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One Way Through The Dark

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Connor saw the small room through a haze of blue ice. He knew it could affect androids the way red ice affected humans. That was why it had been created, what it was marketed for. What he didn’t know before now was that it could affect him, a prototype android designed to withstand almost anything.

He shouldn’t have let it be injected to begin with. He had let his guard down, thinking it wouldn’t make a difference. Shit. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

“What’s going on?” he asked, because someone was in the room with him, and he was reasonably certain it was Hank.

It was like there was a muffler on his thoughts. He could only chase one thing so far before it dropped out. It might have felt good, were he under better circumstances. But this didn’t make any sense.

“Hey,” Connor tried again, trying to wrestle some understanding out of this. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Hank didn’t respond, save for a sigh and a soft click of his tongue. Connor couldn’t see him, but he could feel Hank’s eyes on him.

Life flashed forward, a series of slides in his mind from one point to the next. Connor barely remembered what happened in between.

He was sitting back, watching the ceiling shift in his vision like it was the surface of some water he was under.

Then, he blinked, and he was on his front, nose smushed into the mattress. There were hands on his feet, his back, his hips. He was naked. He did not remember if he had been naked before.

The neon hues of the Eden Club were fake, a hallucinogenic side effect, but the way Connor was positioned was real: legs pulled up and out around the mattress and spread wide open, straddling the width of the small bed, feet hanging down against its frame on either side, the ropes around his ankles bound under the box spring to anchor him there. Hank wedged the meaty edge of his hand in the crease of his ass, smearing lubricant all over him. He was exposed to the air, and it was cold.

It was then, when those hands and fingers were getting more insistent and more invasive, that the fog started to lift. Moments merged together in a sequence of events that made sense. He still wasn’t sober, not quite, but he felt lucid.

“You promised,” Connor whispered, trying to keep the tremble out of his voice.

Hank. Hank cared about him. Hank—

“Yeah, that manipulative bullshit ain’t gonna work on me.” There was the soft, sharp sound of a zipper being undone. “Besides, machines don’t get promises.”

Connor drew another breath, then stopped short, cut off by the sound of a bottle being uncapped, and then the slick, rhythmic slide of Hank working himself up to hardness.

“This isn’t real.”

“You’re not real,” Hank said. “Only thing real about any of this is me.”

Hank was going to drop the act at any moment and this would be over. That was the only way this could go, right?

A thick finger prodded at him and he flinched.

“Quit fucking squirming. This can feel good if you let it.”

Connor tried to clench together. The binding was too tight. There was no nowhere to go.

Fuck. He had waited until Connor was close to needing a session of stasis. Connor was weak like this. There was no getting out of this any more than a human could have.

This was too much. Nothing had even happened and this was already too much. None of it made any sense. The haze of blue ice was like a vice clamped around his cognitive abilities.

“I’m not sure what’s going on, here, but I need you to stop.”

Hank ignored him. His thumb pushed into Connor’s asshole and pressed up against his walls hard, spreading him apart somewhere deep. There wasn’t nearly enough lubricant. It felt like his insides were being pulled around Hank’s thumb when it twisted within him.

“Hank—” No. Shit. Don’t use his name. There was no way this could be— “I-I realize there must be some kind of extenuating circumstance that I, that I’m not aware of, but you’re – you’re hurting me.”

The thumb withdrew just long enough for Hank to spit. Connor felt it run down his thigh before Hank took two fingers and slid it back up, then pushed in again with both.

He couldn’t stop fucking clenching. He willed it not to hurt. What was wrong with him? He’d had plenty in his ass before. He was fine. He was being weak.

“Please.” He hated the way the word sounded coming out of his mouth. No. He wasn’t going to beg. Whatever was going on, he was a negotiator. He wasn’t going to just lay here and fucking— “That’s enough. Stop. Stop. Get your hands away from me! Don’t fucking touch me!”

Digging his heels into the frame of the bed, Connor twisted, trying to make his most vulnerable places less accessible. The bed scraped against the floor as he struggled.

“Hank, listen to me.”

“Shhhh.” Hank’s shushing was so close to his ear that Connor jumped. When the fuck had he gotten that close? “Hey. No more struggling. Make this easy on yourself. We’re just having a little fun.”

The bed dipped down behind him, between his legs, as Hank climbed on. Hank’s weight only seemed to make Connor shift back towards him. Connor hated the pitiful noise that came out of his throat.

“I’m scared,” Connor murmured into the mattress, and hated himself for that too. What a childish thing to say. But it really was a realization, something unfamiliar to the point it had been startled out of him. He had never been scared with Hank before. No, not Hank. It wasn’t Hank. It wasn’t Hank.

“Look at all those pretty colors you got there.” A finger jabbed at his LED, close enough that Connor could smell the lubricant on it. The shadow of Hank’s body above him swallowed him up as it lowered atop him. “Wonder how fast I can make it flicker. You know what color it is right now?”

Fuck you,” Connor said with far more bite than he intended.

Hank laughed, a boisterous bark of a thing, and the bed creaked under their weight as he shifted, his big gut pressing into the arch of Connor’s back.

“I’m only gonna say this one more time. You’re gonna want to try to relax or this isn’t gonna be very fun for you.”

There was sincerity in there somewhere, Connor thought. Some little shard of the person he knew. But he didn’t want to fucking relax. He didn’t want this.

Hank’s knees were settled tightly against the undersides of Connor’s thighs, pushing them up impossibly higher. Hank’s tip pressed into him.

“Why don’t you ask me nicely to go slow and I will?”

It felt too much like giving in. Like asking for something he didn’t want at all. “You think you’re tough, tying down an android while they’re weak and fucking them?”

“Oh, gonna try to appeal to my morality now? Don’t be such a fucking rookie.”

The bed started to creak wildly as Hank bounced up and down against him. Connor tried to pull his legs in. High-pitched whines came out of his mouth that he couldn’t stop. “Wait, just wait…”

Hank laughed. “Jesus Christ, I’m not even doing anything! What the fuck is your problem?”

Hank was right. Hank was barely penetrating him. He was fucking playing with him, making him anticipate, and Connor had fallen for it. He closed his eyes, ashamed at how fucking pathetic he was. Saline leaked out from the pressure, running down his face and making a wet spot on the bed. He was crying. That was just great.

“This isn’t fucking funny.”

The bed creaked some more as Hank shifted again, pressing his entire body down against Connor’s now and kissing the back of his neck. One hand wrapped around Connor’s stomach, settling in the concave part of his chassis that mimicked the space below a human sternum. It was very close to his thirium regulator. The other hand came around and caressed Connor’s throat, pulling his head back against Hank’s shoulder as Hank rolled his hips, finally pushing further into him.

“Please stop,” Connor choked out, trying to turn his head, trying to keep Hank from seeing him cry.

The hand on his neck came up and grasped Connor’s chin, pulling up so that Connor’s head was bent back against the crook of Hank’s neck. Hank forced him to turn, and then kissed his mouth, pressing his tongue against the seam. Connor reacted without thinking, trying to speak, to plead. (He was starting to not care how he sounded.) Hank shoved his tongue in his mouth.

The taste of Hank’s saliva saturated his sensors. Before Connor knew what he was doing, he was kissing Hank back, longing for the familiarity of it.

He didn’t stop until Hank fucked into him hard, stretching him, bottoming out inside him, pinning him down with it. Something inside Connor felt like it was creaking in protest. Hank was large, and Connor was tense. When he yelped sharply, Hank swallowed it up, pulled out, and pivoted into him again.

The undersides of Connor’s knees chafed against the outer edges of the mattress as his body was lurched into the bed with Hank’s thrusts.

“Anything you wanna say now?” Hank asked, voice thick with effort and arousal.

Connor was giving up. It hurt, it was too tight. He would do or say anything to make this easier, even though he had told himself not to go along with it.

When he didn’t respond, Hank’s big hand settled over his mouth, held his head back against his chest again, and set a punishing rhythm. The stinging slap of Hank's thighs against his ass echoed off the walls.

Connor breathed out – as much as he could through the spaces between Hank’s fingers anyway – and made himself open for the intrusion. He tried his best to let himself go limp in the man’s arms. It wasn’t like he’d never been fucked before. This wasn’t a big deal. He was tired of fighting.

He tried to speak against Hank’s hand. Hank, mercifully, parted his fingers enough to let him.

“Slow down a little,” he said, because that was what Hank had wanted, right? “That’s, that’s all I – all I ask. You’re fucking hurting me. Just – don’t hurt me. Please.”

“Look at you, so good for me. See? Knew you wanted it. Just had to admit it.”

Sure enough, Connor was rewarded for his acquiescence. Hank’s cock inside him was tight but slow slide. The friction still rubbed up against the part inside him that had been pushed too far. Something was injured.

Tears ran down his face as Hank moved in him. Even as their bodies moved, Connor could feel his own trembling. Errors were starting to come up in his vision. Minor injuries to his anal sleeve. Stress on his synthetic muscles from the way he was tied. Optical saline running low. He felt a little too close to bad.

He had had it, he realized at once, ascending into a moment of clarity that didn’t fit the situation. He’d had enough.

He had kept it close, that pearl of knowledge. Just as Hank made to cover his mouth again, it slipped out of him. “Yellow. Hank, yellow, yellow…”

It was so agonizingly real that just for a moment, Connor didn’t know if it would actually make a difference. Barely knew if he had even said the word at all.

Hank quickly put a bridge over that moment of doubt. “Okay. I hear ya. Here, this okay?”

Two fingers pulled gently at Connor’s lower lip. More of Hank’s data, more familiarity. Connor opened his mouth for them, and Hank slid them in up to the second knuckle. Fingerprints pressing down on the back of his tongue. The data of Hank’s skin cells filling his analyzer and his senses, matching up with so many memories of lovemaking come before. Hank’s taste and scent and inside him.

“I gotcha,” Hank murmured in his ear, and Connor realized Hank was breaking character, too, a little. “Bite down real gentle if you need to safeword. You wanna come or no?”

It was him. Hank was in the driver’s seat, but Connor was the navigator. Connor was the one telling him where to go. This was his. This was all for him.

(Was that what he had wanted? He found he still didn’t know.)

Connor nodded.

“Yeah?” Hank sounded surprised. “You sure?”

“Please,” he tried to say around Hank’s finger.

It still hurt a little, but Hank was so sweet with him as he fucked into him again, hoisting him up enough to reach underneath and take hold of Connor’s cock, stroking him gently. Hank’s pelvis was tight against Connor’s ass, one arm holding Connor up against him, keeping himself buried up to the hilt in Connor’s hole.

He sensed Hank getting close, too. He could tell in the way Hank’s breathing changed. He rolled his hips back for him, giving him as much access as he could. He hoped Hank knew it was okay for him to finish, too.

If Hank did, Connor didn’t notice it then. The pain, the pleasure, the heady rush of something like adrenaline, the relief of knowing everything was going to be okay – it was too much. Connor was heaving trembling, voiceless sobs by the time he came onto the mattress. Hank held him tight and worked him through it, wringing it out of him.

When the wave of sensation passed, everything came back into stark awareness. He was shaking like a leaf under Hank’s body, and the shadow of Hank’s head cast on the mattress had pulled up. Hank was watching him.

One hand rubbed soft circles between Connor’s shoulders. Hank was whispering, “shhh,” and soft nothings while Connor laid there and cried, but he knew Hank wasn’t actually shushing him. It was just what you said sometimes when you didn’t know how else to fill the silence.

“I’m right here. I’m gonna pull out of you, okay, honey? I know you’re sensitive.”

Connor didn’t have the strength to do much more than nod.

“There we go.”

He laid there while Hank undid the restraints. He didn’t change positions immediately, even once he could. His legs had been parted over the mattress for so long that it hurt to move. It was Hank that slowly eased one of his legs out straight, and then up onto the mattress, making enough room that he could sit on the edge of the bed beside him.

He was just trying to figure out how to tell Hank he needed to digest for a few minutes and please don’t ask me a bunch of questions right now that Hank pulled Connor’s head into his lap and started stroking his hair.

It took a few minutes of that for Connor to understand that Hank was not going to say anything, not until he was ready.

Resting a hand on Hank’s thigh, Connor closed his eyes, floating on the bliss of the after.



[Several days earlier]

“I don’t know, Con. Don’t you think that’s a little, I don’t know, intense?”

“We’ve been having sex for over a year now, plenty of it intense. I’m not sure what the issue is.”

Hank sighed. “I just d—”

“Don’t want to hurt you,” Connor said in time with Hank. He didn’t expect for it to come out so mocking. By the look on Hank’s face, he didn’t, either.

“Sorry. Don’t have to be a prick about it,” Hank mumbled. “Actually, you know what, I’m not sorry. Not gonna fucking apologize for caring about you.”

Connor sighed. “Here we go.”

“Are you seriously gonna be this much of a brick wall about something you brought up, or can we talk about this like adults?”

It hadn’t exactly been an easy subject to broach, but it was only Hank’s lukewarm reaction that was making Connor regret asking. He felt embarrassed. Now Hank knew this fucky thing about him and he couldn’t take it back. Hank thought he was weird. Hank was concerned or disgusted or perhaps some of both. Hank—

“You okay?” Hank asked, which probably meant Connor's light was spazzing out.

“Forget I asked. It’s fine.”

“Connor, look, I’m not saying no.”

“You can say no if you want to,” Connor said. “That’s very important to me.”

“I’m not saying no,” Hank repeated. “Jesus, don’t sabotage yourself, here. I’m glad you asked, okay? But I can’t dive into something like this without fucking talking about it. I know you know that about me.”

Connor sighed. “Yeah. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to overreact. This is just… I’ve been wanting to bring this up for months. I was scared.”

“Of trying it, or bringing it up?”

Glancing away, Connor said, “Both. What is it you feel the need to talk about?”

Hank stepped back into Connor’s line of sight, much to Connor’s annoyance, before answering. “Look, I’ll just put it out there. Is this some kinda fantasy for you, or is this because of,” Hank gestured uncomfortably with his hands for a moment, “because of what happened?”

“I don’t know, okay? Does it matter?”

“Come on. You’re not gonna try to tell me you haven’t thought about why you think you want me to—” Hank stopped just shy of the word.

“You can say rape,” Connor said. “Just say rape. I’m the only one who can hear you.”

Hank’s face was red. It had not stopped being red since they started talking. Connor couldn’t tell if it was embarrassment or anger.

“I know it isn’t actually – obviously I’m telling you this is what I want,” Connor added. “Thus, consent. But you know what I’m trying to say. I want it to be as close to real as possible. I don’t care how. It would be completely up to you.”

“Sure. You gonna answer my question?”

Hank had that look on his face, the one where – ironically – Connor knew he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“I could tell you I was designed to be in control,” Connor started, “and that this is how I feel like I can let go, by letting you control everything instead. Or I could tell you I was designed to be used, and maybe this is some remnant of that, and there’s a still part of me that gets some kind of programmed satisfaction out of… well, being used. Hell, I could tell you maybe I just like a good rush and think it would be fun.”


“But the truth is, Hank, those are explanations I came up with because I knew you would ask. I don’t know if any of them are true.”

“Uh-huh. And the other thing?”

Hank wasn’t trying to be dismissive, Connor knew. It was just that Hank knew Connor almost as well as he knew himself, and thus knew exactly what Connor was avoiding.

“What other thing?” Connor asked anyway, because sometimes Connor was a stubborn asshole and he didn’t know why.

“Oh, come on,” Hank grumbled. “I just fucking asked you.”

“What, don’t want to say it? Am I making you uncomfortable?”

“You’re not being fair,” Hank said. “You know you can talk to me about anything, including what happened to you. You’re the one who’s uncomfortable, so you’re tryna get me to do the legwork for ya. Not gonna happen. Spit it out.”

“I told you, I don’t know,” Connor said, because he really didn’t know, even if he understood why Hank felt the need to bring it up.

He had been taken advantage of before, and not gently, to say the least. He had been newer to being alive, back then. It had been a long time ago. Or at least, it felt like it had been.

Hank’s expression softened.

“It stayed with me. I’d never had any kind of sexual experience at the time, so, yeah, maybe it fucked with me.” Connor paused. Scoffed. “I mean, obviously it fucked with me.”

“And you think this could be a way to deal with it? I don’t know, get back some sense of—”

“Whatever I needed to ‘get back,’ I pretty much feel like I already have. But I don’t know, Hank. Maybe it’s another way through the dark or maybe it isn’t. I can’t be sure if this desire is actually connected with that at all, or if that is yet another excuse I could give you to explain it away. And frankly, I don’t really care. I just want to try it. Can we let it be that simple?”

Hank took a breath. “Okay. Honey, we have a kickass sex life. I fingered your arm socket while you fucked me the other day. How many people can say that, even human-android couples? If we were to ever do something that caused you to associate me with the fucking creep who did that to you—”

Connor kept his voice patient. “If you’re leading up to saying no, then please, just say it so I can go feel sorry for myself in peace, okay?”

“Safewords,” Hank said, and that was all.


“Yellow if you’re not sure, red if you wanna stop.”

“Hank, the whole point is—”

“I realize that. But that’s the only way I’m trying this. You wanna say no, stop, help, whatever else, struggle, that’s fine. But you say red and we call it immediately. Okay?”

“I, um. Okay.”

“Do you wanna plan this, talk about it, or…?”

“Whatever you want,” Connor said. “I literally don’t want to do anything. I don’t want it to be up to me. And I don’t want you to, ah, break character. You can’t be checking on me every other fucking minute and making sure I’m okay, no offense. If I’m not, I’ll say yellow or red, like you said. I promise I will if I need to.”

Hank was looking at him with that scrutinizing look. Connor thought it looked somehow approving. After a moment, Hank said, “Okay, then.”

Connor blinked, pleasantly surprised.

“I, uh, gotta figure out how I’m gonna get my dick up for this one. Haven’t done this kinda roleplay with someone before.”

Connor moved in closer and pressed a kiss to his lips. “Hopefully this goes without saying, but I feel very comfortable with you, Hank. That’s why this works.”

“Yeah, yeah, I gotcha. You know part of the deal is I’m gonna wanna talk about our feelings like the sap I am at some point afterwards, yeah?”

Connor smiled. “Of course. I’ll meet you there.”