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Family Values

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Sometimes, Connor thought he had a pretty good grip on the whole ‘emotions’ thing. After all, he was a year and twenty-nine days old now, he had had plenty of time to adjust.

Ideally.

The truth was when he was outside of his detective mind-set, Connor was almost blind to emotion. He had no idea how others were feeling half the time, let alone himself. The whole ordeal was pretty exhausting.

Like that day when Hank approached him and Evan in the breakroom. He had awkwardly cleared his throat to get their attention.

Both androids looked up from their game of snap. Immediately Connor’s LED began to spin wildly, trying to deduce the elder detectives’ mood. His heart rate was elevated, a thin mask of sweat covered his face and his fingers were flicking erratically. Nervous, Connor’s detective mind concluded.

“What’s the matter, lieutenant?” He asked.

Hank cleared his throat again. “Evan, can you come back to the house tonight? The three of us have something we need to discuss.”

Connor didn’t like the sound of that. He shared a worried glance with his brother.

“Sure.” Evan agreed.

“What are we discussing?” Connor asked, unable to stop a slight hint of panic from entering his voice. “Are you ok? Are you ill?”

Hank snorted. “As if you’d ever let me get ill, Con. No, I’m fine. It’s nothing serious. 

“Then could you tell us now?” Evan asked. “Otherwise he’s going to be worrying about it all day.”

“We’re not talking about it here.” Hank said with a grimace.  

“Then let’s go outside.” Evan suggested.

Hank hesitated, looking like he wanted to argue, but instead he just sighed heavily. “Fine. Let’s go out to the parking lot.”

 


 

Connor had decided pretty early on in the season that he did not like summer, and he was very glad the season was coming to a close. He wasn’t a big fan of winter either, but he was excited for autumn. The leaves on the few trees outside the precinct were just beginning to turn and he was getting excited. It would be his first fall as a free man, and he was looking forward to what the season had to offer. Especially Halloween.

“So. The thing is.” Hank began, rather awkwardly. Connor furrowed his brow. He had never seen the older man act quite like this before, not in the almost year he had known him. His anxiety peaked again, and he quickly forgot about the beautiful colours of the trees.

“I got a call from my cousin this morning; turns out my aunt snuffed it a couple days ago.”

“Oh no.” Connor said. “I’m sorry Hank.” Perhaps that was what was causing his odd behaviour? Grief?

“Nah, it’s fine. She was a fucking bitch.”

Maybe not then.

“Anyway. We got talking, about life and shit. He asked how I’ve been and I told him good. Y’know, better. Then I mentioned I had sort of adopted twins.”

Connor’s eyes went wide. “You have?!”

“He means us, Connor.” Evan pointed out, the eye roll evident in his voice.

“Oh.” Connor frowned. “But we’re not twins. We’re not even the same age; I’m three months older." 

“You may as well be, you look exactly the fuckin’ same.” Hank grumbled.

“But you can’t adopt androids yet.” Evan said.

“Are you going to adopt us when you can?” Connor asked, his eyes lighting up.

“I, we’re… That’s not what we’re talking about!” Hank noticeably flushed. “Anyway. He tells me to come to the funeral on Friday and I say I will. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the family, figured I should show up for appearances sakes. Then he tells me to bring you two.”

“That’s fine.” Connor said. “It would be… interesting to meet your family.”

“But…?” Evan prompted, sensing there was more to the story.

“When he asked how old you guys were, I said a year. He’s expecting you to be babies.”

Evan tried, and failed, to stifle a snort.

“Didn’t you tell him we were androids?” Connor asked. 

“Nope.”

“Oh boy, this is going to be interesting.” Evan’s eyes were shining with glee.

“I panicked, alright!” Hank exclaimed. “I hadn’t spoken to the man for a few years, we didn’t really part on good terms and I keep forgetting it’s not exactly normal for one year olds to be six fucking feet tall.”

“Can you call him back? Tell him we’re androids?” Connor suggested.

Hank dragged a palm across his face. “He phoned on the landline. That piece of shit is over thirty years old – there’s no way I can get his number from it.”

Evan was now openly laughing, an odd sound coming from the usually stoic android. “I can’t wait.” He snickered.

 


 

They left Detroit that Thursday.

It was slow going at first. Evan showed up at Hank’s door almost twenty minutes late, claiming he had forgotten to set his alarm – Hank called bullshit on that one. Connor, who had scolded Evan for his tardiness held them up for a further fifteen minutes while he explained to Ben in great detail how to take care of Sumo.

“Connor, don’t worry. I’ve looked after Sumo plenty of times before.” Ben chuckled, waving him off. “He’ll be fine.”

“Yes but I’ve recently switched his food for a much healthier option. The measurements are different and-“

“I’m sure you’ve explained it in great detail in your binder.” Ban gestured toward the blue monstrosity on the table next to them, the words “Sumo’s Care” printed neatly on the front. “Now go before Hank’s blood pressure rises any higher.”

“You boys are lucky the service isn’t until tomorrow.” Hank grumbled once they were all back in the car. “If it were today we would have missed it by now.”

“Sorry Hank.” Connor said sheepishly. Evan just looked slightly amused. 

“Now, Evan, you brought a black suit yeah?” Hank said, glancing over to the passenger seat where the larger android was sitting. He had managed to call shotgun while Connor was distracted with Sumo.

“Yes.” Evan confirmed.

“And tie?”

“The tie is teal.”

Hank took a deep, steadying breath through his nose. “Evan. You can’t wear that to a funeral.”

“I know. But it brings out my eyes.” Evan answered innocently.

Hank cursed under his breath. “I swear you do this purposely to fuck with me.”

“Human customs dictate you wear all black to a funeral.” Connor piped up from the back seat. “Luckily a brought a few spares, you can borrow one.” 

“None of these ties have dogs on, do they?” Hank asked, quirking an eyebrow.

Connor frowned. “Border collies have black on them.”

Hank rolled his eyes.

 


 

They were well out of the city before anyone spoke again, all watching the scenery go by before them (Hank had his eyes on the road, of course. He wasn’t an idiot.)

“Say, neither of you have left the city before, have you?” Hank asked.

“I’ve been on the outskirts.” Evan mused, his chin resting on his hand, gazing out the window. “Some of the Jericho guys and I went out… exploring.”

“I’m not sure I want to know what you and your little friends get up to.” Hank grumbled.

“I’ve never left.” Connor said wistfully. His head leant against the glass, reflecting the cool blue of his LED. “I’d like to explore the country. But I feel very at home in Detroit.”

“Even though some fucker threw a beer bottle at you last week?” Hank asked.

Connor’s brow furrowed. “I’m sure I’ll have bottles thrown at me wherever I go.”

“Remind me to take you guys out to the family cabin.” Hank said. “The only nature the city has to offer is public parks. I’m sure you’d like to experience some that doesn’t smell like piss. Get some much-needed fresh air.”

Connor smiled. “I’d like that.”

“Androids don’t need ‘fresh air’.” Evan said.

“Then Connor, Sumo and I will go without you.”

Evan tensed, then scowled. Hank smirked.

 


 

The motel wasn’t the nicest in town, but then again, the town wasn’t exactly nice. Hank had been happy to leave it behind in favour of the city, and the potholes and litter along the road only reminded him of why. He pulled into the parking lot, dodging a broken bottle as he did so.

“Don’t go walking around outside without me, you hear? Especially at night.” Hank warned, though it was mostly aimed at Evan.

The room wasn’t that bad, though. It smelt clean at least. It was small, but it had two queen sized beds, a TV and a bathroom. What more could a person need?

“Right. I don’t know about you two, but I want an early night.” Hank announced. “So, if either of you want a bath or shower, go now.”

“I’ll go first.” Both androids said in unison, before turning to glare at each other.

“I said that exactly zero point four seconds before you.” Connor said quickly. 

“But you take ages in the bath.” Evan complained. “I’d be waiting for ages.” 

“Why don’t you take one together?” Hank suggested warily, flopping down on the bed nearest the door and turning on the TV.

“Evan takes up so much room.” Connor honest to God whined. “Androids only take baths for fun and relaxation purposes; it’s neither fun or relaxing if he’s in there with me.”

“Rock paper scissors for it then.” Hank’s eyes didn’t even leave the screen.

Both androids turned their heads towards him, exasperated.

“You may have forgotten Hank, but we are both equipped with the most advanced processors ever, with the best pre-construction software.” Evan said. “We know exactly what move the other will play before they play it.”

“So that’s why Connor always beats me.” Hank said accusingly. “You’re cheating!”

“I can’t help it!”

“Anyway. I should go first because I’m bigger.” Evan continued. “And I’m quicker.”

“I’m older.” Connor piped up.

 Evan snorted. “Barely. And besides, those board games you’re always making us play say that the youngest goes first.”

“Well, you’re barely younger than me.” Connor shot back. “And this isn’t a board game. This is a bath." 

“They both start with the letter B.” 

“Alright!” Hank cut across them, a tension headache forming behind his eyes. “Evan, you go first. Connor, I’ve found an ocean documentary that’s on for another half hour. By the time it’s finished, both Evan and I will have finished with the bathroom. Sound good?”

Connor’s LED spun a few times before he nodded. “That seems like a fair compromise.” He said, sinking onto the bed, his eyes on the TV screen. Evan smirked. “I won.” He said, disappearing into the bathroom.

“You haven’t.” Connor said, though his brother couldn’t hear him. He sighed sadly, his eyes fixed on the screen. “I would have loved to see a sea turtle. Not the android one they have in the aquarium, a real one.”

“Yeah. Sorry about that, kid.” Hank said, pouring himself a glass of whisky.  

 


 

By nine p.m., they were all in bed, Evan albeit reluctantly. (“I’m what humans would call a night owl.”) But Hank knew he would be lucky to if he got to sleep anytime soon.

“So. Tell us about your family, Hank.” Evan said from the bed he shared with Connor.

“Now?” Hank asked, exasperated.

“Yes. You keep avoiding the subject.”

“You do.” Connor’s head popped up from behind his brother, making Hank start. He thought the android was already asleep, in rest mode, whatever the fuck.

“We’re meeting them tomorrow, we should at least know a bit about them.” Evan continued.

Hank sighed heavily, staring up at the ceiling. “Well, we’re a pretty small family. Got an older brother and a younger sister, Jim and Sal. Got a handful of cousins. None of ‘em have kids. Aunt Ellen was the last of her generation.”

“I take it none of you get on.” Evan said. “What happened?”

Hank snorted. “Straight to the gory details, aren’t you?”

“You don’t have to answer, Hank.” Connor said hurriedly. 

“Nah, it’s fine. We were never really close anyway.” Hank sighed. “Well, our mother died a few months after Cole. She was old and the shock didn’t help things. Anyway, my wife had just left and I spent the whole funeral drunk.”

 “Ohhh, boy.” Evan said. Connor smacked him. Having being the one who had found Hank half dead on the floor, he found the topic of Hank’s alcoholism a lot less funny than Evan.

“If I was just drunk it wouldn’t have been that bad. But I did some things I regret.”

Evan sat up straighter. “What?” 

Hank sighed. “Don’t laugh.”

“I can’t promise that.”

“He can.” Connor said firmly.

“Jim gave me shit for turning up drunk and I kind of lost it. I tipped the coffin over.”

For a moment, there was only silence from the other side of the room.

“Did… Did the lid stay on?” Evan asked.

“No. The lid did not stay on. She rolled across the church like a fucking bowling ball.”

Evan burst out laughing, an odd and ugly sound straight from his throat. He bent over, wheezing, his whole body convulsing.

“Evan! It’s not funny!” Connor cried, though his voice sounded strained. 

“It was funny.” Hank chuckled. “Not at the time, but looking back at it, was funny. Mum always did have a dark sense of humour; I like to think she wouldn’t have minded.” 

“That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard. Ever.” Evan said, wiping his eyes.

“And now you’ve heard it, go to sleep.” Hank rolled over onto his side, facing away from the two androids. “We have to be there by nine.” 

The brothers obliged, but snickering could still be heard for at least an hour.

Chapter Text

They were late to the service.

“Fucking traffic.” Hank ranted as they stepped out of the car. It was raining heavily, each of them used their jackets to shield their heads from the rain to no avail. When they entred the church, they were all uncomfortably damp.

Luckily, there was one pew at the very back still free so they slipped in and sat down. No one paid them any mind. At the front of the church sat and oak coffin covered in an elaborate display of roses and lilies. Just in front of the coffin sat, who Connor guessed were, the immediate family, sat with their heads cradled by their palms.

Connor nudged Hank’s knee with his own to get his attention.

“You said your aunt was a bitch.”

“She was, no one liked her.” Hank grimaced. “She was one of those people who were convinced that everyone else was beneath them. Whenever anyone went to visit her they just received endless criticism. She spat on a homeless guy once. I’m not sorry to see her go.”

Connor frowned. “If she was so bad, then why are all those people crying?”

“She was loaded. She probably left them a tidy amount; they’re probably just acting sad now so they don’t look like assholes later when they blow all their inheritance in Vegas.”

Connor just nodded, slightly bemused.

A beat passed before Evan leaned over to whisper in Connor’s ear. “What do you reckon would happen if she suddenly woke up and burst out of her coffin?”

“Shut up, Evan.” Connor said.

 


 

 

The service ended without incident (although Evan looked like he very much wanted to slip into rest mode the entire time) and the coffin was carried away. No sudden awakenings, no rolling across the floor like a bowling ball. Just a regular service. Hank was relieved.

“Right,” He stood and stretched, his joints popping. “Let’s head to the wake, eat free food, be social for an appropriate amount of time and get out of this shithole.”

As they made their way out of the church, Connor paused, craning his neck over the heads of the congregation, yellow LED spinning wildly.

“Hank, is that your brother?”

“Huh?” Hank followed Connor’s line of sight. “Oh. Yeah. How’d you know?”

“He looks like you. And I scanned him.”

“Of course you did.”

Jim had spotted him and sent him a cheery wave. Hank forced a smile. He had been hoping to get at least one beer in before speaking to any member of his family.

Jim looked a lot like Hank, Connor noted. They were the same height with the same grey hair, only Jim’s was cropped above his ears. He was a lot fitter too, and his face wasn’t lined with years of stress like Hank’s. If Hank took more care of himself, he would have trouble telling them apart without the help of his scanners.

“Hank! How are you? You look well.” Jim stopped about a foot away from the detective. Connor and Evan stood awkwardly behind him, but at that moment, Jim only had eyes for his brother.

Hank forced another smile, this one slightly strained. He had seen right though the question.

“I’m sober, if that’s what you’re asking. Well, mostly.”

Jim’s face lit up. “That’s wonderful!” He went in for a hug, which Hank reluctantly returned. It was then Jim spotted Connor and Evan, and the LEDs on their temples.

He pulled back abruptly, his hands still resting on Hank’s upper arms.

“Androids?” He questioned.

“Ah! Yes,” Hank beckoned to the boys to come closer. “This is Connor and this is Evan. They’re my… ah…”

Jim folded his arms across his chest, his eyes narrowed. “Matt mentioned you had adopted twins…”

“Yeah. That’s them.” Hank huffed awkwardly.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir.” Connor said, holding out a hand for the human to shake. Jim took it cautiously, eyes flickering from one to the other.

“Yes. It really is, Uncle Jim.” Evan presented his hand with what Hank could only describe as a shit-eating grin. He groaned inwardly.

“Yes… ah. Please to meet you.” He looked anything but. “Hank can I uh… speak to you for a second.”

“’Course.” Hank rummaged in his pocket for his car keys, throwing them to Connor who caught them in one hand. “Go wait in the car you two, I won’t be long." 

Once the androids left the church Jim faced his brother with an unreadable expression.

Androids?” He said again, “Hank, you hate those things!”

“Hated.” Hank corrected, folding his arms defensively across his chest. “Past tense.”

“Hank…” Jim took a step closer, lowering his voice slightly... “You said… An android killed Cole. 

“An android failed to save Cole.” He said, his voice steady. “There’s a difference. I realised, working with Connor, that androids are as human as you and I, they’re just made out of different stuff.”

“But Hank,” Jim looked lost for words. “I… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have cut contact with you, if this is a result of grief we can help you-“

“Fuck no it’s not!” Hank snapped, standing up a little straighter. “I didn’t ask to have them in my life, it just sort of happened. After the whole Android revolution Connor had nowhere to go so I let him crash on my couch because, y’know, I’m not that much of an asshole. Things sort of went from there. They became my family.”

“They’re machines, Hank!” Jim exclaimed. 

“They have personalities.” Hank said firmly. “They have likes, dislikes. They feel. They’re people.”

Jim took a step back, opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water. He looked genuinely lost for words.

Hank was tempted to turn around and storm out, but instead he took a deep breath. “Talk to them.” He said. “We’ll be at the wake. Get to know them, because when all those android bills have finished going through, you bet your ass I’ll be down at the court signing adoption papers.”

 


 

The wake was… interesting to say the least.

Sal reacted totally different from their eldest brother; she was all over Connor and Evan, asking them questions. Sal had been all for android rights from day one and had actively tried to convince Hank that it wasn’t the android’s fault Cole had died. Hank hadn’t listened. 

“Oh Hank, they’re wonderful!” She gushed, her wife, Sophia nodded enthusiastically beside her. Connor and Evan stood behind them, looking very glad Hank had finally decided to come back from the buffet.

“Really?" Hank quirked an eyebrow. Connor looked mildly offended.

“Of course!” Sophia said, turning around to shoot Evan a quick wink. “Such polite young men.”

Really?” Hank shot Evan a look, but the taller android just smiled innocently.

“They’ve been telling us all about you.” Sal continued. “Connor speaks very highly of you.”

Connor shuffled from foot to foot.

“That’s… nice.”

“We really must get to know each other properly,” Sal turned back to address the androids. “We’re adopting a baby girl this November, we must meet up again so you boys can meet your baby cousin! And Hank, you’ll be an uncle!”

Hank spluttered around his mouthful of burger. “What? When did this happen?”

“We’ve been trying for a while.” Sal looked a little sheepish, but Hank just kept his mouth shut. “We finally heard back a couple weeks ago, we’re adopting a baby girl at the beginning of November!” She looked like she could hardly contain her excitement, though she was desperately trying to.. “We were going to tell you, Hank. We didn’t mean to keep you out of the loop. It’s just-"

Hank waved a dismissive hand. “It’s fine. Communication is a two-way street.”

Sal smiled warmly. “It’s great to see you, Hank. It really is.”

 


 

 

Hank, Connor and Evan sat on one side of the table facing Jim on the other side. It felt like an interrogation, you could cut the tension in the air with a knife. Connor’s LED flickered from blue to yellow erratically, while Evan sat beside him coolly.

“So” Jim broke the silence, clearing his throat. “How long have you guys been living with Hank?”

“I don’t live with them.” Evan said. “I live at New Jericho.”

Jim stared at him blankly. “New Jericho?”

“An old office block we claimed. Named after the disused ship where deviant androids previously squatted.” Connor looked vaguely uncomfortable at the memory of the ship. It was his fault it had blown up, after all. “I’ve been living with Hank and Sumo since the 12th of November 2038.”

Jim smiled slightly, turning to Hank. “Still got Sumo, huh?”

Connor immediately perked up at the mans mention of the dog. “He’s doing very well.” He said, “For an eight-year-old he is still very playful and is in great health.”

“Is he now?” Jim quirked an eyebrow. “You like dogs, huh?” He nodded at Connor’s Border Collie tie and Hank sighed. He hadn’t noticed Connor sneak it on.

“I love dogs.” Connor enthused. “Sumo is my favourite, though. We see a lot of other dogs on our walks, and I love all of them. Unfortunately, Hank won’t let me get another.”

“Too right!” Hank exclaimed. “That dog sheds buckets, we don’t need any more dog hair. Besides, you already have Dewey Junior.”

“Dewey Junior is just a fish, he’s no problem at all. And I can clean the extra dog hair." 

“No.” Hank said, firmly.

Jim chuckled, having relaxed at the very human display of dog-loving. He turned to Evan. “What about you? What do you like?”

Evan, for the first time during the whole exchange, froze. “Uhh…”

“That’s a good point.” Hank mused, “What do you like? Other than being a pain in my ass.”

“I like… going out.” Evan said lamely. “Socializing. With other androids, mainly.”

“Partying?” Hank raised an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t put you down as the partying type.”

“Well. Yeah.” Evan looked like he wanted to sink through the floor and never be seen again. 

“Nothing wrong with that!” Jim said warmly. “I’m glad you’re having fun.”

“Oh, he’s having a lot of fun.” Connor piped up. “In fact, he’s what humans would refer to as a Slut.”

Evan flushed bright blue and Hank spluttered around the sip of cola he was taking. “He’s a WHAT?”

Jim, however, was laughing. 

“A slut.” Connor repeated. “Meaning he sleeps around.”

“I know what a slut is!” Hank said indignantly. He turned to Evan. “I don’t… Evan… God, do I have to have The Talk with an android?”

“No. I know what I’m doing.” Evan snapped.

Hank scoffed. “Sure you do!" 

“Android sex is actually very safe, even with humans.” Connor said, as if they were discussing the weather.

“Oh yeah?” Hank challenged. “Do I have to have the talk with you too?”

Connor just shook his head. “I have no interest in that sort of thing.”

Jim chuckled. “You guys really are a family, huh?”

Hank turned back to his brother with a heavy sigh. This conversation was not over. “Yeah… I guess so.” Hank said.

“It’s good. I’m glad.” Jim’s words were genuine. “We really have to have a proper catch up some time, how about thanksgiving?”

Connor turned to Hank expectantly. Last November was so hectic they hadn’t even thought about thanksgiving. Hank personally didn’t agree with the holiday, but he supposed it was only fair to give Connor a taste of humanity.

“Sure. Why not.” Hank agreed. 

Connor smiled.