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Reincarnate

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“He was hit by a truck,” Hank said. “I told ‘m not to chase after ‘em, but the stubborn li’l fuck ignored me!” 

He was draped over the counter at Jimmy’s with his head resting on one arm, trying to get more whiskey into his mouth as he talked.

“Ah, it was just an android, Hank,” Jimmy said. “No point crying over it.” 

“But ‘e was dif’rent!” Hank said, straightening up and shaking the bottle at Jimmy like the goddamn belligerent drunk he was. “Nev’r seen a android act so… so…” 

“Stupid?” 

Was stup’d,” Hank said. “Stup’d and eager like a goddamn puppy. A rookie cop!” 

He laughed at the memory of Connor running around trying to catch baddies. In a way he was just like Hank when he was younger. Yet also like a child, doe eyed and curious about the world. 

“Sp’aking of puppies,” Hank slurred. “Y’know what ‘e said to me?!” 

Jimmy sighed. “I know I’m about to find out.” 

“He likes dogs!” Hank said. He started laughing so hard he almost fell off his stool. But he only wobbled and then retained his balance by slumping back over the counter. “N’ver seen a dog in his life, but ‘e says he’d like to. Like he’d googled pictures of ‘em? Jezuz.” 

What a sad sack of existence he was. But he wouldn’t cry. Jimmy was right. There was no point. In the end, Connor was just a bucket of bolts, right? 

“Shoulda met Sumo,” he sighed. “Woulda liked Sumo. Sumo woulda liked him." 

“Uh, Hank…”

“I know ‘m bein’ stup’d,” Hank said. “I’ll shut up aight?”

“No, Hank turn around.” 

When he turned around Hank sincerely wished he hadn’t. Because this time he did fall off his seat. When the android tried to help him up Hank yelped and shook him off.

“I understand this is your favorite bar,” Connor said. “I’m glad I came here first.”  

“What the fuck!” Hank said. “You crazy fuckin’... fuckin’... how the hell are you here?!”

It took him a minute to get back up, but as soon as he was upright he felt himself swaying. Again Connor tried to help. Again Hank shook him off. This caused him to teeter, but he was able to lean against the bar for support. 

“My predecessor was unfortunately destroyed. But Cyberlife transferred all the relevant data into this model.” Connor tapped his forehead. “And sent me to replace it. This incident should not affect the investigation.”

“Tran’ferred its data? What the ‘ell does tha’ mean?” The room was spinning. There were two Connor’s in front of him. Wasn’t he supposed to be a prototype? There should only be one.

“The footage and sensations,” Connor said. “To put it in human terms, I have all of RK800-51’s memories.”

“What the hell .” Here he was mourning Connor’s goddamn loss like a fool and the whole time there was a copy just waiting to be activated? “His memories?! His memories are just footage to you?!” 

Connor looked confused. “Well, technically speaking.” 

Was it just his imagination or was this one more robotic than the last? The Connor who had bought him another round, the Connor who was as eager to please as he was to impress, but who wouldn’t take no for an answer or wait in the godamn car when he was told to.

That one had been his Connor. He was still dead wasn’t he?

“It’s too early to be drinking, Lieutenant.” Connor tried for a winning smile, but it just looked condescending. “We should get back to work.”  

“I’ll do what I want!” Hank grumbled. He chugged down what was left of his whiskey. “S’nev’r too early. An’ if I wanna drink at three o’clock I’ll drink at three o’clock!” 

“It’s 4:57 p.m., Lieutenant.” 

Hank didn’t bother to reply to that. He slammed his drink onto the bar and noticed Jimmy glaring at them. Looked like it was time to go. 

“While I was… out of commission,” Connor started, while following him out of the bar. Hank slammed the door in his face, but Connor simply paused to open the door and continued talking. “A report was filed on a suspected deviant.” 

“Like I give a fuck,” Hank said. He opened the door to his car, but Connor closed it.

“You should sit in the passenger seat,” Connor said. 

“Fuck you.” 

“Your BAC level is-” 

“Shut up, don’t fucking scan me.” 

“I’ll drive.” 

“I’m not going with you!” Hank said. “Wherever the fuck you want to go, whatever deviant you want to catch, jus’ do it without me!” 

He made a conscious effort to speak clearly. As if he could lower his BAC level by not slurring. But, really, Hank didn’t even feel drunk anymore. Connor’s creepy resurrection had sobered him. 

“Then I’ll take you home,” Connor said. He sat behind the wheel as if that settled it. Supposing it did, Hank begrudgingly handed over his keys and got into the damn passenger seat. 

They drove in silence. It wasn’t until they were parked in the driveway that Connor finally said, “You seem more hostile than you were before. May I ask why?” 

“Because you give me the goddamn creeps,” Hank said. 

“And I didn’t before?” 

“You already know I hate androids,” Hank grumbled. He didn’t want to look at Connor. Didn’t want to notice the way he was frowning, the way he looked confused and disappointed.

“I thought we had made progress,” Connor said. “That we could work… harmoniously.” 

“How am I supposed to work harmoniously with a fucking zombie, huh?” 

Did Connor tighten his grip on the steering wheel or was it Hank’s imagination? Was it just him wanting to see something in Connor that wasn’t there? But there was something in the way he sat. Stiff and… Er, stiff. Like he was frustrated. He was looking out the windshield and Hank realized it was the first time Connor spoke to him without maintaining eye contact. 

“You’re upset that I was… damaged?” 

“I’m not upset ,” Hank said. “Like I said, you’re creepy. It’s unnatural. Downloading memories, wearing a new body like a pair of shoes. It’s...”  

“A machine was destroyed and another machine was sent to replace it,” Connor said, finally turning to look Hank in the eye. “I don’t understand what’s bothering you.”

“You’re a fuckin’ asshole.” 

Why the hell were they still sitting in the car anyway? Hank got out and walked around to Connor’s side. He had to open Connor’s door for him. “You gonna sit there all day?”

“I’ll wait here for you to… sober up,” Connor said.

Did he always pause like that? It’s like it was taking him longer to decide what he wanted to say. But Hank didn’t know what was new and what he’d just left unnoticed. He hadn’t been paying attention to Connor before. Just been annoyed by him and his existence.

He’d wanted to block Connor out. When had that changed? How had this stupid android warmed his way under his skin?  

“Let me know when you’re ready to work,” Connor said. He closed the car door and put his hands back on the steering wheel, facing ahead again.

“You’re not going to take my car, are you?” 

Connor lowered his window. “Of course not, Lieutenant. I can’t investigate without your supervision.” 

“And you won't get, you know, bored?” He felt foolish as soon as he said it.

But Connor smiled and peered up at him with his big ol’ brown eyes. As if he was pleased at the sentiment. At the very idea that he was human enough to feel something like boredom. “Don’t worry, Lieutenant. I will keep myself occupied.”

“Alright,” Hank said. What else could he say? He had no choice but to turn around and walk inside. Alone.

But maybe he felt a little bit better. Maybe this new model, this RK fifty something whatever, was still the same Connor. Was it crazy to grow attached to an android?

It went against everything Hank thought he’d stood for. 

He couldn’t help thinking about the reason he’d started hating androids in the first place as he cracked open another bottle of whiskey. He grabbed his favorite photo of Cole and a revolver, bringing all three to the table. 

But he didn’t play Russian Roulette. Instead, when Sumo put his head in his lap and started whining for attention, he remembered what he’d told Jimmy at the bar. He’d wished that stupid android had met Sumo before he’d died. 

Swallowing his pride he went back outside and found Connor playing with a quarter, of all things. It was endearingly childish.

“Come inside,” Hank said.

“Lieutenant I’m perfectly fine-”

“Well I’m not,” Hank said. “I need your help.” 

That got his attention. “How can I be of service?”

“My dog is an attention whore,” Hank said.

“I beg your pardon?” 

When Connor said things like I beg your pardon Hank could picture him growing up like a normal kid. The kind of kid who was raised by a pair of uptight rich parents who signed him up for tennis and gave him sweater vests for Christmas. The kind who would have fun on the debate team. Or chess. Something nerdy. He’d seem snooty and uptight, but when you really got to know him…

Well, you’d realize he wasn’t as arrogant as you’d thought. 

Hank liked picturing him like that. And he liked the way Connor grinned when Sumo jumped all over him, tail wagging like crazy. Connor wasn’t bothered by the slobber. He let Sumo lick his face as much as he wanted.

Then he fucking licked him back and started to describe the chemical composition of the Saint Bernard’s goddamn saliva. It broke the illusion, that’s for sure. 

“That’s disgusting!” Hank said. He picked up the spray bottle he usually used on the dog and sprayed Connor with it. “Bad boy, don’t do that again.” 

Connor laughed. “I’m sorry. It’s a habit.”

But he didn’t look sorry at all. 

Hank sprayed him again. “Stop looking so smug.” 

Connor rolled his eyes. “There’s no pleasing you.”

That wasn’t true though. Hank hadn’t felt this pleased in years.