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I'll blossom for you

Chapter Text

Connor has the sudden thought, as Hank's hands hover uncertainly over the open panel on his inner thigh, that he may not have thought this through correctly. He'd considered it far too many times, preconstructing various outcomes, without taking his own feelings into account.

Connor is used to considering the potential feelings of others. His own feelings, though, are more uncertain and confusing; he hadn't truly wondered what it might feel like to have Hank's hands inside him until the moment before it happens, when it's too late to reconsider. It's this, more than any worry or admonishments from Hank, that makes Connor wish he'd been more careful earlier, to prevent putting him in this situation in the first place.

***

A suspect had run as he and Hank were questioning him, and Connor had caught up first. When Hank arrived, cursing and breathing heavily, he'd found Connor holding down the already-cuffed suspect with one hand and pressing the other into a deep gash in his inner thigh.

"Fuck, what happened?" Hank asked, when he saw the blue stain spreading beneath Connor's hand.

Connor angled his head to indicate a knife that had been knocked a few feet away. "I didn't see it in time. He got lucky and had the right angle to get the knife through my chassis."

The process of calling and waiting for a car to pick up the suspect was a bit of a blur; Connor spent that time trying to convince Hank that he'd much rather go home than check into an android repair center. "I know this looks bad," he'd said, "but we have thirium at home. The smaller arteries that were severed will self-repair, and I have supplies to repair or replace the larger one myself. It's important to do soon, but I'm not in critical danger."

Hank had gone a bit green by this point, and seemed to want to argue further, but he just nodded.

Connor put his hand on Hank's shoulder. "I am going to shut down some functions to conserve thirium until then. I won't hear you, but if you touch me I'll know to come out of stasis." He dragged himself to a low brick wall at the edge of the lot and sat down, closing his eyes.

It was a selfish act, Connor thought, as he shut down most of his external sensors and retreated into his mind, to ask Hank to touch him. But couldn't he allow himself this indulgence, when he was in pain? The discomfort in his leg was intense, even with limited sensory access. He rerouted thirium flow away from his left leg entirely; he wouldn't be able to walk until it was repaired, but at least he wouldn't lose so much that he couldn't function. He floated in darkness and waited to feel Hank's hand on him. He thought about Hank kissing him awake.

Connor had found himself returning to the idea of kissing Hank, or Hank kissing him, for a few weeks now. He understood that it is generally reserved for romantic or sexual partners, or possibly family members; at the moment he was none of these things, to Hank. Maybe some day.

Hank was tentatively offering physical contact, at times, which Connor drank in like a wilting plant sucks up water. A hand on his arm as Hank passed by, a broad shoulder to lean on when they were up late watching a movie. Connor still felt the echo of that first, tight hug. Connor wanted more; he hadn't experienced anyone touching him in a way that offered comfort, or friendship, or any kind of affection until Hank pulled him into that embrace.

He imagined what it would be like to kiss Hank, to coat his tongue with his essence and sink into his data. His sensitive fingers could grip the thick mass of Hank's hair, threading through it and finally learning the specific texture of the fine hairs hidden at the back of his neck, of his beard. Of. Well. Connor knew he had hair elsewhere. He wanted to explore that as well.

Even with his reduced processing power, Connor was tempted enough to return to a favorite preconstruction, one in which Hank invited Connor to bed and wrapped his arms around him, cuddling up close and warm while he fell asleep and Connor listened to the rhythm of his breath. He had been so focused on the idea of Hank touching him that when the touch came for real, it was a surprise. He felt Hank tap and then gently shake his arm, and as he re-initialized his exterior senses his hearing cut in to Hank saying "-nor?? Connor, are you awake in there?"

Connor gave himself a moment to focus entirely on the warmth of Hank's hand before he opened his eyes. He saw Hank standing over him, his brow furrowed with concern. Behind him, the suspect was being loaded into a patrol car by one officer while another stood by. "I'm gonna run back and get my car, ok? Then we can get you home and fixed up." He glanced back at the other officers. "They're going to stick around till I get back, just to keep an eye on things. I'll be back soon." He waited for Connor's nod and jogged off.

Connor knew he'd need help getting into the car and, later, the house. His injured leg would support weight, but without thirium flow, he couldn't make complicated movements with it. He trusted Hank, but still the vulnerability of his injury made him uncomfortable. Hank hadn't seen him hurt, not like this, since he became deviant.

When Hank returned, he seemed upset, but not overly so, and volunteered to help Connor get to the car without having to be asked. "Uh, just lean on me and you'll be fine," Hank mumbled, as he helped lift Connor from where he sat.

Connor tried not to focus too much on Hank's steadying hand around his waist, or the feeling of his broad shoulders as he draped his arm over them. Hank's sturdiness was a welcome comfort.

"You're sure you have what you need to fix yourself up back at the house?" Hank asked, as he pulled into traffic. "You don't need me to pick anything else up?" His hands gripped the wheel tighter than usual, Connor noticed.

"Everything I require to make repairs should be in the first aid kit I have under the bathroom sink," Connor replied. "The difficulty may lie in accessing the damaged area." He glanced over at Hank again abd took a breath he had no use for to give himself an extra moment. "Hank," he said softly.

"Hm?"

"Are you willing to help me, if I'm not able to reach the damaged components myself?"

Hank's hands tightened further on the wheel, and Connor noted a quick elevation of his heart rate.

"Shit, Connor, you think I know how to do any of that?"

"I can instruct you. I know how the repairs need to be made; I just don't think the location of the damage and of the opening in my chassis will allow me to have a proper angle to take care of this myself."

Hank was quiet for a moment. They were nearly home. "You're absolutely sure," Hank said, as they waited at the last traffic light before home, "that this is something a bozo like me can handle, and I won't fuck you up somehow? Otherwise, I'd feel a lot better taking you in somewhere to get fixed up. I don't want to hurt you."

Connor touched Hank's forearm lightly, comfortingly. (Greedily.) "I trust you to be careful, and I'll be able to tell you what's all right to touch and what isn't. I know this is a lot to ask, but I'd rather have you help me with this than a technician I don't know."

"Okay," Hank said. "I'll try. I just don't want to fuck your leg up worse than it already is."

"You won't."

"Connor, I'm good at fucking things up, if you haven't noticed. I don't want you to be one of them."

Connor wasn't sure what to say to that. He allowed himself five additional seconds of contact before removing his hand from Hank's arm, and rode the last few blocks in silence.

Once they arrived at the house, Connor had Hank help him hobble into the kitchen; the lighting there was decent and the linoleum would be easy to clean up. Hank avoided looking directly at Connor's leg and seemed anxious, so Connor put him to work immediately as a distraction. "I'll need the first aid kit from the bathroom and a package of thirium from that lower cabinet," he said, pointing, "and you should change shirts so your sleeves don't get messy."

Hank blanched at that. "Jesus, am I going to be covered in your blood after this?"

"Not covered, no, but there's going to be some amount of it involved. I'm sorry."

"Should I, I don't know, wear latex gloves or something? Am I going to get electrocuted from sticking my hand in--inside you?"

"Unless things are more damaged than I suspect, no. I don't think gloves will be necessary." HANK WILL BE INSIDE ME flashed in his field of vision, but he dismissed it. No time to pick that idea apart, when he was trying to keep Hank on task so he didn't panic. The thought that Connor might panic at this entire situation wasn't something he considered. Not yet.

While Hank collected everything, Connor focused on taking his pants off. It was difficult to do with his left leg acting as dead weight, but he'd managed it by the time Hank returned.

"What the -- Connor, why are you naked?" Hank sputtered, nearly dropping his armful of supplies. Sometimes Connor forgot how uncomfortable humans could be around nudity. He'd been programmed to understand social conventions, but it didn't mean he shared the same views; it wasn't upsetting for him to be exposed around Hank. Vulnerable and intense: yes. But not uncomfortable.

"How could you access my internal components if I left my pants on, Hank?" Connor let some of his frustration bleed into his voice, as much as he hated to get snippy at Hank. "I don't have the same sense of modesty humans do; I'm perfectly comfortable like this."

He felt no need to add that he'd been anxious about what Hank's response would be. Discomfort wasn't too surprising, he supposed, but not particularly welcome.

"Okay, sorry," Hank mumbled. "I was just surprised, is all."

Hank kneeled down to look more closely at the wound and Connor saw his eyes flick to the side. A faint blush bloomed on his cheeks. "Uh, Connor. They didn't...they didn't give you anything? In the whole." He waved his hand awkwardly. "...Downstairs area?"

This was not a conversation Connor wanted to have at the moment, but being direct had the highest probability of making it as short as possible. "Because I was a prototype, some functions that were considered nonessential weren't completed for my model. I assume future, upgraded models would have some sort of genital component, but it wasn't considered a priority for me, apparently."

"Huh, ok. So can you--" Hank cut himself off, shaking his head. "Jesus, sorry. It's none of my business, and I need to fix you up, not get nosy."

"It's fine," Connor said, although Hank's curiosity was...he wasn't sure how he felt about it, but at least it wasn't disgust. Wasn't disappointment.

"I'm going to deactivate the skin on my leg and remove the access panel, then we can look at the damage, all right?"

Hank nodded, although he still seemed distressed. Breaking things down into smaller tasks helped Connor focus when he was worried about something; he hoped it would work for Hank as well. "Hank, do you have a flashlight? It may help me see the damage more clearly, in addition to the information from my internal sensors."

Hank mumbled something about a flashlight in the junk drawer and rummaged around fruitlessly for a bit before remembering the light on his phone. "Is this good enough?" he asked, waving it in Connor's direction. "'s all I have right now."

"That'll be fine," Connor said. "Are you ready?"

"Ready as I'll ever be," Hank said, but his heart rate was still elevated, and his hands were perspiring slightly.

"It'll be fine," Connor said.

"Shouldn't I be the one comforting you? I'm not the one who got stabbed. You worry about you, Connor, I'll do what you need me to."

"I know you will, Hank," Connor said quietly. He gently pried off the small access panel on his thigh and set it on the kitchen table. "I'm going to reactivate my sensors, and then I'll direct you; I think you'll need to move some wires aside to get at the worst of the damage."

"This is fucking weird," Hank said, staring at Connor's insides. Connor could see a small tangle of wires that had been fully or nearly severed; behind them was the major artery that needed repair, and he suspected other components had been damaged as well.

"It is," he agreed. He took the phone from Hank and aimed it at the worst of the damage. "Can you move those small silver wires to the side so I can get a look at what's behind them?"

Hank closed his eyes, took a breath, and reached inside.