“...what is it like outside of Detroit, _____?” Connor tilts his head towards you from his spot next to you on the couch, curiosity written upon his face.
You look up from the book you're reading, brows knitting in concentration. “Hmm…...it depends on where you go. Where I was born it's a small town, but the same climate. If you go to southern United States then it's usually hotter than here, and many more small towns dotting the landscape.” Connor hums in thought and his sensor flickers yellow, so you decide to leave him be for now, going back to your book.
While you're on the topic, it is close to the fourth of July weekend….and you haven't been back to your hometown in quite a long time. You'd have to call in to work and get those days off, as will Connor, but it would be worth it to take a trip back to lake Michigan and watch the fireworks show with him.
Although they haven't lived there for a while, your parents have recently renovated their nice little cabin you all had used while you were growing up, bugging you to “come take a break! Stop being such a busybody.” Which is partly true, only because Detroit is always in need of their officers, even on their days off.
“Do you think we could visit?”
Connor's sentence has you widening your eyes and setting the book down; he's definitely gotten your attention. “I mean, sure? But that would mean needing to go visit the cabin and cleaning it up before we settled in for the weekend. It hasn't been used for a while now.”
“I'd like to experience something other than what I have here in Detroit. It would also interest me seeing where you grew up, what life was like.” Connor quickly looked up where you were born while you're lost in thought, noting that your parents owned a property at one of the tips of Michigan, a woodsy area on the outskirts of Traverse City. He's never seen a forest in person before, Detroit being turned into a jungle gym for construction companies within the past couple years.
You adjust yourself after deciding, and lay your head in Connor's lap where he automatically begins running his hands through your hair. It's soothing and has you observing the faint smile that graces his face as he plays with your hair. “We'd need to call it in tonight and then pack, but other than that I suppose there's no problem with that. We'll be able to watch them shoot fireworks over the lake, and it's been forever since I've done that.”
Connor grins and you raise your brow, knowing he's either up to something or knows something you don't. You know it should worry you when he makes a face like that, but curiosity also gets the best of you.
“I've already contacted the Captain and he's granted us both PTO for the weekend but expects us to pick up the slack on the next holiday, which I expected him to say.” Connor huffs as you exaggerate a groan, gently poking your nose as you sit up. You're always telling him how cute he is, but in reality you're much cuter; he has the evidence to support his claim.
Since it's only Sunday you both decide it will be wise to pack Thursday night, leaving Friday morning.
For now you two get through the week at work by trying to get through as much work as possible, not wanting to come back to piles of open cases left in your inbox. You underestimated how much could pile up. The last time you took three days off of work and came back with many more files than you could handle. It took you three days of overnight work to catch up, which was utter hell.
Friday morning came knocking on your door, almost surprising Connor and yourself. “Ok, I think I've packed everything I could need.” You gesture to the two bags sitting next to the front door, and Connor gives you a thumbs up from his spot on the couch. His luggage consists of one small duffle bag, emblazoned with the DCPD logo on the sides. It's not like he needs anything more than spare clothes and a container or two of Blue Blood, which you're somewhat jealous of. You wish you could get away with just one bag.
“Ok, I'll grab the keys and we can get going. Based on what I've looked up, it will take us at least four hours to reach the cabin,” Connor says as he jumps up from the couch and reaches the door to take all the bags, you opening the door for him. The door is locked once the two of you are outside, and Connor puts everything in the trunk while you make your way into the passenger seat. Your car is one of the non-automatic vehicles still on the road and in service, and you wouldn't be shy to admit you take pride in your hatchback. It's reliable when you need it to be, and you'll only get rid of it when it finally kicks the bucket.
Connor closes the door once he's seated, and turns to glance at you. You seem excited to be going on this trip, and if you're happy then he's happy. He'd be lying if he said he hadn't requested the weekend off specifically for this purpose. You two barely get any time off to go anywhere, and he's been wanting to plan a little getaway for you both ever since the android revolution calmed down.
As soon as you're both buckled in he begins the drive out of the city and into the suburbs, the scenery of towns with multiple neighborhoods transforming to the sparseness of the farms with their large crop fields. This all occurs within the time span of a couple hours, half of the drive already gone.
You decide to spend the next half of the trip playing “I Spy”, which Connor gets right every single time thanks to his analysis software. Connor laughs when you get all pouty and tell him how it's no fair since you aren't able to do that, to which he comes back with the fact you never said he couldn't use it.
You don't even notice time has passed until you're driving through your hometown; not much has changed since you've been gone. The restaurants are all the same and there are familiar faces everywhere you look, but the one thing that has changed is the fact you see androids roaming downtown enjoying themselves; it makes you feel happy that everyone is coexisting, helping revitalize the town.
It's mostly small talk during the ten minutes it takes to reach the cabin. The dirt road Connor uses is almost taken over by the wild greenery of the forest, something you'd have to talk to your dad about. The cabin itself looks relatively fine considering the state of road, you just hope the inside isn't any worse.
While Connor is grabbing the bags you step up to the front door and flip through all the keys you own, the cabin key being bright pink and having the image of Hello Kitty on it; a gift to you from your mom when you were much younger. Your first steps into the cabin are those of curiosity; you've been gone so long from this place it's like you're seeing it for the first time. The smell of the Cypress wood has you reminiscing about your time spent with your parents here, a warm feeling settling in your chest and a small smile forming on your face.
The interior is covered in a small amount of dust, while the couch, arm chairs, coffee table, tv stand, and tv are all covered in those plastic things used to keep dust off of furniture. Most of the furniture is new, which makes you sad, but there are one or two pieces that you remember; pieces like the end table you helped carved with your grandpa, and the dining room table you had drawn on with permanent marker.
You begin removing the covers while Connor takes the duster you brought and swiftly tackles the dust problem. You begin sneezing as dust is kicked up in the small space, Connor looking at you in concern after the third sneeze.
“Oh! Sorry, sorry, I forgot about the windows!” He shouts as he races to each of the windows and opens them up, his mind having completely blanked on the fact that he was filling the room with dust and you were going to inhale that. He rushes back to you and pats your back as you finish your sneezing and coughing, but once you're doing better you wave him off and give him a kiss on the hand. You know he feels bad, but you reassure him that a little dust won't kill you, and get back to work.
The covers go into the closet next to the front door and you set to work on closing the windows, because while Connor doesn't need to cool down, you most certainly do.
You plop down onto the couch as Connor brings you a bottle of water, which you eagerly chug until there's half the bottle left. There was a bit more to cleaning up the cabin than you had anticipated, but Connor being here with you certainly made things easier.
“It's very warm and inviting. I imagine the cabin would be a nice place to visit during the winter; sitting by the fireplace and watching movies,” he says while moving throughout the living area, stopping at a group of pictures hanging on the wall. “Are these your parents and yourself?” He gestures to one of the larger frames adorning the wall, turning to you afterwards. He already scanned the faces before asking, but he wants to hear you talk about these things; he loves the way your face lights up when discussing the things you love.
You nod, walking over to him and his hand automatically reaches out for yours, smiling when you settle your hand in his. “It is! That was when I turned ten years old; we had come here for my birthday, and I had accidentally slipped on some mud trying to swing at a pinata. I ended up covered in the mud, and didn't have any clean clothes left, so I had to wear my bathing suit until they could be cleaned. It was pretty embarrassing at the time but thinking back on it, it's pretty funny.”
Connor glances down at you as you're telling the story, noting your relaxed grin and how you're swinging your arm back and forth while holding his hand.
A good chunk of time is dedicated to going through each photo and telling their stories; by the time you're done Connor is beaming with happiness as if he had just lived through them all alongside you, asking questions about something if it interests him. You'd bet your salary that he can recite all your childhood memories back to you now.
You had arrived at the cabin around 1pm, and cleaning up and talking about your past takes almost two and a half hours. By now your stomach is growling with hunger, so you fix a small late lunch of sandwiches for yourself.
The rest of the day is dedicated to exploring the town and visiting the thrift shops and local eateries, the two of you being stopped by people you haven't seen in years wanting to catch up with you. You're able to do that with the first couple of people that do this, but it becomes too much and you just want to get to bed early because the drive tuckered you out. Sure, it's not even ten o'clock yet, but it's not every day you drive four hours and then clean out a cabin.
Making it back to the cabin is quick and easy, and soon enough you're in your pajamas and cuddling up to Connor in bed. You fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow and although Connor doesn't actually sleep, he goes into standby mode which mimics it.
Connor wakes you up around noon by bringing you breakfast in bed, a simple dish of eggs, bacon, and toast. He opens the sliding door letting a breeze in, and the sun shining into the room gives you a feeling of peace; something you rarely get back in Detroit.
Connor sits down next to you in bed while you eat, fiddling with the loose strings in the comforter. “I was thinking we could explore the forest today. I think enjoying the atmosphere together will be a nice change from the chaos we usually endure.”
Your only confirmation is a thumbs up, too busy digging into your food. A year ago Connor didn't even know the first thing about cooking, but as soon as you asked him he had downloaded over five thousand different recipes from all kinds of countries. Even though he doesn't have taste buds, everything comes out tasting like heaven, and most of the time you're begging him to cook.
You wash your dish and then take a quick shower, donning a dress and leggings. There's nothing special you do to your hair, just putting it in a ponytail to keep it out of your face. Connor gives you a quick kiss as you step out of the bathroom and you return it, smiling at him as you both make your way out of the cabin.
The entire time you're walking about the forest floor Connor is stopping you and excitedly telling you about the flora and fauna that can be found, picking a single flower from each kind he can find. You don't know what he's going to do with them, maybe start a flower pressing journal? You've seen him do odder things, like his brief stint in birdwatching.
It takes about an hour to reach the end of the forest along the property, marked by wooden posts, and as you're walking back Connor is working on something with the flowers. Everytime you try to turn and see what he's doing he manages to obscure your view, and soon enough you're trying to sneak a peek under the guise of giving him a hug. He obliges, of course, but he actually shoves the flowers into his jacket.
“You're kidding me,” you laugh at him, “what are you trying to hide from me?!” He just grins at you endearingly and give you a big side hug, stepping away from you.
“If I tell you, I'd have to kill you,” and he just plays innocent as he walks on ahead of you. You laugh in delight, since he rarely ever tells a joke on purpose; most of them are on accident with Hank setting him up for them.
An hour later and you come out of the brush in front of the house, with Connor waiting by the door. He's holding something behind his back, and grinning rather shyly about it. You giggle and make your way to him, stopping a couple feet and rocking on your heels in excitement.
“Sooooo? Whatcha got there?” you ask, and he reveals that he has made a flower crown out of the ones he picked along the way. Your face absolutely radiates happiness as he sets it on your head, and as soon as it's secured you pull Connor down and give him a searing kiss, pulling back to an expression of gleeful surprise on his face.
“I….didn't know you would like it that much. I saw all the flowers and the first thing that came up online was a flower crown,” he says quietly as you give him a hug, his arms wrapping around you and settling on your back.
The time left until the fireworks event is spent with cuddling on the couch and watching Connor's favorite TV show, which happens to be Agents of Shield. You both get through half a season (with no breaks) while time passes by and soon enough the sun is setting, casting a golden glow in the cabin.
You stretch, a yawn escaping your lips while standing up. “Well that was fun! We should set up our chairs outside and wait for the fireworks,” and Connor nods, fixing the flower crown back into place on your hair.
Connor heads outside to the shed while you clean up, grabbing two lawn chairs and the bug zapper, not wanting you to have a bunch of bug bites the next day. He's seen you with them once before, and it sent him into a panic when you said “this is torture, I literally want to die.” It had taken you a couple hours to reassure him that no, you didn't actually want to die, it's a figure of speech.
You meet him outside and carry the equipment down the dirt path and along the road until you reach the dock for the lake, other townspeople having set up along the beach. Connor is content choosing a spot as their own while you head further down and greet the people, all smiles and sunshine. He can hear them complimenting your flower crown, and he waves as you point from the crown to him. He's glad you're enjoying yourself, as he's also had a great time.
He didn't know that things would be so tranquil outside of the city. His only time encountering something even close to this would be in the past with Elijah Kamski's house on the outskirts of town, the blanket of snow and utter silence leaving him with his own thoughts. But your hometown is more lively than that, and the warmth exuded by the landscape has him more at ease.
You return after Connor has the space ready and he's lounging in one of the chairs, staring at the lake.
“How do you like it?” you ask while taking the empty seat, a sigh escaping your lips. The pink and orange hues of the sunset are framing you in an almost mystical light, a smile on your face and flower crown upon your head. He saves the view into his memory banks, preserving the moment forever.
“It's something else. I'm glad we were able to take the time and change the pace we usually move at. If I didn't enjoy working at the precinct so much I would consider moving here. There are so many possibilities with what I could do.” Connor has a thoughtful look on his face as he speaks. You didn't really plan on using the cabin more, but if he likes the area so much you can always plan little getaways when you have the time.
The lightning bugs slowly make their way out as darkness falls on the lake, their lights blinking and reflecting off the body of water, It's almost otherworldly as the noises of the wildlife come into focus, echoing throughout the forest around you.
It only takes ten minutes before a police boat is escorting the fireworks barge into the middle of the lake, and as soon as it's out of the way the show begins.
Bright flashes accompany resounding booms you can feel deep in your chest, and when you turn to Connor it's to an expression of awed wonder, his sensor spinning yellow as he observes. You link your hand with his and squeeze it, getting one in return as he briefly looks at you and smiles.
Connor gasps and points at the ones that really interest him, like the ones that you say resemble fairy lights, and the small ones that look like they're spinning; a quick search online and he finds out they're called silver dragons.
Your favorites are the ones that look like falling leaves and the weeping willow ones, there's just something so aesthetically pleasing about them.
If you had to choose between watching the fireworks and watching Connor, you'd probably choose to watch Connor. You've seen the fireworks almost every year since you were old enough to remember, but there's only one time that Connor will be surprised and excited about seeing them. As sneakily as you can you snap a picture of him with the flash of the fireworks illuminating his face, and he glances your way with a small grin gracing his features.
Forty-five minutes later the finale begins, lighting up the lake with as many fireworks that can fill the sky. Connor taps your shoulder as you're looking on, and when you turn to him he leans over and gives you a slow and deep kiss, cupping your face in his hands. You're left breathless as he gives you a smirk and enjoys the rest of the finale, the biggest and loudest ones outshining everything.