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Who We Used To Be. "Were we...?" "We Were."

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Life is but a dream to Hank Anderson now.

Back then, his whole family never loved him. He never exposed his emotions and inner troubles to his few friends- one of them being Jeffery Fowler- he’s had during his school years. He didn’t want to seem mentally weak to others and what would have been the point to do so? His friends would have done nothing to solve and ease him of his deepest problems with his whole family. So, Hank just dealt with it.

He always had.

His father was a mad drunk while his mother was a selfish and careless drug dealer. He never had siblings. His cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmothers- you name it- never had a care in the world for him. It didn’t really help that he seemed lackluster of empathy and extrovertedness. Hank was always an introvert and distant for the most part. However, he always did have empathy deep inside; he just never showed it because his family never would’ve earned it if he did.

Because of Hank’s cruel family, they made him into the man he was when he first met his wife. Her name was Annice Anderson. She never bothered telling him her real last name because she was embarrassed by it. Now, he wished she did so he could really tell her how he truly feels about her.

Before his first real loss; before his first real miracle; he met Annice at a fancy restaurant. They had salads, meats, and so forth, even though he was never that crazy about vegetables. Nonetheless, he still had a bowl of salad just so he could appease her for the whole rest of the time they had together.

Next, they trekked to a movie theater and watched a cheesy romance together. Internally, Hank was throwing up. Sadly, he had to keep up an act of his own just like the actors in the movie and gave her a strained smile the whole way through.

He realized he was being a hypocrite feeling that way.

But, like most things, he didn’t care.

The only person who made his very being bright was always Annice. Her white smile was everything he could’ve ever asked for. She was a flower forever blossoming into the sun without ever a trace of withering away. Annice was the first and only person he really loved.

Because of that fact, Hank soon proposed to Annice once he moved out of his corrupt home and started living in a new place for him and her. Her eyes shed quite a few tears and she said many thank yous. Annice embraced him for a pregnant pause. Once they let go of each other, their whole life was full of constant planning from there on out.

At least a decade later, she became pregnant with their first child. Of course, that baby ended up being Cole. Their precious son.

When Cole was a toddler, Hank taught his boy how to walk and Annice taught him verbal communication. There were very few troubles when raising their son. Hank did have to jump to drastic measures once when Cole was only 4 years old.

Cole was 5 and went to Kindergarten. Hank hoped that his son made more friends than he ever did back in school himself. Luckily, the boy did. Girls and boys alike. Everyone, even the teachers, seemed to love him. Hank wanted to hug his son forever, but he was never that good at exposing his emotions that well, even then. So, when Cole went home and told the good news to his parents, Hank could only verbally congratulate him while Annice embraced the shining boy in her soft but thin arms.

There was a day when Hank finally hugged his son without hesitation. It was when Cole passed Kindergarten with all A’s. Annice placed smooches all over the boy’s giggling face while Hank embraced him for dear life while patting the back of his head. Since then, Hank showed him more physical affection from there on out.

Then, Cole became 6 years old. Right on the boy’s birthday, androids became an American success. Hank and Annice were wary of the idea of androids living alongside humans. Cole was the only one who seemed excited and open to the idea thus far. Hank only thought of it as a kid’s innocent take on life itself. He never thought any deeper than feeling afraid that all androids were going to turn into the Terminator himself.

Not even more than a month later, something horrible happened to the father and son. Someone crashed into Hank’s car as he was driving his son home from 1st grade. Within Hank’s hurting brain, he knew it must’ve been a drunk person who crashed into him head-on in such a forceful way. Hank slowly looked right behind him and saw a horrifying sight. Cole laid there almost like a ragdoll with a cracked-up head. He was definitely bleeding more profusely than Hank was. The old man desperately called 911. Luckily, they came to Hank quickly because he’s a Lieutenant after all.

There seemed to be no human nurses or doctors in sight. There was only one android there to take care of his dying son. Hank was enraged. He started pounding on his car window as the android took his son away. The last of the human doctors he saw were smoking on some weird red-fogged drugs as they lazily entered their hospital truck and drove away with his poor son.

At least the police officers were being more considerate on helping him to the hospital as well. That was the only time he was glad that he’s a Lieutenant.

Hank was in the waiting room as he waited for the android to finish its operation on his almost dead son. It didn’t take that long for everyone to realize Cole was dead and not even the android could do anything about it. Hank’s eyes were filled with deep pain and fury once the android appeared into the waiting room with a facial expression that Hank knew it was only programmed to do so. “Sorry for your son’s loss. We ensure that we will do better here as doctors and nurses next time.” Then, the android left without turning back.

He didn’t even get to say goodbye.

Once Hank made it home, Annice advanced right into his face and they both had their first and last intense shouting match with each other.

“Why did you get our son killed!?”

“It wasn’t my fault! The other driver crashed into me!”

“If you paid attention, you would’ve avoided them!”

“It all happened too fast and unexpected, Annice!”

“Pff, that’s what the other driver would’ve said!”

“Are you fucking kidding me right now!? I loved Cole too much to cause him harm like that! Who do you think I am to you, huh!?”

“... Maybe I should’ve taken you more into consideration seriously when it came to your distance problems. You may be lacking more empathy than you realize.”

“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ON ABOUT!?”

“WHAT I’M SAYING IS THAT YOU REALLY NEVER CARED ABOUT ANYONE THIS WHOLE FUCKING TIME! WHAT DID YOU THINK I SAID!?”

“...” Hank’s eyes were becoming a little wet at that moment, but never dared to shed one tear as his emphatic face lingered.

“Hank,” she sighed, “we’re getting a divorce.”

“... W-Wait, no. Y-You can’t do that!”

“Actually, yes I can! I don’t feel safe or happy around you anymore. You got our son killed, after all. For that, we’re getting a divorce and that’s final. ” Her face was deadpan when they looked into each other’s eyes for the last time, then she got up and left him for good without glancing back at his broken expression.

For the first time in his life, he drank a whole beer bottle in one sitting. Of course, he passed out for the rest of the night. He knew from that point on drinking beer would become his excessive habit. He needed a great way to keep these clouded dark thoughts away from himself, so it was the only way(in his opinion) to deal with that. The one thing he did make sure to never do was drive while drunk.

… And then, he met Connor… 

His life had a new beginning.