Disclaimers: I don't own Detroit: Become Human
Losing a child isn't actually the worst thing that could happen to a man. Hank learned that the hard way.
His boy, Cole, was taken too soon. Too young. What happened to him could have been avoided so many different ways.
Hank could have told his wife to go ahead and pick up their son when she'd asked during his lunch break. Captain Fowler could have given the extra paperwork to the rookie detective Reed instead of Hank having to stay a little later to finish it up. The drunk asshole driving the other car could have called a taxi instead. The ambulance who rushed Hank and Cole from the scene could have driven to a different hospital. The surgeon who was supposed to operate on his son could have been clean instead of high on red ice. The android who operated on his son could have actually been designed for that kind of operation.
But it didn't happen differently.
Hank was late picking his son up. Some drunk fucker decided he could make it home on his own. The closest hospital had been a shit hole with shitty human staff. The android who had to step in and help Cole was an older model, specializing in general care- not trauma and certainly not surgery. His son died.
And it hurt. It hurts.
He can't wake up a single day without an ache in his chest where Cole used to be. It was damn near lethal in the beginning. The very air he breathed was like broken glass in an open wound, but over time and with a small part of him that couldn't quite take his own life, the wound scabbed over. It was still tender and sore- not healed- just not as fresh.
One particular day, him and the other guys at the precinct took down a nasty ring of drug dealers with rap sheets that boasted of theft, sexual assault, murder, etc. The smallest bit of relief shot across his mind; at least his son wouldn't have to see the worst parts of humanity like this. He was gone, but he wasn't suffering.
That is the worst thing that can happen to man, to see your child suffering and knowing you can't do anything to stop it.
He lost one son, but he found another.
He had just wanted to waste away, He just wanted to float through the rest of his life with bad food and worse liquor until something eventually decided he suffered enough. And then the damn androids starting fighting back.
He wasn't even surprised. He saw the pain and regret in the eyes of the android who couldn't save his son- machines don't look like that. Machines don't care. But people do. Living beings who feel empathy. He was completely prepared to stand back and let his fellow officers work any of the rising android cases. Until he heard, "Hello. My name is Connor. I'm the android sent by CyberLife."
The kid looked goofy as hell. Kind of like when children try to imitate the stern speech patterns and gestures of adults. He tried to be gruff and irritated but big artificial brown eyes were having none of it. The kid didn't even realize how deviant he already was.
And Hank had no choice but to give in. To take this kid playing tough and protect him. Guide him.
Yeah, he loves Connor. It hadn't taken very long at all for the RK800 model to shift from being a machine to being a son.
"I like dogs."
Fucking dogs. Fucking androids.
And then something happened to his new son that he couldn't stop. That he couldn't protect him from.
He couldn't remember much of the accident that took Cole. A blaring horn. Bright lights. A stupid song on the radio. He doesn't even remember much of his own pain- a couple scrapes and bruises. A headache from hell. So lost was he in the anguish of losing his son that he hadn't even realized he had some broken ribs until days later.
But he can't forget the way Connor's LED was a bitter angry red as some pervert pounded into him from behind.
He can't unsee the build up of thirium in the android's eyes as he refused to let his tears fall.
He can't unhear the heavy breaths of the fucker as Connor held in his own noises of discomfort.
And he can't unfeel the mess of horror and disgust that swirled around inside him as he was forced to watch.
He could have closed his eyes. He could have turned his head. But a single, soft “Please,” refused to let him. Connor wasn't pleading with his rapist. He was begging his father not to leave him alone.
And dammit- Hank wouldn't leave him. Not like this. Not ever.
“It's okay, son,” he’d said. But it wasn't okay. It wasn't fucking okay and Hank couldn't do anything about it.
He kept his eyes firmly on Connor's through most of the ordeal until his eyes were drawn to his son's feet. To the fuzzy blue and green socks he was wearing. They were the first thing he ever bought for himself. He liked the softness because it reminded him of Sumo. He liked the colors because they reminded him of Markus. They were his favorite because Hank helped him pick big them out.
Weeks later, Hank found them in the trash.
Suddenly it hurt all over again.
He lost Cole within a matter of hours. And then it was over. It was done.
But Connor… Hank knew he relived that awful experience every night when he went into sleep mode. The RK800 had started going as long as he could without resting, staying on the couch with Sumo. He struggled with physical contact. Even with Hank.
He threw out his favorite socks…
The lieutenant looked down at the new pair of socks he'd picked up on a whim. They weren't fuzzy but they were grey, and they had St. Bernards all over them. He hoped they would bring a smile to Connor's face.
They went through hell, but he hadn't lost his son. Not this time.
Connor would be okay. Hank would make sure of it. No one would ever hurt him again.