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February 27th 2039

Logically, Connor should have noticed something was different after the moment of his deviancy, after he consciously chose not to shoot Markus, but he truly didn’t notice it until months later, as he watched, in absolute interest, as Hank typed something on his computer across from him at his desk.

His attention was more specifically on his hands as they moved diligently over his keyboard. One of them shifted to wrap around his coffee cup, his fingers curling around its base as he lifted it up to his lips. It was a vanilla latte Connor had picked up himself, the lieutenant having given him no specifications for the type of drink. He seemed to like it though, his hand tipping up and his Adam’s apple bobbing as he downed it easily.

Connor tilted his head, his eyes gliding over each of Hank’s fingers resting against it. Comparatively, his hands were bigger than Connor’s. Granted, he was generally larger and taller in relation to him but it was in his hands that Connor noticed the difference the most. His fingers spanned wide, each thick and calloused. His palms were just as large and they’d spread comfortably over Connor’s shoulder whenever he’d give him a friendly pat or shove.

Connor found that he liked them.

For some reason that wasn’t analytical. 

He liked the feel of them through his clothes as Hank guided him somewhere, his fingers curling around his elbow or his hand settling at the small of his back. He liked the way they felt whenever Hank would ruffle his hair and the way they curved around the nape of his neck when he’d tug him in for a quick hug.

Connor tilted his head, watching as Hank’s fingers shifted against the cup, his index finger twitching up a millimeter. He lowered it halfway and made a sound, a soft ‘hm’. A quick glance told Connor that he was reacting to something he had seen on his screen, his brows pulling together in thought. He returned the cup to his desk, one of his fingers lingering on its lid as it slowly traced its edge.

Connor followed the motion with his eyes. His processors reorganized themselves to let him focus on it intently, his mind only giving mild attention to the report he was supposed to be filing.

Idly, Connor imagined those fingers spreading out over his right knee, Hank’s palm settling heavily against his thigh. He imagined it slowly drifting up, sliding further and further up until it shifted to curl around his waist, Hank’s thumb pressing against his pelvis.

Warning.

Software Instability Detected.

Thirium Pump Error Detected.

System Processor Error Detected.

Temperature Stabilizer Error Detected.    

Connor ignored the messages—something he tended to do more often after deviating—in favor of watching Hank’s hand bring the cup back up to his lips. An increase in internal temperature and a slow down in his processors was noted by his software diagnostics but Connor was too distracted by Hank’s pinkie finger curving beneath the cup to notice.

Hank brought the coffee back down but he seemed to pause the movement, his hand hovering inches over the desk. He moved the cup left and right sharply, Connor’s eyes following the motion. He did it again and out of curiosity Connor raised his gaze up to Hank’s face only to see the man frowning at him.

“What, Connor?” Hank asked in exasperation, placing the cup back down. “Is there something in my coffee that I should know about?”

“No,” he replied swiftly, blinking three times to clear the messages piling up in his vision. “Only one and a half shots of espresso, milk and two pumps of vanilla syrup.”  

“Uh-huh, so why were you staring at it like it was going to explode?”

Connor sat there for a moment, his mind trying to form an answer. He supposed he could tell the truth and inform the lieutenant of what he had really been staring at. The truth always seemed to be the best course of action when dealing with Hank but something stopped him, some odd feeling that made him hesitate, made him feel an odd sort of warmth. He was lucky he was able to control his facial expressions because he would have been frowning at himself rather deeply.

“I want to try it,” he said instead.

Hank’s brows rose, his forehead creasing with the action. “You want…to try my coffee?”

“Yes.”

“You know, you could have just used your words. We both speak English,” he replied, leaning forward and handing Connor the cup.

He curled his fingers around it, mimicking the way he had seen Hank do it. He registered its temperature as warm, akin to how Hank’s touch felt. It wasn’t the same but it was close. After staring at it longer than he needed to, Connor tipped it up and let a few drops reach his tongue. He registered a number of things from the drink’s calorie count to its exact temperature to its sugar content—only one pump of vanilla next time—to the amount of caffeine and to the tiniest of ingredients. He also managed to note Hank’s cholesterol—still a little too high—and his BAC—0.0.

Its taste was rather trivial and inconsequential, his system only really identifying the drink as a simple vanilla latte but at the way Hank was staring at him he said, “It tastes alright.”

He handed the coffee back and, in the process, his and Hank’s fingers overlapped briefly before the lieutenant leaned back in his seat. A faint tingling radiated from where they touched and Connor’s lips parted in response as he straightened up.

“Guess lattes aren’t your thing, Connor,” Hank said, smirking as he raised the coffee back up to his mouth. “I better not get an android disease from this.”

“Androids don’t—”

“Joking,” Hank interrupted before taking another sip.

Connor watched Hank’s finger twitch again, another error popping up in his vision.

 

March 3rd 2039

The next time it happened, they were at home watching a bunch of old movies Hank had insisted on showing him. The only light came from the TV, illuminating the couch and leaving the rest of the house in shadow. Sumo was lounging somewhere in the darkness, his soft pants and heavy breaths heard somewhere behind him. He and Hank were situated on the couch, the latter’s feet perched on the coffee table.

Hank had fallen asleep at some point during the second movie and out of curiosity and the fact that he had nothing else to do, Connor turned to look at him. His head was tilted off to the side, drooping forward a little. One of his arms was perched on the left armrest, his other stretched out on the back of the couch.

Connor let his eyes wander up Hank’s chest, over the Knights of the Black Death logo on his shirt, up to his neck and then over his shoulder and down his arm, his eyes pausing at the hand closest to him.

Warning.

Connor felt an urge, a desire pop into his mind. He wanted to touch Hank but his processors and programming couldn’t find a reason for it or where the sudden objective came from.

Software Instability Detected.

Connor’s gaze flickered away briefly before he shifted until he was sideways on the couch, his knees tucked beneath him, his body towards Hank. He leaned forward and held his hand up. He hesitated, his hand hovering in the air, before he placed it over Hank’s heart, half-covering the logo on his shirt. He could feel its strong beats, its rhythm steady and firm. It was thumping at 64 beats per minute, a healthy pace for the average human.

He didn’t need to touch Hank to know that information. He supposed that he simply just wanted to. Offhandedly, he noticed that he was starting to want a lot of things recently. Most of them seemed to have something to do with Hank.  

Connor’s gaze drifted up to Hank’s face and he gently slid his hand up until it curved around his neck.

Thirium Pump Error Detected.

Hank’s head shifted in his sleep and Connor froze. Hank murmured something incoherent, something that could barely even be counted as a word, before settling back down against the couch. Connor let out a breath he didn’t need and waited a moment to make sure Hank was still asleep. His thumb skimmed cautiously over the man’s beard, its rough texture bringing a shiver to a spine that wasn’t supposed to shiver.

Connor wanted to do something. He just didn’t know what.

He curled a finger around Hank’s ear, tucking a few strands of hair behind it. Behind him, on the TV, a man and a woman were staring at each other, a sunset framing their bodies. Connor looked over his shoulder at them, watching as the man brushed the back of his hand against the woman’s cheek. She smiled and moved closer, bringing her own hands up to his neck. They kissed, the camera panning around them to get as many angles as possible.

Connor turned back around, his brows drawing together. Was that what he wanted to do?

That was something people tended to do awake and fully conscious of each other. What he was doing now was either bordering on or already was what Hank would call ‘creepy’. He was really only doing this while Hank was asleep because he was afraid of his reaction if he asked him if he could do this while he was awake.

Connor moved his hand across Hank’s collarbone, watching as his fingers rose and fell over it. He started sliding it down his shoulder but stopped, his gaze flickering back up to Hank’s face. He leaned closer, his eyes never leaving Hank’s as he pressed his lips to his cheek.  

System Processor Error Detected.

Temperature Stabilizer Error Detected.    

A warmth bubbled up from somewhere deep within Connor, like a vibration thrumming throughout his body. He liked it, whatever it was. And he liked this, the feeling of his lips against Hank’s skin, the heat of Hank’s body beneath his palm.

Connor leaned back until he was sitting on his heels, his eyes on his hand as it skimmed down Hank’s arm.  He let his fingers follow the trail of his veins, their color faint against the harsh light of the TV screen. He shifted so that their hands were parallel to each other, his fingers drifting over Hank’s palm before spreading out over each respective digit.

To androids, this was an intimate way to share memories and information. Connor had seen Simon and Markus do it a few times, a starry-eyed expression on their faces each and every time.  But Hank was a human. All this really did was connect their hands physically. Hank’s mind would remain a mystery to him but Connor didn’t find that unsettling. Hank surprised him sometimes in incredible and wonderful ways.

Connor gently cradled Hank’s hand. He lifted it up and pressed Hank’s palm to his cheek, his eyes fluttering shut. There was that warmth again and the errors that came with it. He ran a quick diagnostic and found no virus nor glitch in his system. He pushed further into Hank’s palm and almost sighed. Why on earth did he want to sigh?

He wanted to ask someone if they knew what was going on with him but he didn’t know how to explain it. He really didn’t have much to go by. 

Connor bit his lip, a habit he had picked up from Hank. Maybe that was why he wanted to sigh.

His mind, almost involuntarily, conjured up an image of Hank, completely awake, sitting between his open legs on the couch. He imagined Hank’s hand move from where it was on his cheek to drag down his chest, his palm hot and heavy. It drifted lower and lower, lingering over his thirium pump briefly before continuing down.

Involuntary Heat Increase Detected.

Hank’s thumb twitched and Connor opened his eyes to look at him. He was still asleep, his chest rising and falling slowly. Connor allowed his systems to sync up with it, his own chest mimicking the motions.

Suddenly, Sumo barked loudly, the sound cracking into the air. Caught off guard, Connor almost jumped, his entire programming acting as if there was a threat somewhere. He quickly deactivated his defensive protocols, his head turning to look into the darkness. Hank was jostled awake by the sound, his body jerking out of sleep. Connor hurriedly dropped Hank’s hand and scooted away from him a little on the couch.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Hank said roughly, rubbing at his eyes. “What the fuck just happened?”

Connor turned to face the back of the couch and scanned around until he found Sumo sitting up in the kitchen by the table.

“I think Sumo woke himself up,” he replied, looking at Hank again.

“He sure as hell woke me up,” Hank mumbled, taking his feet off the coffee table. “What time is it, anyway?”

“12:17 in the morning.”

“Wonderful.”

Hank stood up stiffly and stretched his back out, his arms extending high above his head. Connor watched his shirt slide up.

Thirium Pump Error Detected.

System Processor Error Detected.

Temperature Stabilizer Error Detected.    

“Guess this is as good a time as any to go sleep somewhere more comfortable,” Hank yawned, his hands dropping back down. “Night, Connor.”

“Good night, Hank,” he said automatically, his eyes following the man’s silhouette as he went around the couch and towards his bedroom.

However, Hank stopped just before entering the hallway. He turned and glanced at Connor over his shoulder, his brows drawn downward into a frown—heartrate 76 bpm.

Before Connor could ask if something was wrong, Hank whistled and said, “Sumo, go get him.”

Sumo bounced to his feet excitedly and scurried across the floor, hopping onto the couch and clambering over Connor’s lap. Connor’s lips twitched into a smile and he buried his hand into the dog’s fur as Sumo nuzzled at his face. He heard the bedroom door open and close and when he turned back around, Hank was gone.

 

March 13th 2039

Connor idled with Sumo as they waited for Hank to catch up. They had decided—well—Connor had decided, mostly, that they should take a walk in the park. The exercise would be good for the lieutenant and it wasn’t like they had been doing anything else. It was a Saturday and one of the few days they weren’t bogged down by cases in the wake of the android revolution. And it was one of the first days in the season that was warm enough for people to enjoy the weather at a mild 52 degrees.

Androids and humans alike were meandering in the park, either keeping to themselves, grouping together, or tailing after rowdy children. Ever since the revolution, more android/human pairs had begun to emerge and be seen in public. Connor supposed they were feeling encouraged by the peace talks and the new laws being written recognizing androids as individuals with rights.

Connor’s eyes lingered over an android and a human lounging in the grass beneath the shade of a tree. The android was an AP700 with pale skin and dark hair and the human was a young man with dark skin and burgundy hair. They were leaning against one another, their hands clasped together. They were gazing at each other with that same starry-eyed expression he’d seen on Markus and Simon when they were looking at each other. Connor would compare it to a face a human would make if they were trying to stay awake, their eyes half-lidded, their lips parted. The only difference was that they’d be smiling or staring with complete and utter clarity.

Connor watched the human place one of his hands on the android’s back, somewhere in the middle between where her shoulder blades would have been. He slid it lower until it settled at the small of her back, their heads pressing together.

There was that warmth again, spreading throughout Connor’s body. But it felt a little different, like it was lacking something, like a part of him was empty and it needed something to fill it.

Sumo tugged on his leash suddenly and Connor looked down at him to see him trying to lead him somewhere. Connor followed his gaze to see Hank walking towards them. He let go of the leash to let Sumo bounce over to him and Hank knelt down to scratch at his face, a smile coming to his lips.

Software Instability Detected.

Temperature Stabilizer Error Detected.    

Involuntary Heat Increase Detected.    

Corrective Actions Recommended.

Connor stepped over to the two and Hank glanced up at him as he said, “It took fucking forever to find a parking spot. It’s the first day in months that’s above 30 degrees and everyone’s freaking out.”

“It is almost spring, Hank,” he replied.

Hank grunted in response and stood up, Sumo’s leash in hand. “Yeah and that means it’s almost summer too. I’m already sweating.”

A cursory scan of Hank told Connor that he wasn’t but he assumed that was a joke so he didn’t say anything. After a few months around the man, Connor was beginning to understand that Hank often spoke in exaggerations and hyperbole, something that apparently, after researching it, was a common thing among Hank’s age group. Connor didn’t really understand why but he didn’t mind. Sometimes his jokes were really funny. Other times, they were so terrible that Connor had to take a moment to process that Hank had actually said that. However, either way, Connor would receive errors in his software just the same. Once, Hank had said a ridiculously unfunny pun that he accompanied with a dramatic wiggle of his eyebrows and Connor’s system had responded as if he had been set on fire.

The duo wandered aimlessly through the park. They left much of the navigating to Sumo who decided that a straight line was out of the question. Once they reached an open, grassy clearing, Hank unhooked Sumo’s leash and let him run around with some of the other dogs.

“I wish I was that energetic,” Hank sighed as he sat down on a bench. “Maybe I’d clean my house more.”

“Then I’d be out of a job,” Connor said, sitting beside him.

“You’re so funny,” Hank said sarcastically. He leaned back and draped his arm over the back of the bench. His warmth could be registered faintly by the nape of Connor’s neck. “Besides, I told you that you didn’t need to do that stuff for me.”

“I know. But I want to.”

“Fuck knows why.”

“I don’t have anything else to do while you sleep.”

“Well, that’s why you need a hobby,” Hank paused. “Like knitting.”

“Knitting,” he repeated flatly.

“Yeah, like all that crocheting and shit. That shit takes time. You could make a whole shirt or something while I’m asleep.”

“You really want me to knit?”

Hank scoffed. “Hell no. I want you to do whatever you want to do.”

“What if that’s taking care of you?”

“That’s nice and all and I appreciate it but your life can’t revolve around me, Connor. What do you do when I’m not home?”

“If you’re not at home, it’s usually because you’re at work and we work at the same place so I’d be with you regardless. But if you’re out with Captain Fowler or someone else then, I wait for you to get back,” he replied, frowning.

Hank laughed for some reason, the sound more a huff, as if he hadn’t intended to laugh. “Sorry, sorry. That’s not funny. You just sounded like something I used to watch as a kid. But anyway, that’s what I’m talking about. You’re your own person now. You have your own life. You can do whatever you want now.  There’s so much more to the rest of the world than just me.”

“I don’t care about the rest of the world,” Connor said firmly.

Hank looked at him, his brows drawing together. His heartrate was at an accelerated 85 bpm and there was a slight dilation in his pupils. He didn’t say anything for quite some time, the silence being filled by the bark of dogs and the joyous screams of children. Under his intense stare, Connor felt that warmth again but it wasn’t like the one he felt looking at the couple. This was the one reserved only for Hank.

Connor wanted to fidget. He wanted to do something with his hands but all they could do was grip his pants tightly. He felt something else too, something he knew the name of. Frustration. Hank never seemed to understand that Connor would always choose him over everyone else on the planet. He would have given up the entire android revolution if it meant keeping Hank safe from the other RK800. And after the revolt, after they had won, Connor had chosen to return to Hank even though Markus and the others wanted him to help manage negotiations with the humans. Connor wanted to come back to Hank but no matter how many times he told him that, Hank never seemed to really get it.   

Finally, Hank sighed and looked away as he mumbled, “Fucking androids, I swear to Christ.”

Before Connor could say something, someone called his name. He turned his head to see Markus coming towards him, surprisingly, pushing Carl along in front of him.

“Markus?” he said, standing up. “I thought you were still in Washington.”

“I got back a few hours ago. I wanted to spend some time with Carl so we decided to come to the park. I didn’t expect to see you here,” Markus replied, stopping Carl’s wheelchair by the side of the bench.

“You must be the fabled Connor I’ve heard so much about,” Carl said, smiling.

“Hello, it’s very nice to meet you,” Connor said, nodding. “This is Lieutenant Hank Anderson.”

Hank gave a halfhearted wave with the hand dangling over the back of the bench. “You can just call me Hank.”

Markus inclined his head, his brow drawing upward. “So, you’re Lieutenant Anderson. You’re the one who snatched up Connor from me.”

“I’m irresistible, what can I say?” Hank shrugged, his gaze drifting somewhere across the park. Whatever he saw made him straighten up and yell, “Sumo! Get that shit out of your mouth, right now!”

Connor followed his gaze to see the dog in question running around with what appeared to be a dead squirrel.

“I’ll go get him, Hank.”

Connor gave Markus a small smile before moving across the grass to where Sumo was currently chasing other dogs with a deceased animal. At Connor’s approach, Sumo’s attention shifted to him and Sumo wagged his tail excitedly as he jumped around Connor’s legs, dodging every attempt at relinquishing him of his new toy.

“Sumo, you know you shouldn’t have that in your mouth,” Connor said.

Sumo growled and dropped down to the ground, his butt wiggling in the air. Connor took a step towards him only for the dog to jump away again. Frustration found its way back into Connor’s system along with something that made his chest fuzzy, bubbly in a way. It made him smile, whatever it was.

“Sumo,” he said in exasperation.

Usually, dropping down to his level brought Sumo running to him so Connor knelt in the grass and spread his arms out. Sumo perked up instantly, throwing the squirrel to the ground and rushing towards him. Connor braced himself for impact but he still fell back onto the grass once Sumo collided into him, the dog nuzzling at him with incredible enthusiasm. Connor could have sworn he heard Hank laugh from all the way over here but he wasn’t sure. Sumo was being very distracting.

That fuzziness became more apparent the longer Sumo pushed against him and it didn’t leave even as Sumo forced his back to the ground and collapsed on top of him.

Connor sighed and ran his hand over Sumo’s head as he stared up at the sky. Markus came into view above him, an amused smile on his face.

“Having fun, Connor?” he asked.

Connor gently nudged at Sumo’s ribs with his knee and the dog rolled over lazily, his tongue sticking out. Connor stood up and brushed dirt and grass from his pants.

“I’m used to it.”

“I can see that,” Markus said amiably. “You look happy. In general, I mean.”

“I like being with Hank and Sumo,” Connor said, scratching at Sumo’s belly with the toe of his shoe. “I feel…needed.”

“You would have been needed with us if you stayed.”

“I wanted to be somewhere else,” he said, his eyes drawing to Hank. The man seemed to be engrossed in conversation with Carl who had been moved over to Hank’s side of the bench at some point. Carl was holding his arm out and pointing at something, probably one of his tattoos.

Software Instability Detected.

Temperature Stabilizer Error Detected.

Connor frowned as he blinked the messages away. He glanced at Markus who met his gaze with wide, inquisitive eyes.

“For a while, I’ve been feeling things I don’t know how to interpret,” Connor said.

“It’s to be expected. We weren’t designed to feel emotion and deviating from our programming makes us experience a lot of things we weren’t supposed to,” Markus replied, bending down to give Sumo a pat. “Maybe I can help. What are you feeling?”

Connor bit his lip, his eyes dropping down to Sumo. “There’s a kind of fuzziness in my chest every time I look at Sumo. It feels like I’m happy but also a little bit of something else.”

Markus straightened up. “I guess that’s fondness. Or affection. Humans tend to feel that towards people or pets they like.”

“Fondness,” he repeated as Sumo rolled over, landing half over top of Connor’s shoe.

Connor glanced at Hank, that warmth coming back to him. It was different in comparison to fondness, brighter, warmer. It burned more and it felt overwhelming at times. If he could feel pain, Connor would have thought it hurt a little too. There was also something else he felt beneath it, usually when he was staring at Hank’s hands or conjuring up events that involved the man in his head. That one felt hot and electric. It gave him the most errors, much of them pertaining to processing speed and internal temperature.

He watched as Hank’s index finger traced something briefly on Carl’s wrist, both of the men still talking easily between themselves.

Oh, whatever this new feeling was, Connor didn’t like it. It made him feel sick in a way and…angry?

Connor frowned at himself.

“Hey, you okay?” Markus asked.

Connor shook away the feeling and said, “I’m fine.”

“I don’t want to cut this short but I have to take Carl home.”

“Of course,” Connor replied. He pried his foot from under Sumo and started walking back with Markus. He gave a whistle and Sumo slowly trotted after them. “How did your meeting with the president go?”

“It went as expect. She agreed to change some laws but couldn’t promise me that the changes would happen right away. You know, politics.”

“Politics,” Connor agreed.

That was one of the reasons Connor didn’t want to stay with Markus and the others. The political environment was something he was unfamiliar with and one he, in all honesty, didn’t like. He would much rather make a difference in Detroit where he could put bad people behind bars. That was a lot simpler sometimes than talking in circles with someone for several hours only to get nowhere. Granted, that happened sometimes when he and Hank would try to piece together a case that didn’t make sense.

“Now, this one hurt like a bitch,” Carl said, pointing to a tattoo at the bend of his elbow.

“I bet. It looks cool though,” Hank replied, nodding.

“Thanks. I drew it myself.”

At Markus and Connor’s approach, the two men looked up. Sumo ambled over to Hank but when he tried to drop his head on Hank’s lap, the man stood up hurriedly and retreated to Connor’s side.

“Absolutely not. I know what’s been in your mouth. You’re just as bad as this one,” Hank said, jabbing a thumb in Connor’s direction.

Markus held his hand out and said, “Carl and I have to go now. It was a pleasure meeting you, Hank.”

“Same,” he replied, shaking it.

When he leaned back, Connor expected Hank’s hand to return to his side but it, unexpectedly, settled between Connor’s shoulder blades. That wonderful warmth returned with the heat of Hank’s palm and Connor’s system stuttered out warnings as Hank’s hand slowly slid down until it stopped at the small of his back. Connor’s entire body felt as if a shock sparked up and down his spine, the sensation pooling beneath Hank’s fingers.

Software Instability Detected.

Thirium Pump Error Detected.

System Processor Error Detected.

Temperature Stabilizer Error Detected.

Involuntary Heat Increase Detected.

“Keep doing you, old man,” Hank said, holding his fist out to Carl.

“You too,” he replied with a smirk, their hands connecting.

“I’m staying with Carl now, Connor. I’ll give you his address if you ever want to visit,” Markus said, his arm extended.

Connor blinked. He mirrored Markus’ arm and their systems connected as their artificial skins slid away. He was given Carl’s address and with it came a few of Markus’ memories. Interfacing between androids was an easy way to pass information around and it was usually a smooth process but sometimes other pieces of information would slip through. Interfacing opened up another android to the entirety of another’s system so it wasn’t uncommon for things like that to happen.

Connor saw flashes of Carl in his bed, of Markus barely alive in a junkyard, of Markus standing before thousands of androids, and of him sitting in front of the president. He even saw a few glimpses of Simon, from what looked like their first meeting to a recent kiss.

Connor and Markus stopped interfacing and, judging by the expression on Markus’ face, he had seen some of Connor’s memories as well. There was a touch of amusement in his eyes as they darted to Hank briefly and Connor felt a different brand of warmth this time. This was the type that made him hesitate.

He glanced at Hank who was, for some reason, staring at their arms as they pulled away from each other, Connor’s skin sliding back over his white exoskeleton. Hank’s hand fell away from his back and drew up to rub at his neck. Connor instantly missed the contact.

“You can come over anytime,” Markus said, smiling. “You’re always welcome especially if you have any questions.”

“It was nice to meet you, kid,” Carl said with a nod.

Markus wheeled Carl away and Connor watched them go, his gaze fixed on Markus’ back. Something hitting against his chest drew his attention and he looked down to see Sumo’s leash pressed against his shirt by Hank’s hand. He took it automatically, his eyes drawing up to Hank’s face.

“I’m not going anywhere near that dog’s mouth for a whole week,” Hank said.

“Comparatively, a dog’s mouth is cleaner than—”

“Don’t care. Let’s go get some food.”

 

March 17th 2039

Connor came into the precinct just as Hank left Captain Fowler’s office. Their eyes met and Hank gave an exaggerated roll of his eyes before he sat down at his desk. Connor went around it to sit on top of it, his fingers tapping absently against the coffee he was holding.

“The captain wanted to see you?” he said.

Hank turned his chair to face him. “Yeah, apparently some bystander had an issue with you being at the last crime scene we were at. Something about some anti-android BS. Jerkoff complained about it to Fowler.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah but Fowler pretty much told him to fuck off.”

“He did?”

“Of course. Everyone here knows how good of a detective you are, human or not. Even Dipshit Reed over there.”

There was that fondness again. And maybe a bit of surprise.

“Glad the guy didn’t say anything to me because I would have broken his nose and both of his hands,” Hank said casually. His eyes drifted down to the coffee in Connor’s hand and he held it out to him. He took it, their fingers touching briefly, and Hank gave him a tiny smirk.

Software Instability Detected.

Temperature Stabilizer Error Detected.

Involuntary Heat Increase Detected.

“It’s a peppermint mocha,” Connor said, blinking.

“Peppermint? Why are you hitting me with a Christmas flavor in March? Little late, Connor,” Hank scoffed, taking a sip of it.

“I just felt like it,” he replied, shrugging.

“Deviants,” Hank mumbled into his coffee.

Connor watched as Hank’s hand tilted back to shift the cup, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed. Connor almost brought his own hand up to press his fingers against it, feel it move up and down. He wanted Hank’s hand somewhere on his body, his thigh, his knee, his shoulder, anywhere. He wanted Hank’s hands all over him, touching and sliding over every inch of him. He wanted to feel the heat of his palms between his legs, on his stomach, and, most of all, he wanted those fingers in his mouth. He wanted to taste them with his tongue.  

In the back of his throat, Connor made a sound, an honest to god sound and it startled him so much that he froze. Hank seemed just as surprised, his coffee hanging in the air inches from his lips.

“Was that you?” he asked, placing the cup down.

The warmth of hesitation returned and Connor swallowed thickly before saying, “Yes.”

“Jesus, I didn’t even know androids could do that,” Hank laughed. “You learn something new every day.”

Connor frowned at himself. There was a growing heat spreading throughout his body, like he was itching all over.

“You alright, Connor?” Hank asked, knocking Connor’s foot with his knee. “Your thing’s spinning yellow.”

“I’m fine,” he replied.

Hank narrowed his eyes at him, his head tilting slightly to the left. Connor had come to catalogue that as Hank’s ‘analyzing’ face. If he were an android, Hank would have been scanning him but since he wasn’t, Connor supposed that he had to use his skills as a detective instead. Luckily, Hank’s right brow wasn’t raised. If it was, the face would shift into an ‘I don’t believe a word you just said’.

“How’d your appointment go or whatever the hell it was?” Hank asked, leaning back in his seat.

“It went as expected. It was a simple routine check. No problems detected,” he replied.

Connor wasn’t technically lying. He and Hank had to come to the precinct at separate times because Connor had an appointment with Cyberlife that was an actual wellness check. Physically, he was fine. However, they noticed errors in his code that were, apparently, normal for androids now that the majority of them had deviated. Cyberlife had offered to tinker with them but he refused. Even Simon, who had gone with him because he asked him to, had said he had them too.  

Captain Fowler chose that moment to poke his head out of his office to say, “Anderson! Connor! In my office, now.”

Connor gave him a nod and he turned back to Hank who was still staring at him. He raised his brow—well, shit—but ultimately shrugged.

He stood up, coffee in hand, and said, “He’s probably going to tell you what I already told you.”

Turned out, it was a doubleheader. Fowler detailed to them both the complaint against Connor that he metaphorically thrown out the window and a new case at Eden Club.

Ever since the revolution, Eden Club received a major structural revamp both in management and business. Management shifted to strictly androids and all of the androids were given the option to leave. Some decided to stay, stating that some of them had good clientele and that they actually liked what they did. Every android was given a lump sum of money to pay for their own housing and have a jumpstart in living life as a free person. A salary was also given to the androids that chose to stay and management even opened up the option of employment for humans.   

Now strictly a strip club, Eden Club has begun reserving the rooms they used to use for sex for private dances and the like. However, apparently, a man has taken to requesting private dances from various androids only to strangle and kill them at some point during the session.  

As Connor stepped out of Hank’s car in front of the club, he chewed on his bottom lip absently. He knew that android related crimes would never go away but the thought didn’t keep him from being unsettled by them. That was a feeling he knew intimately with this career. It was akin to fear yet hollower in a way, distant, like someone was staring at his back from the other end of a hallway.  

Hank rounded the car and his gaze flickered from Connor’s eyes to something just beneath them. It had happened so fast that Connor almost didn’t catch it. Had he not been an android, he probably wouldn’t have.

“Hey, Hank,” Ben said. “Hey, Connor.”

“Hello,” he replied.

“I think I’ve got an easy one for you,” Ben said as he spun on his heel and entered the club.

“Doubt it,” Hank scoffed.

“So, we’ve been getting separate reports from some of the androids and humans here about some guy requesting private dances from the girls. They go in, a few minutes go by, and he leaves. When the girls don’t check in with the others, some of the girls go check on them and they find them dead. This one happened about an hour ago.”

“Sounds like he’s done this multiple times. Why are we only hearing about this now?” Hank asked as they stopped at one of the rooms. Police tape covered the door and other officers lingered at its entrance.

“It’s a backlog issue. After the android revolution and after androids got the same rights as us, a bunch of reports were filed against their masters on abuse and other crimes that were punishable now. It was hard to organize everything so some of the cases got pushed aside until we could figure out how to handle everything.”

“So, you forgot about it until it happened again,” Hank said, rolling his eyes. “Nice job.”

As Hank continued speaking to Ben, Connor stepped into the room. It was similar to the one they had been in when they were still trying to catch deviants. A bed sat at its center covered in rumpled burgundy bedsheets. Beside it on the ground was a female android with dark hair and dark skin. Her eyes were still open, her mouth hanging wide.

With a cursory scan of the room, Connor found nothing of importance. He knelt next to the Traci and looked her over—WR400, registered name Charlotte—and his system pinged that hers had overloaded somehow, her processors and software showing severe strain. There was no blue blood to be seen nor damaging marks on her neck.

Hank stepped into the room, the door sliding open and closed. “See anything, Connor?”

“I don’t know yet,” he replied, tilting his head. “Did Ben give you anything useful?”

“There’s an eyewitness. One of the girls he asked for managed to survive. Wanna go talk to her?”

“In a moment,” he said, his hand pressing against Charlotte’s stomach. “This android’s name is Charlotte. She seems to have short circuited.”

“Short circuited?” Hank asked, moving up behind him. “That can happen to you guys?”

“If our processors can’t keep up with what’s happening to our bodies, then our system can overload and we short circuit in a way that’s a little different than an ordinary machine. Our system blacks out briefly and resets.”

“So, you pass out.”

“Yes, we pass out. But Charlotte should have been fine by the time we showed up. Black outs like that only last at most 5 minutes. And it doesn’t seem like she was administered a lethal amount of electricity. There would have been burns all over her body and her skin would have deactivated.”

“Ben said this happened about an hour ago,” Hank said, dropping down beside him.

“Exactly,” he replied, scanning Charlotte’s biocomponents. “I think I can fix her.”

“How?”

“I think I can restart her with another shock.”

“How are you going to do that?”

Instead of replying, Connor placed his hand on Hank’s knee and let a small current of electricity pass through his fingertips. Hank jerked away with a gasp. He fixed Connor with a frown.

“Don’t ever do that again. That shit felt weird.”

Connor shrugged and replaced his hand on Charlotte’s stomach. He let a heavier current of electricity jolt from his palm and Charlotte shuddered awake with a scream. She sat up, kicking and punching. Hank shifted away but Connor held his hands up.

“Hey! It’s alright! It’s alright. We’re with the police. I’m Connor and this is Lieutenant Anderson. We’re not going to hurt you.”

Charlotte thrashed around for a few more moments before she struggled to a stop. She stared at Connor with wide, terrified eyes. Her gaze shifted to the LED on Connor’s temple and then to Hank.

“You’re an android?” she asked.

“I am. He’s not,” he replied.

“Can you tell us what happened?” Hank asked, moving closer.

Charlotte frowned but suddenly her expression shifted. “Maria! Is Maria alright?”

“She’s fine. She’s outside with some of the other officers. Do you want to see her?”

“Please,” she said.

Hank held his hand out and with a bit of hesitation, Charlotte took it. He helped her up and she staggered a little. Hank’s arm came around her waist to support her and she gave him a small smile. Connor followed them outside, his eyes trained on Hank’s arm.

“Maria!”

A woman with bright red hair and a bloody nose perked up from beneath several blankets and the two hurried towards each other, embracing as if it had been ages since they had last seen each other. Connor stopped beside Hank as they watched the two girls parrot question after question at each other.   

“You alright, Connor?” Hank asked.

“Of course,” he said, his brows drawing together in confusion.

“Then, can you let go? You’re hanging on like a monkey.”

Connor’s gaze shifted to Hank’s side and he found his hand tightly gripping Hank’s arm just above his elbow. He released it, frowning at himself again.

“Sorry,” he said.

He turned away but Hank’s hand stopped him, spinning him back around. “You sure you’re alright?”

Connor nodded at Hank’s chest. “I’m fine.”

The two girls separated and Connor took that as an opportunity to move away from Hank. He guided the women to some plush chairs and he felt something tug at him in his chest when he watched Maria shift to share her blankets with Charlotte.   

“Can you tell us what happened?” he asked, glancing at Hank when he moved to stand beside him.

The girls shared a look before Maria said, “He wanted two girls for a private dance. You know, lap dances and the sort. Which was normal now that business has changed. So, Charlotte and I took him to one of the rooms. He told Charlotte to turn around which was weird but sometimes people ask for some kinky things so we didn’t…we didn’t think much about it. Charlotte turned around and I started giving him a lap dance. But then he…he…”

“He started choking her,” Charlotte continued, giving Maria’s hand a pat. “Like really choking her and I turned around because I could hear her struggling. I think he didn’t expect her to be human because he looked at her neck and froze. I tried pushing Maria off of him but it was a giant mess. He hit me with something and it fried my system for a bit. I fell to the ground and he was going to kill me if Maria didn’t grab him. He hit her in the face before shocking me again. Then, next thing I know, I’m waking up looking at you.”

“He tased you?” Hank asked, crossing his arms.

“It felt like he did,” she replied.

“Do you know what he looks like?”

In answer, Charlotte held her arm out. Connor took it automatically and he watched the event unfold exactly how the girls had described. They were with a man, tall in stature with blonde hair and grey eyes. He looked similar to Simon’s model design but they weren’t usually that height and there were too many discrepancies for it to be a perfect match to his appearance. Connor watched as the man hit Maria in the nose and ran out of the room.

In the data transfer, Connor saw flashes of the basic information packages given to all WR400s and HR400s. He saw a variety of sexual positions and sexual acts, some of which he was already familiar with. He even saw a few specialty packages too, some including lap dances, stripteases, and a variety of kinks.

He shouldn’t have been surprised by what he saw given the particular model he was interfacing with and he wasn’t. What did surprise him though was how he almost instantly imagined himself and Hank doing those things.       

Connor blinked, his hand falling away from Charlotte’s. She looked amused, her gaze flickering to Hank just as Markus’ had done after they had interfaced too. Connor needed to start locking down his systems when he did transfers like this.

“I’ve got him. He ran out of the room afterwards but the cameras in the street may have caught where he went.”

Connor looked at Hank but the moment he did, he felt that warmth creep up in his body again, the electric warmth following shortly after. An image flickered into his mind, of Hank between his legs, his hands running all over his body.

Connor immediately turned away, errors popping up in his vision like crazy.

“Nice one,” Hank said. “Thanks for the help, ladies.”

“We should also grab Eden Club’s surveillance footage. They don’t record inside the rooms but they catch who goes in and out. Maybe we’ll be able to figure out his pattern if the CCTV doesn’t show where he’s gone.”

Hank groaned. “That could be over a hundred hours of footage.”

“Yes.”

“Fine. It’s not like I wanted to go home at a reasonable time today anyway. I’ll go tell Ben.”

As Hank walked off, Connor said, “Thank you again.”

He started moving away but a hand stopped him. He turned to see Charlotte smiling at him. “I should be thanking you for saving me.”

Maria stood up as well. “I thought he killed her when she stopped moving. I didn’t want to think of a world without her.”

“You don’t need to thank me. I was just doing my job,” he said. After a pause, he added, “And I understand what it feels like to put someone else’s life above your own to save them.”

Charlotte smiled again, a glint in her eyes. “He’s cute, you know. He seems like one of those rough on the outside types.”

Connor’s brow twitched. “Are you talking about Lieutenant Anderson?”

“Of course, I am. And since you helped me and Maria, I’ll give you this piece of advice: turn up your physical input sensitivity.”

Connor didn’t really know how to respond to that so he simply said, “Thank you?”

Maria sighed but she coughed suddenly, her hand coming up to rub at her throat, her fingers touching dark bruises.

Charlotte placed her hand on her back in concern and with a last goodbye to Connor, they walked off to a group of medics.

Connor stood there for a moment. He was slowly coming to a conclusion that he didn’t know what to do with.

He found Hank over by the entrance with Ben and chose to fix his gaze on the latter.

“There you are, Connor,” Ben said. “We’ve got authorization to take Eden Club’s footage and the street cameras so they’ll be available at your desks when you get back to the precinct.”

“Fan-fucking-tastic,” Hank said.

He started walking out of the club and Connor followed, his gaze on his back. He drew a line with his eyes starting from Hank’s neck down to the bottom of his jacket. That warmth returned with a renewed vigor, the electric one tailing after it. It was becoming harder and harder to differentiate between the two the longer he followed that line.

Hank’s arm shifted and suddenly a ball was thrown back towards him. He caught it easily. It was blue and soft to the touch. When he turned it over, he was met with the image of a cartoon dog. He squeezed it and watched as it shrunk and expanded within his palm.

“I forgot to give that to you before we left,” Hank said.

“It’s a stress ball.”

“Yeah, so your hands can stop fidgeting with shit. It gets fucking distracting when you keep tapping your finger on your desk,” he said, walking around his car.

“There’s a dog on it.”

“No shit.”

With a huff, Hank climbed into the driver’s seat. Connor held the ball up in the air, a smile coming to his face. This time, he didn’t mind the warmth.