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Frozen Breath

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“Freeze! Detroit Police!”

Of fucking course, the perp wouldn’t make it that easy. Hank sighed. Godamnnit.

The case was a pretty average one considering the recent events that had taken place in the city, and Hank had been hoping, just wishing that this one would be an open and shut case. But no. Apparently his desire to go home early and sit in front of the fire with a beer in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other as he watched a rerun of the latest Detroit Gears game was too much to ask.

Amidst Hank’s internal ramblings, Connor, of course, had taken off like a shot. That damn kid. It was pretty clear to anyone looking upon them that he’d grown fond of the android, and if that wasn’t irony, he didn’t know what was.

Despite the hatred he used to harbour against androids in the past, watching Markus lead the revolution and seeing the pure, almost raw emotions coming from all the androids he had encountered had really put things into perspective. And Connor, the stupid idiot, had managed to worm his way into his heart and made a home there, bringing out a certain set of feelings and instincts he never thought he would feel again.

So when they walked along the tenth floor of the Riverside Hotel to talk to a suspect, only for a man to run when questioned about the suspect’s activities, Hank couldn’t help but be worried when Connor ran off.

“Stop!” The man ignored Connor’s order, being surprisingly quick as he turned the corner and ran up the nearest staircase. Surely he knew he was cornered?

The surprisingly agile man had somehow made it up two flights of stairs, making it to the top floor. Now, Connor wasn’t slow, in fact, he was faster than most humans, with an unwavering stamina that matched no other, but this was an entirely different situation.

With deviancy came hesitation and self-doubt, which in turn, made Connor second guess himself. The perp was also high on red ice, the drug enraging him enough to give him the adrenalin rush he needed to try to escape.

The man barrelled through a door at the end of the corridor which lead to an emergency fire exit, and Connor thought that the chase was over as he reached it, the man’s shoulder just in reach. What he didn’t account for though, was for the man to suddenly double back. The momentum of the chase sent Connor into the railings, an ominous creaking assaulting his audio units.

And then suddenly the perp was upon him, a fist slamming down on his face before a kick was delivered to his abdomen. The railings gave way, and in his panic, Connor flailed and tried to reach out for the ledge as he fell, but missed by centimetres.

Connor could feel the wind whipping around his body, the cold night air surrounding him as he fell, falling just like snowflakes that danced around him. He could distantly hear Hank’s shout, but it was falling away fast. Falling.

He hit the water beneath him with a resounding crack and splash; it was as if he’d hit concrete. His systems were going crazy, error message reports clouding his vision as it registered the damage done to his body and the cold temperature of the water that now engulfed him.

Cold. It was cold. Androids could typically work in freezing environments, made to do work that humans couldn’t, but with Connor’s prototype status and sensitive sensors that allowed deviants to feel, he felt everything.

As he went under, he automatically shut off his ventilation biocomponents, knowing the water would do damage, especially at this temperature. It was the middle of January, and temperatures were hitting new records as the snow covered the city. In other words, it was freezing.

Connor felt a strange sensation run down his metaphorical spine. He didn’t like it. Fear was creeping along his mind, as he remembered the last time he felt this cold…

At the thought of Amanda, he began to panic. The cold brought him back to that night, the night that caused him to wake from stasis in screams and tears, the dreaded panic of losing control of his body, of nearly killing the deviant leader and ending the revolution hot on his mind.

The unadulterated panic caused him to gasp, allowing an influx of water to enter his systems, only for his body to try to remove it instantly. It couldn’t.

As soon as it tried to dispel the fluid intruding his biocomponents, water just flooded back in in its attempt to take in air to repeat the cycle. He was drowning.

The fact that he could feel his systems beginning to lock up and his thirium beginning to slow didn’t help his panic, the freezing temperatures hindering his ability to swim. He couldn't get out.

Darkness was beginning to cloud his vision, the cold no doubtedly causing damage, and the water taking up precious space of air. He wanted Hank, he needed Hank, and not for the first time, he was scared. He was downright terrified.

A shutdown timer appeared in his peripheral vision, his Thirium pump beginning to stutter as his systems began to shut down and cease function.

The last thing he could think of before the darkness overtook his mind was the look on Hank’s face every time he was injured or damaged. The worry and concern that was barely concealed but not through lack of trying. He wanted to see Hank again.

Help me
---
Hank swears he was going to have a heart attack.

He’d managed to reach the fire escape in time to watch the metal of the railings snap, the android going over the ledge as he tried to grab on.

“Connor!” He yelled, rushing forward as if he could grab onto him in time. He couldn’t.

Hank swore he felt his heart jump into his throat, but there was nothing he could do.

The perpetrator looked horrified, the shock stopping him dead in his tracks. Hank was reeling.

He quickly handcuffed the shocked suspect to the rest of the railing, commanding him not to move, before racing down the steps, the adrenalin keeping him moving and preventing him from slipping.

After a few minutes, which was way too fucking long in Hank’s opinion, he managed to get to where he’d seen Connor land, and he ran his hand roughly through his hair as he caught his breath. He could be anywhere. Shit.

“Connor!”

Thinking quickly, he got out his phone and found Connor’s contact, tracking his number with the app the android installed. It wasn’t the first time he’d had to do this.

Seeing the signal a little ways down the river, he ran across the banking, taking his thick winter coat off as he went.

“Fuckin’ hell it’s cold.” He grumbled to himself, but didn’t think twice about dropping the coat and phone before rushing into the freezing water. Nothing would stop him from getting to his boy. Because that’s what he was.

Purely through nothing but luck, Connor had been halted by a rock, the current surely have taken him away without it. This being the only reason Hank found him so quickly, the Lieutenant thanked whatever God or entity there was as he grabbed onto the android and heaved him up and out of the water.

Dropping the deviant onto the banking, Hank leant back on his knees as he breathed heavily to try to catch his breath.

“Connor?”

The android remained unresponsive, his LED a flickering red.

“Connor, can you hear me?” Hank roughly shook the deviant by his shoulders, but still no response was given.

Noticing that he wasn’t breathing, Hank pressed a hand to the kid’s chest, feeling the Thirium pump stuttering and struggling to operate.

“Shit! Connor come on!”

Without thinking about it, Hank’s training kicked in, and he placed one hand over the other, interlocking his fingers as he pressed on the centre of his chest.

“Come on Connor, breathe!” He continued compressions, hoping they would kickstart Connor’s Thirium pump back into a regular motion and force the kid to breathe on his own.

He stopped long enough to check his LED again, to reassure himself it was still lit.

“Come on, kid, don’t do this.” He began another round of compressions, each rocking the android’s torso under the pressure.

He winced when he felt something crack, but he didn’t let his rhythm falter for a second.

“Connor! Come on, don’t you fucking give up now!”

He couldn’t do it, he couldn’t lose another son. Why was fate out to get him like this? What had he done to deserve everything and everyone he loved to be taken away? He must have really pissed someone off in a former life.

"Connor! Son...please…”

The LED on Connor’s temple flashed a bright crimson, before staying a solid red in colour as his ventilation biocomponents finally managed to rid themselves of the water, his body jerking as it was expelled from his systems.

At the sudden movement and odd choking noise, Hank immediately turned the android onto his side, allowing him to cough up the fluid and rid himself of the contaminants.

“It’s okay son, you’re okay.” He reassured, but whether it was for Connor or for himself, he wasn’t too sure.

When the coughing began to die down, Hank noticed how much the boy was shaking, and quickly grabbed his discarded coat to drape over him.

“H-Hank…?” A weak, raspy voice sounded, causing Hank to look down at Connor’s face.

A set of fearful, haunted eyes looked up at him, and Hank couldn’t feel more relieved.

“God…” He breathed, wrapping the android up in a tight hug, feeling the deviant trembling within his arms for a different reason now.

“H-Hank...I-” Connor cut off, his voice shaking. He was terrified.

He knew it was irrational, that he was out of immediate danger and would be fine once he warmed up and repaired all his damages, but...he was still terrified. It didn’t make any sense.

“Ssh, shh, you’re okay, you’re gonna be alright, kid.” Hank soothed, and Connor became distinctly aware that he was crying.

Burrowing his head further into the crook of Hank’s neck, he allowed the human detective to comfort and reassure him, one hand weakly grasping Hank’s shirt. He melted into the notion when Hank began to run his hand through Connor's hair, the sensation calming and familiar, which in turn, helped him to calm down. But he was still cold.

“H-Hank...y-you’re going t-to get s-sick…” He worried, his eyebrows furrowing as he took in the Lieutenant’s attire.

“Don’t worry about me, let’s worry about you for now. Do you think you can walk?”

Connor tried to move, he honest to God did, but his joints had frozen in the cold, making him unable to move enough to be able to steady himself and walk.

Hank noticed his dilemma and without a word, placed a hand around the android’s back and under his knees, gently lifting him up and carrying him all the way back down the banking and up to the Hotel’s car park.

Placing him carefully in the front passenger seat, Hank finally registered how cold and sore he was, the adrenaline and fear now dissipating, causing him to hurriedly jump into the car and turn the heater on full blast.

“Jesus Christ…” He mumbled, rubbing his hands together in front of one of the heaters, trying to get sensation back in his hands before he began the drive home.

Throughout the entire drive, Hank noticed that the android beside him was extremely quiet, and the only movement he made was the shivers that racked his body from the cold. His eyes were distant, as if he were in a trance or lost in a far away memory, and Hank knew that was dangerous for the kid. He knew what memories did to him.

“Hey kid.” Hank spoke up, a little louder than normal to catch the deviant’s attention.

It took a few seconds longer than normal, but it slowly registered in Connor and he turned to look at Hank.

“You’re gonna be okay, you know that, right?”

Connor just stared forward, his eyes heavy with emotion and his body trembling, again with a reason other than the cold.

Hank sighed. “Kid...You can talk to me, you know? If you need to talk about this...about anything, I’ll listen.”

Connor gripped his hands tightly into fists, before relaxing them as best he could and placing them in his lap.

“...I…” He stopped, unnecessarily swallowed, and tried again. “I’m cold. I-I was c-cold.”

Hank nodded, letting him take his time to organise his thoughts.

“I...A-Amanda. Cold. I-It was too similar, I-” He cut himself off again, shaking his head.

Hank breathed a sigh, his gaze softening.

“Connor...Cyberlife is gone. They can’t hurt you anymore.”

“I-I know...but-”

“No, no buts. You kicked that Amanda bitch outta your head, fought for your freedom, and the company was deserted and shut down. You’re free.”

Connor looked up at him, pulling Hank’s coat around him tighter.

“You’re family kid, I’m not gonna let anything happen to you. I promise.” That got a smile.

It was a rather unconventional family, an android, an old police lieutenant and a massive Saint Bernard, but maybe that was just what he needed.