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the differences we face

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Connor is a weird kid. Hank decides this one weekend, while they’re eating lunch. Hank is watching the way that Connor sways back and forth like he’s in a rocking chair. He blinks in an unnatural way and rolls his shoulders back and forth, restlessly. “Are you nervous about this case,” Hank questions while putting his plate into the sink. “Hmm? Not particularly. Why,” Connor responds while avoiding Hank’s eyes. He had always done that, especially when he was stressed. “No… nevermind,” Hank mutters while he watches his partner rock carelessly.

The next day, after work, Hank catches Connor lurching forwards before leaning back on his heels while waiting for him to finish up his paperwork. He understands that he’s seen Connor do simple quirky things like this before but had never questioned it. There was just something so familiar about it. He makes the mental note to ask if it’s part of his programming, a way to seem more human.

Hank really should have expected it. The signs were always there but it’s still so strange. ‘This shouldn’t even be possible in androids, right’ he thinks as he watches Connor sit in a ball, curled up on the floor. He’s covering his ears, shivering, and humming. Hank had seen the same things in his son, his first son, when he was still growing up. He takes a deep breath and decides that it will probably be fine if he handles it the same.

Connor tenses when Hank sits next to him on the floor and asks, “Hey Con.. you doin' alright over here?” Hank watches as Connor manages to look up at him and offer a small smile. “Mmm…’s loud,” When Connor’s voice comes out it’s shakier than his usual tone. Hank looks around and notices the air conditioner blasting out cool winds. He stands up and turns it off then looks back to Connor for approval. Connor looks uncertain but Hank gives a thumbs up and mutters out, “It was getting too chilly in this shit pit anyways.” This remark makes Connor smile and uncover his ears. However, he flinches and covers them back up. “It’s alright. Take your time son,” Hank comforts while sitting back besides him.

After a while of sitting in silence, Connor finally tries once more to uncover his ears. This time, Hank waits as he tests out making noises to see what he can handle. “I apologize, there must have been an error in my audio processor,” the android whispers with a hint of shame in his voice. Hank scowls to himself and holds his hand out, waiting for Connor’s approval for physical contact. Connor tilts his head before nodding it, causing Hank to rub at the top of his head. “You don’t gotta apologize. Shit happens. We can talk about it later if you want,” the man states, trying to mask his worry. Connor simply smiles and gives a thumbs up of his own.