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Underneath My Skin

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Connor’s mind races, he couldn’t stop thinking about what Gavin said earlier this morning at the precinct. Gavin’s words play over and over again, making Connor’s stress levels rise.

Connor was going to the break room to get Hank a coffee. He stopped when he heard Gavin speaking with another office, a new guy named Brad.

“ It’s ridiculous how we have to take android safety courses, waste of an hour if you ask me.” Brad said clearly irritated, Gavin chimes in.

“Fuckin’ stupidity, those tin cans aren’t alive, don’t see the point in taking the courses either, but if we don’t Fowler will be on our asses. Androids think they deserve rights just like us, ridiculous. If people saw what they looked like without their human projections then I doubt Fowler or anyone else here would be treating androids the same as us. Androids try to act like us but they will never be human.” Gavin laughed with bitterness as he took another sip from his Coffee.

Connor decided to go back to his desk, not wanting to deal with Gavin and the new guy.

Hank and Connor spent the rest of their shift filling out reports. Connor always got them down quicker than Hank. Once they finished they drove back home.

Hank always insisted it was their home, which is why he gave Connor his own bedroom. Having his own roo
made Connor feel warm inside. Today however, he felt scared. Gavin’s comments have been bugging Connnor all day.

Connor sat down on his bed and began petting Sumo’s soft fur, his LED pulsating red. Connor obviously knew he was different from humans but he was becoming more comfortable with himself, now he was unsure. He didn’t care about Gavin’s opinion, but he did care about Hank’s.

Hank is Connor’s best friend and the closest thing to a father that he will ever have. Connor knows that Hank cares, but after over hearing that conversation, he’s worried that Hanks will abandon him. Hank has never seen Connor without his skin, and now he definitely won’t. Connor considers his options for a moment then makes a decision. He vows to never deactivate his skin.

Connor was so lost in thought that he didn’t hear Hank knocking on his bedroom door. Sumo’s head moved towards the noise but Connor didn’t notice.

Hank opened Connor’s door hesitantly,”Con, you alright?” Connor looked at Hank with a surprised expression, his LED flashing yellow and red. Hank’s question brought Connor back to reality, Connor’s LED changed to a stable yellow then blue.

“I’m alright Hank, just lost in thought. Did you need something?” Connor Rollie’s trying to keep his voice level. Hank didn’t look convinced.

“Was wondering if you wanted to watch TV with me... you know yah don’t have to bullshit with me Con. If something is wrong you come to me alright?” Hank stepped further into Connor’s room, bridging the gap between them.

“Of course Hank.” Connor smiled in response, then got off the bed. They made their way into the living room, Sumo at Connor’s heels. As Connor and Hank sit downs and watch tv, Connor considers Hank’s words. Connor doesn’t want Hank to see him without his skin projection, he wouldn’t be able to handle it if Hank rejects him. On the other hand if he tells Hank about his fear then maybe Hank will be understanding and not care about what Connor looks like without his skin. Hank’s laughs at a scene playing on the scene, Connor’s attention is brought back to the show

After hours of watching the sports network and a movie on espionage they both decided to turn in, before Hank went into his own room he gently ruffled Connor’s hair.

“Night Son.” Hank smiled and went to his room. Connor smiled from ear to ear, his chest filling with a warmth he couldn’t quite explain. In that moment Connor decided that he liked it a lot when Hank called him son.

When Connor went into stand by mode that night, his LED remained a soft blue. Gavin’s earlier comments slipped from his mind as he closed his eyes.

The next morning Connor made Hank breakfast, he has slowly gotten better at domestic activities. Hank yawned and entered the kitchen, smiling at Connor as he grabbed a plate and some cutlery.

“I’m impressed you didn’t burn down the house trying to fry those eggs, Connor.” Hank said with a smirk. Connor rolled his eyes as he finished making breakfast. “Thanks Con... but you don’t have to do this-“

“I want to Hank,besides it gives me the opportunity to learn how to make multiple kinds of meals.” Connor cut Hank off. Connor smiled and sat down across from the lieutenant.”

“ Yah but...yah can’t actually eat any of it.” Hank replied. Connor responded with a shrug, this was a topic Hank wasn’t going to win so he ate his food then the pair went off to work.

As they drove Hank blasted heavy meta. Connor’s anxiety grew as they got closer to the precinct, he really didn’t want to see Gavin. Every encounter results in Gavin being an asshole, and then Hank gets frustrated and offers to kick Gavin’s ass. Connor has to talk Hank down, and the cycle repeats. Hank once asked Connor why he doesn’t go to Fowler about it, but Connor insists it would just make the situation worse. Even though android laws have been placed and Connor is a recognized member of the Detroit police department, he still doesn’t want to anger the humans he works with, including Gavin Reed. Connor insists he’s fine and that Fowler doesn’t need to get involved.

They arrive at the station and head to their desks. Not long after Fowler, called both of them into his office.Hank and Connor walked into Fowler’s office, and noticed the captain looked uneasy.

“An android was found completely drained of blue blood, downtown. The blood may have been used for the red ice, I want you two to investigate and find this fucker. I’m sending you both the address.”

Connor’s LED cycled, Hank noticed and gently placed his hand on Connor’s shoulder. Connor’s LED returned to blue.

“Of course Captain.” Connor replied.

“Connor and I will catch that son of bitch.” Hank said with anger in his voice. Hank had come a long way, he respected androids and couldn’t stand the thought of people hurting them. Every time Hank received a new report on violence against androids, he imagines Connor’s the one who got attacked. It makes Hank feel sick and disturbed.

They head out of Fowler’s office and go to inspect the crime scene. In the car Connor begins fiddling with his coin, he always does that when he’s anxious. Hank glances over at Connor, then decides to speak up.

“You’re LED’s been turning red a whole lot lately, you know you can talk to me right?” Hank was concerned, and although he wasn’t the best at talking about emotions he really tried with Connor. Hank knew Connor struggled with asking for help and that Connor had been traumatized by all the shit he’s been through.
Connor stopped fiddling with his coin and looked up at the lieutenant.

“ Hank- I know it’s just..” Connor's voice trailed off, not sure what to say. Hank hasn’t given Connor any reason to doubt how much he cares. Connor wanted to tell Hank how much he loves him, but the words never quite reach the surface. Connor knows Hank doesn’t hate androids anymore, but the worry lingers even though it’s irrational. Connor knows that Hank isn’t going to let the topic slide, and if Connor talks to Hank about his android appearance then likely Hank will be understanding and compassionate. Acting on the idea that Hank will react positively is proving extremely difficult, but Connor wants to trust Hank more than anything.

“C’mon kid I know you’re bothered and not just because of the case we’re workin’ today.” Hank sighed, he doesn’t want Connor to run away from his problems. Hank’s been escaping into a bottle for so long, he doesn’t want Connor to escape either. Connor’s been helping Hank with his sobriety and he wants to support Connor too. Connor faltered for a moment then spoke up.

“I guess I am a little bothered by… I want to focus on the case, can we talk about this at home,later?” Connor knew Hank wouldn’t like that answer but he really doesn’t want to talk about it right now. Hank sighs more deeply.

“Alright, I’m holding you to that. We’re here.” Hank stops the car as they arrive in front of the old abandoned house.

“Police have already cleared it, we’ll go in and find as much information as we can, I want to catch this fucker.” Connor's voice betrayed his rage, Hank was a little taken back because Connor doesn’t swear often. Connor scanned the old rotting house, the whole place was crumbling apart. Suddenly, a feeling of dread fills Connor’s chest, he had a bad feeling about this.

Connor’s instincts were right