song switched to a commercial about some kind of new phone when Niles finally managed to turn off the engine and open the door. The snow crunched under his boot and he was glad it hadn’t come down much since the revolution -- he was not in the mood to shovel his brother’s driveway on top of everything else.

Being here wasn’t something Niles had wanted to do, but someone had to. And he was family, so he had to. He stopped in front of the door, staring at the simple, nondescript key Connor had given him years ago. Back when they were more brothers than strangers. He had been hoping they were on their way back to being brothers.

“Suck it up, Anderson. Open the damn door.”

Not the best pep talk Niles had given himself, but it at least got him to stop messing with the key and put it into the lock. The door clicked open easy enough despite the cold and Niles pushed it open. He half expected Sumo to jump at him, but as far as he knew, the dog was with the androids for now, probably being spoiled beyond reason.

Niles half expected the dead android to still be in the hallway when he got inside, but any sign of it being there was gone. Whether Cyberlife or the police force did it, he wasn’t sure, but as long as the machine was gone. He stared at the spot where he had to step over the bleeding machine for a while before he forced himself to keep moving to the bedroom.

It was not how he left it. He frowned at the clean floor and made bed, not sure what to make of the situation. Whoever came to take the body wouldn’t have cleaned, would they? Frowning, he went further into the room, listening for the sound of another person just in case he wasn’t alone. Rusty police training kicked in and he pressed against the bedroom wall.

Even with his old training, Niles still jumped out of his skin when he heard a dog bark by the front door. The bark was followed by a low, familiar voice. Niles left the bedroom the same time Hank opened the front door. Sumo trotted in, barking once at Niles before sitting by the kitchen doorway, waiting. Niles ignored the dog for now. 

“Cyberlife didn’t take you back?” he asked, voice cold.

Hank closed the door quietly behind him. “Cyberlife has no control over us now.”

“You killed a human.”

Hank nodded, arms loose by his side. Niles recognized that he was attempting to look as non-threatening as possible. “My finger pulled the trigger, yes, but it was not me who killed your brother.”

Niles scowled, arms crossing over his chest in a mock self-hug. “That doesn’t excuse you.”

“I know.” Hank looked toward Sumo. “I am trying to make up for what happened.”

“By cleaning his room?”

“By living as he wanted me to.” Hank went to the kitchen, passing by Sumo. The dog wagged his tail and stayed close, focus never leaving Hank’s face. “You want me to leave here.”

Niles did, but he also didn't. As much as he didn’t understand it, Hank had been important to Connor. He couldn’t just kick the machine out, though he was sure Hank could find a place with the revolution leader. Markus was the name? Niles couldn’t remember for sure, but that sounded familiar.

Hank knelt down, a bowl of dog food in his hand. Sumo sat patiently until the bowl was on the ground and Hank gave him a gentle pat on his head. The android stood as the dog ate, and he gave Niles a blank look.

“No,” Niles eventually said. “You don’t have to leave. I don’t know how to take care of a dog.”

“Are you going to stay here?” Hank opened a cabinet and pulled down a glass. He filled it with water before handing it to Niles. “It’s okay if you do.”

“Technically this is my house now.” Niles stared at the water. “I don’t need your permission.”

“Sorry.” Hank sat at the table. “You’re right, of course.”

Niles put the cup on the counter with a sign. “I’ll stay a while. Connor would probably want me to look after you.”

“I don’t need looking after, but he would want you to stay.” Hank clasped his hands together on the table. “I’ll stay out of your way. I know I upset you.”

Niles couldn’t deny that, so he just nodded and stared out the window. This would, at least, be interesting.

 

---

 

A routine had quickly been established between the two of them. Niles slept until he couldn’t anymore. Hank either had hot food waiting, or cold prepped food for Niles on the counter. He ate half before tossing the rest down to Sumo to finish. When they ran out of money for food, Niles thought about getting his old contacts back in touch, but something on Hank’s face stopped him and he found a steadier job instead. It was only part-time, but it kept food in his stomach and the lights on most of the time.

He hated the work, but Hank and Sumo were there for him when he got home. Sumo ended up draped over Niles’ legs after they both ate and no matter where he ended up passing out, he always woke up in bed. Hank never admitted to moving him, so Niles never asked. After some time, it just got more comfortable being around the android.

Niles didn’t even remember the last time he had a drink until a coin dropped into his lap from behind. He picked it up, turning it in his fingers. A pledge coin -- his pledge coin. Niles looked up from his seat on the couch, staring at Hank with a frown.

“The hell is this?”

“You’ve been sober a year. You earn these in recovery.”

“I know what they are.” Niles shook his head and shifted on the couch as Sumo got up next to him. The pudgier hound let out a huff as he rested his head on Niles’ leg. “You’re keeping track?”

“I have been, yes.” Hank leaned over, scratching behind Sumo’s ears. The dog thumped his tail. “I was surprised you made it through the memorials.”

“Connor never liked it when I drank. I didn’t want to disrespect him. Not then.”

“He would be proud of you.” Hank hesitated. “He is proud of you.”

Niles smiled, closing his fist around the coin. He hadn’t let himself think of an actual future before this, but maybe... Maybe... “Thank you.”

Hank moved around the couch to sit on the recliner without a response, eyes focused on the television. Niles couldn’t imagine being here a year ago, but now? With Hank smiling and Sumo at his side? He was fine. He was okay.

They were okay.

Chapter Text

“Here.”

Conner jerked back in his chair, startled as a paper bag dropped onto his desk followed by Gavin. The other officer perched on the corner, backside pressed against the greasy to-go bag from a burger joint Connor barely recognized. He poked at the bag before looking toward Hank across from him. The android simply shrugged before going back to staring at the screen.

“What’s this?” Connor asked, leaning back in his chair.

Gavin sucked loudly on his straw before tossing the now-empty drink into Connor’s trash. “You didn’t show up at lunch, so I thought I’d bring it to you.”

“Sorry, I must have forgotten...”

“Don’t forget next week. You’re buying.” Gavin turned and reached into the bag, pulling out a fry to eat. “How’s your walking computer doing?”

Connor glanced to Hank, then back to Gavin, shrugging. “I think he’d appreciate it better if you called him by his name.”

“Why?” Gavin stole another fry before getting off the desk. “They don’t have any feelings or thoughts, so it’s not like I can offend one.” He pointed to the trash can. “Thanks for the drink, by the way. I was thirsty.”

“You’re... welcome?” Connor hadn’t touched anything worse than water since he woke up as a human, so a missing soda wasn’t going to upset him. “Are you finished?”

“Yeah, yeah. Just make sure you eat so you’re not pissin’ me off later. You get cranky when you’re hungry.”

Connor knew Gavin has a rougher soft side since he had seen it in their later years of working together, but seeing it this soon in the timeline still threw him off. He gave his friend (?) a wave before pulling the food bag closer to peek inside.

“I’m not sure he brought you anything healthy,” Hank said, tilting his head.

Sure enough, it looked like the same burger and fries he had first told Hank the calorie content of. He smiled a little, pulling out the separate packaging and letting the smell hit him. No matter how close they made androids to humans, the smell of food was never deemed important enough unless they were chefs. And even then, their receptors only picked up either the burnt or sour smells.

But this, a greasy cheeseburger with a side of semi-warm french fries? Connor’s mouth watered as his stomach tightened in anticipation. This wasn’t anywhere near the food he had been allowing himself to eat, but he supposed one wouldn’t hurt. So he ignored Hank, already knowing what the android was telling him, and wrapped his hands around the burger.

The first thing he tasted was the bun, which didn’t really taste like anything, but as soon as Connor bit down, the juices of the patty swept into his mouth. He closed his eyes as it mixed with the spice of the mustard and offsetting sweetness of the ketchup, while a juicy crunch over the gooey cheese had the sharp tang of a pickle. Separately, Connor didn’t think he would like any one of the items, but together? Together it was pure heaven. 

“Oh my god, this is so good,” he tried to say through his mouthful. It came out sounding more like “hoe my go, if is sho go.” He ignored Hank’s curious look and quickly finished his first bite before diving back in.

Something dripped down his chin at the second bite, but Connor ignored it for the moment. He closed his eyes, chewing slowly to let his tongue taste everything that was in his mouth -- this bite had more mustard than ketchup and he decided he liked the spice in it. More of the juices slipped down his neck and under his shirt collar and that was the moment when Hank cleared his throat.

“You are going to ruin your shirt, Lieutenant.” 

Connor opened his eyes and searched his desk for something to put the burger on. When he didn’t find anything, he placed it by his keyboard and then reached into the bag to grab a napkin. “Thanks,” he said, wiping off his chin.

“May I also remind you--”

“I know the calorie intake,” Connor interrupted. When (if) he got home, he was going to have to apologize to his Hank and bring home burgers once a week. No wonder he always tried to sneak one. “Give me five minutes... Ten, actually.”

Hank tilted his head. “For what?”

“To finish this and then we’ll get going.” Connor picked up the burger again, ignoring the mess of ketchup and meat juice on his desk. “Ten minutes.”

Hank nodded and Connor knew he set a timer, but he didn’t care. He rested both elbows on the desk and took another bite, closing his eyes again. He was going to enjoy his ten minutes.