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ghibli tears

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He left for an hour. Less, even. Just enough time to pop over to the corner store and pick up a six-pack and a microwave pizza. He'd left Connor and Sumo home alone before without coming home to a disaster plenty of times; how bad could things go in 45 minutes, tops?

But, when he pulled up in the driveway, the front door was wide open. Horrific images of blue-soaked couches and missing limbs flashed through his mind, and he had to shake his head hard before he was ready to grab his shit and walk inside the house and face whatever had happened.

Honestly, he kinda wished it had been murder. That probably would've been easier.

Connor was... crying? Objectively, he knew that was a thing androids were more than perfectly capable of doing; he'd seen plenty of androids shed a tear or two, or twelve. But... Connor? No, even at the toughest moments, he'd never even looked close to crying. So, maybe that was why it was all...

There were words that people always used to describe tears that, to Hank, never really seemed to fit with what you actually got. They welled in your eyes. They streamed down your cheeks. But, with Connor, they seemed to actually be doing that. He'd be shocked if he could even see through the puddles forming on each cheekbone. The front of his shirt was soaked through, and the tears just seemed to keep coming, an endless torrent from tightly closed eyes.

He dropped the bags at his side, not caring about the dangerous clank of glass bottles against floor. "Jesus, Connor, what the fuck happened?"

"I-I..." He stuttered, sharply; the equivalent of a hiccup for someone who doesn't breathe. "He was, he was just... And then... I..."

He glanced up at Hank for the first time, only for his features to scrunch up in grief before he put his head in his hands. It was only then he noticed he was carrying Sumo's leash.

He didn't... know what to do. He'd never been good with crying people; his divorce hadn't happened for no reason. He wasn't a man designed to comfort, he couldn't even manage to give himself that, but, fuck. He loved this kid. He'd figure it out.

"Easy, now..." Softer tone, lower voice. Moving over to him slowly, gently removing the hands from his face and replacing them with his own. He wiped at a tear with his thumb, only to have it run over, like a stone in a creek. "Now, just tell me what happened. Take your time. I'm not going anywhere."

"Sumo's gone!" The words sounded as if they'd been ripped from his chest. "I was going to take him for a walk, while you were out, but when I opened the front door... He ran! He'd never run before! I tried to catch him, but he seemed to-- And he just-- I'm so--"

"Shh." He closed his eyes, pressing his forehead against Connor's own. "Connor, it's not your fault. Sumo likes to wander around the neighborhood sometimes. You just caught him in a wandering mood today, that's all."

"I looked all over! I couldn't find him!"

"Because you don't know where to look. If he doesn't come home in a half hour-- and he usually does, he's not that adventurous-- we'll go look together. He's either going through the Patels' garbage-- they never lock it right, the idiots-- or he's off visiting his little boxer girlfriend a few blocks over. And even if he went farther, he always finds his way home."

An odd noise, like a sniff; he can't imagine the function of it. "Does he?" he asked, looking up at him with such piteous, watery eyes that he couldn't hold himself back any longer, and he found himself kissing the tears away the best he could, planting tiny pecks at the corner of his eyes, at the dusting of freckles on his cheeks, before drawing him into a tight hug.

"Yeah," he said. "Always."

They stayed like that for a while, nothing but the sound of Connor's wildly thumping thirium pump slowly matching the steady beat of Hank's heart.

"I'm sorry about this," he said, voice barely above a murmur. "This is very embarrassing."

He gripped him tighter. ".... There's these... movies, I watched as a kid. Japanese cartoons. Kid movies, but you never really stop liking them, even after you grow up. The style was exaggerated, but somehow always realer than real life. The food was like something you'd dream up, the trees like they seem when you're a little kid looking up from the roots... And tears always looked the way crying felt. Messy and overwhelming. Like somebody turned faucets on behind your eyes."

"... Lieutenant, I don't understand--"

"That's kinda how you cry, is what I mean. It reminds me of that."

"I'm sorry."

"What? No, don't be. It's good memories. For once."

"Oh." Connor backed away slightly, blinking hard hard; the tears had abated, leaving shining trails down his cheeks as the only evidence that they had ever been there. "I'm glad, then."

There was the sound of soft footfalls behind them, and they turned to see Sumo, bold as brass, trotting into the living room.

"See, I told you, he always finds his way- Sumo, what the fuck do you have in your mouth?!"

Connor cocked his head to the side. "It appears to be a pigeon," he said.

"Great, fucking great. Do I own a cat now? Why the hell--"

"Lieutenant!"

"What?"

"The pigeon isn't dead!"

"Jesus fucking Christ--"