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Nothing Lost, Only Gained

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When all was said and done, Connor only spent a little over a year with the DPD.

 

There were several months after the revolution, nearly half a year in fact, before Connor was properly re-trained and tested so he could return by Hank’s side in the homicide division. With android rights bubbling up more and more, so were their android-related investigations becoming more and more common.

 

Complete peace and order was never going to be possible, from either side. Many deviants still held grudges, or couldn’t find work. Many turned to drug peddling and under-the-table work, and with Hank’s credentials in narcotics, they helped their colleagues locate a few hot spots to check out.

 

Most of the violence was still instigated by humans, all in all. They had emancipated over a dozen non-deviated androids in the first few months that Connor had returned, many of whom were reverted after memory wipes. They had the toughest time re-adjusting, Connor found. The few times he visited Jericho to check in with victims, it was difficult to see them lashing out or become completely reclusive.

 

He never thought, not for a moment, that any of them would become hyperbolically violent.

 

July of 2040 was a hot one, and with it came a few spikes of violent crime. And nothing about the last crime scene they were called out to, just a week and change after Independence Day, seemed any different than the others at first.

 

A suspect, possibly an android, had stolen a vehicle at gunpoint, and was seen driving to an abandoned steel-working plant. It should have been torn down ages ago, but no one seemed inclined to take over the property.

 

“More trouble than it’s probably worth, I guess,” Hank said as Connor described the location.

 

“I don’t see any records of activity in the DPD database from the last 5 years. However, it’s also not an area we keep very close tabs on,” Connor explained. “I’ll see if I can pull up any traffic cam footage as we get closer.”

Hank gave a sigh, “Here I thought we would get out early and have a quiet night in.” He checked the navigation app on the car’s display. “Still got a ways to go, too. Want me to call that neighbor kid to check on Sumo?”

“That might be for the best,” Connor said, multi-tasking as he sped through the available footage he could find. “I’m sure he would-” 

 

He stopped talking, brows furrowed as he skimmed through the feed. Or, what should have been the camera feed from the last week or two.

“What is it, Con?” Hank asked, turning toward him with concern.

“The nearest five cameras all lost their visuals last week. It was reported as a technical error, but no crews were sent out to correct it.”

“Shit,” Hank hissed, bringing up his speed dial options to call the department office. “Hey, we need more backup at the factory we were dispatched to. Traffic cams are out in the surrounding area. Connor and I will do a perimeter check and wait for backup before entering.”

 

Connor stopped skimming for any footage, glancing at Hank with concern. “We don’t know anything else about this suspect, Hank.”

“I know, I know,” He said. “I don’t like it either… but we have vests in the trunk if we think we need them. And unless someone is in immediate danger, we don’t go in without backup.”

 

Nodding, Connor reached across the console to cover Hank’s hand with his as he continued to drive. “Got it.”

 

There wasn’t much lighting around the facility, so Hank didn’t have much choice but to drive with his headlights (but left the high beams off). He went slow, letting Connor collect and analyze as much as he could. “Previous car tracks, one from earlier, but others from the past two to fifteen days. No security devices planted, including cameras or motion detection along the access road.”

 

Hank nodded, and found a spot to park them just within view of the old factory by the tree line. 

 

Lights and car off, they laid low for a few minutes, looking for any signs of activity.

 

“Definitely android,” Connor said, after a while. “I defected activity but no human-like heat signatures in that truck bay,” he pointed to a section of the exposed interior. “The stolen car is there, too.”

“Looks like we found our guy,” Hank said. A radio broadcast came in shortly after as two patrol cars and Gavin’s rusted old sedan pulled in. 

 

“You say the word, Lieutenant, ” Nines’ voice chimed in through the radio.

 

“Vests on, take different entrances in pairs,” Hank said before they both stepped out of the car. He and Connor took turns fastening vests on one another, sticking close together as Hank signals each group to move in.

 

The two of them go to an exit by the loading bay itself, only prying open and entering through the rusty door one Connor gives the all clear. Their suspect has moved on, they aren’t sure where.

 

They move quietly, and Connor checks in with Nines remotely to compare data. After a few minutes, Nines reports movement on the far side of the facility, he and Gavin are closing in to get a better idea.

 

As they approach, they suddenly hear a few quiet, rhythmic beeps. 

 

“Hank, get do-”

 

The explosion is so close, and so loud, it blows out Connor’s hearing as they are tossed over the railing of the grate walkway they were on. On instinct, Connor manages to latch on to Hank, but they are thrown to the cement below with rubble and shrapnel surrounding them. 

 

All of his sensory data buzzes with too much input, errors and damage reports overwhelming his HUD. He starts manually shutting them off, one by one, and calls out for Hank as best he can. One of his “ears” still sort of works, sound blipping in and out, but he could definitely hear Hank’s voice, strained and raspy.

 

“D-don’t-” Connor’s voice glitched. “Don’t try to move, Hank, in case you have a head injury.”

Hank grunted and coughed, “Couldn’t if I - aaaaugh - wanted to,” he panted. “What about you?”

The information flashed before him of his most critical injuries. “Several components malf-alfunctioning, thirium loss, but I am cutting those section off now…” 

 

Finally, he opened his eyes. Dust was still hanging in the air and settling slowly, the world in monotone to conserve his energy. He struggled to move, sitting up only slightly, enough to look over Hank for a full assessment. 

 

Like a punch to the gut, he saw a large piece of debris had trapped Hank’s right arm. 

 

Finally, he heard Nines come through with a remote interface, his body running another scan to send data to his successors.

“Connor?! Can you hear me? We’re on our way.”

As he scanned Hank again, he was already planning, assessing, reaching down to take a direct pulse and kiss his forehead in reassurance. 

 

“Nines… Hank is severely injured, can you-”

 

“I called an ambulance the moment the explosives went off. Hang in there .”

 

Hank’s eyes fluttered back as he tried to fight off losing consciousness. 

 

“H-H-old on, H-H-Hank-” 

 

His own stress levels were climbing fast as Hank’s vitals fluctuated before his eyes, more data coming in as he processed everything. His arm was crushed in so many places, recovery would be difficult, let alone the signs of concussion; at least his back sustained minor damage given their fall.

Everything went dark for a moment as he suddenly rebooted, coming back online to hear Hank frantically shaking him with his free arm.

“I’m okay…” he uttered out, blinking back awake. “System reboot.”

“Jesus Chris, you scared the shit out of me!” Hank said, wincing through it in pain.

Connor could just about cry seeing the pain in his face, “Nines is… Nines and Gavin are coming, and an ambulance.” He stayed right beside Hank, every moment feeling stretched out until suddenly Nines was beside him, goading him to help as he and Gavin tried to move the piece of concrete wall to unpin Hank. 

 

“Shitshitshitfuckshit-” Gavin spitted out, trying hard as he could despite being significantly weaker than either of the two androids.

After repositioning himself, Connor found a better angle, and nearly drained the rest of his battery and structural integrity to get the giant weight from Hank’s arm. He swore loudly in relief, a sort of ‘thank you’, just in time for sirens to be heard coming down the access road.

 

Connor was knelt beside him, wiping the clammy sweat from his forehead. “Just a little longer Hank, it’ll be okay.”

 

They could both hear Gavin puking a few yards away, probably from the gruesome state of Hank’s arm, exchanging worried, wry smiles.


“I don’t think I’m-”

“Don’t say it,” Connor interrupted, holding his good hand fiercely. “Just don’t. Please, just keep breathing.”

 

Once the ambulance pulled in, Connor lost his sense of time. He stepped to the side to let them look Hank over, but his body felt tight and tired from worry. They started to put a collar around Hank’s neck to lift him to a stretcher, and when Connor’s fingers clenched he felt Nines wrap his fingers around the fist, opening an interface.

 

A small reprieve, his stress levels were pulled down from critical.

“I know you’re worried, but barring any complications, Lieutenant Anderson has a high chance of survival.” 

 

The interface faded out as one of the EMT’s invited Connor to join them, but as he stepped forward, his system forced another reboot.





As Connor woke up, the first thing he noticed was how much time had passed. It was nearly 6 hours after he had rebooted at the crime scene, and as the memories flooded back to him, his eyes shot open and he sat up.

 

The room he was in was cold, clean and sterile. A quick GPS search told him he was at the old CyberLife tower, the new Jericho headquarters. 33rd Floor, one of three dedicated to repairs and upgrades.

 

“Connor?”

 

He was caught and held by the shoulders, by Nines, whose usually stoic, calmness was replaced with a deep frown of worry. He opened an interface on contact, pulling Connor closer to embrace him.

 

“Thank goodness you’re okay. For a minute there, we were worried your systems had suffered too much damage. You pushed yourself too hard, Eights.”

 

Connor relaxed into him, the nickname helping to calm him. “I feel like shit,” he replied quietly, causing Nines to huff. “What about Hank?”

 

Taking in a long breath, Nines connected Connor to a video feed from a hospital downtown. He wasn’t sure how, or if it was even legal, but he could see right into a surgery room, with Hank laying down with drapes across him already. 

 

“His arm… his arm is being removed. The damage was too substantial.”

 

“Does he know?” Connor asked, in the corner of his vision the words “Mission Failed” flickered.

 

Nines must have seen it too, because the notification disappeared and he was reprimanded gently. “None of that, now. You were also badly injured, in case you forgot. But yes, the paramedics discussed it with him in the ambulance, and he consented to the surgery. He is lucky that he does not need a temporary induced coma.”

 

Connor watched through the camera’s lense for another moment or so as the small crowd of doctors gathered supplies and read aloud Hank’s vitals as they began.

 

“He is getting a bionic limb, by the way.”

The sudden change in hearing Nines say it outloud, let alone the news, made Connor sit up and break their connection. “What?”

“It appears Kamski caught wind of what happened, though I can’t imagine how. He has apparently improved upon CyberLife’s previous versions, and is custom building it as we speak to be delivered to the hospital.”

 

Connor squinted; he still didn’t trust Kamski on a good day. “And you… you don’t know why?”

Shrugging, Nines stood up to bring Connor a comfortable change of clothes. “I suspect he has not forgotten about trying to test you, and knows what you and Hank did to turn the tide of the revolution. He is likely trying to make reparations, while also buttering up public opinion.”

“Of course he is,” Connor sighed, cautiously swiveling in the bed to stand up on his own. He looked at the folded pile of clothes a little wearily. 

 

“Would you like to go to the hospital, or home, first?” Nines asked. “Hank will likely be in surgery for a few more hours.

 

“I guess home…” Connor said, pulling the t-shirt over his head and shoulders. “Our neighbor walked Sumo, but he may be a little hungry and confused.”

 

“Let’s go, then.”



They drove to Hank’s, and now Connor’s, house. Let Sumo outside to sniff around the yard, despite it being so painfully early in the morning. At least he didn’t howl or bark, and was more than happy to curl up on their bed with a belly full of food when Connor told him they would be back soon.

 

The hospital was… awful. Connor had been to the hospital before, for Hank even, when he had a mild heart attack. It wasn’t as intensive as surgery, mostly just a talk with doctors about some prescriptions and lifestyle changes (which, ironically, Hank was already working on).

 

But this time, Connor wasn’t with him for most of it. He said anxiously in the waiting area with Nines, who graciously handled the paperwork that they were given upon entry. It was a few more torturous hours before a nurse called for them, and gave them directions of where to go.

 

Connor walked briskly, sometimes a little too fast, and Nines would take him by the shoulder to ground him. They took the elevator and meadered to the row of recovery rooms, and Connor was a little on edge when he saw Kamski and a surgeon conversing just outside Hank’s door.

 

“Ahh, Connor! It’s good to see you,” Kamski smiled, extending his hand out to Connor.

 

Sensing his discomfort, Nines took it instead. “This was very generous of you, Mr. Kamski.”

 

The technology tycoon didn’t seem to mind the other RK stepping in, “The Lieutenant has a long history protecting this city. It seemed fitting to do something in return. The DPD will lose a good one with his discharge.”

Discharge… that’s right.

 

It wasn’t something that Connor had taken even a moment to consider, but even with bionics to help replace it, Hank couldn’t stay in his position. He’d be lucky if he got desk duty until he retired, which he had been talking about anyway, but… it was so soon. 

 

Would they reassign Connor to a different division? A new partner?

 

He snapped back into the conversation as they were invited into the room, and he nearly pushed himself through to get to Hank’s bedside first.

 

“He’s still under,” one of the nurses noted, in case they thought Connor was surprised to see he was still unconscious. Of course he would be, Connor knew that, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel relieved seeing most of Hank in one piece. He saw where the flesh met metal at the shoulder, wondering if it was safe to touch as his hand already reached out. Instead, he settled to comb a few loose strands of silver from Hank’s face. He wasn’t focused on them before, but he realized there were an assortment of small cuts and a bruise or two on Hank’s handsome face and his other arm.

 

“Did he have any other injuries?”

 

The nurse smiled gently as she sat opposite him, “Some significant bruising on his back and legs, a few lacerations that have been disinfected and closed. One on his legs needed stitches, we gave him a booster shot for tetanus just to be sure.”

 

Connor nodded, though his eyes stayed on Hank’s form, “Thank you.”

 

“Would you like to hear about how his new arm will work?” Kamski chimed in from behind, and Connor could almost hear Nines roll his eyes from across the room.

But he nodded with a sigh, “It would be good to know how it works, in case minor repairs are needed.”

 

He didn’t particularly enjoy hearing Kamski talk, honestly finding his voice a little grating, but there was no denying that the man was still a genius. He explained how the arm currently attached was only a “standard” model, that Hank’s custom one would be fitted later that afternoon. It would use the same appearance tech as androids to make it look like it truly belonged to Hank.

“If you have any more detailed data, Connor, we can program it to look exactly as it was.”

“U-um-” 

 

“Every body hair and pore, freckles, scars, the whole sha-bang… I brought my laptop with me to make any final adjustments for his comfort, if you happen to have such data?”

Connor’s face heated up; of course he did. He had every inch of Hank memorized, it was just a matter of rendering the images in a format Kamski could use. 


“Apparently, more realistic limbs can reduce emotional trauma, and even phantom limb pain, according to the doctors here. I think it’s worth getting the details in, don’t you?” Kamski said, putting over a rolling tray table and replacing the standard laptop on it with his own. “If you don’t mind, of course.”

 

“No, no, of course not.” He didn’t like that he had to leave Hank’s side, but the nurse assured him that he would wake up soon anyway. At some point, Nines had disappeared, as did the Chloe that Kamski had with him, so besides the assigned nurse who stopped it, it was just him and Kamski working together for a little while. After comparing notes, data points, and sending the files to Kamski to work with, it seemed to only take a few clicks before the bionic arm rippled as the synthskin activated. 

 

With a gasp, Connor had to admit he was impressed. It really did look like it was Hank’s arm, with every little detail, down to his fingerprints.

 

“Well?” Kamski nudged him, goading for a compliment. “Is it satisfactory.”

Connor sat on the edge of the hospital bed, hands hovering. “May I?” He asks, before Kamski gives him a nod of approval that he can touch the bionic arm.

 

It looks… perfect. It’s a little uncanny valley at first, but he did have very detailed files for Kamski to work with. Even the texture, Hank’s glorious, slightly roughened hands, the squish in the meat of his palm, it’s all just… overwhelming. “It isn’t warm.”

 

Kamski’s mouth opened slightly, breaking into a sideways smirk. “Surely, once he begins regular use of it, it’ll warm up just like any machine. It may not be ninety-eight point six on the dot, but it won’t stay room temperature for long.”

 

Connor nodded slightly in acknowledgement, still enraptured with the realism of it. He wondered if Hank ever felt the same about him, in awe of how some simple aesthetics can make something that isn’t made of cells and water and blood, and make it seem just as realistic.

 

“Thank you, Elijah,” Connor said softly. “Really, I don’t know how I can-”

“Connor,” Kamski said, closing his laptop. “I assure you, I didn’t do this to be repaid in any way. Think of it as… personal reparations for you, for what CyberLife, and myself, put you through.” 

 

Not quite sure how to reply, Connor gave a quieter “thank you” before turning back to Hank, placing a gentle kiss on the bionic hand. It wasn’t that different. It was still Hank that it was attached to, after all, and that’s all that he cared about right now.

 

Nines returned a little while later, only to inform Connor he needed to help Gavin at the precinct, and that Fowler had granted both of him and Hank paid leave for the time being. The incident at the warehouse had become quite the news story, and he didn’t want them getting bombarded with reporters until they were out of the hospital.

 

Hank stayed asleep for a while longer, long enough that Connor had entered a brief stasis, only to wake up to see a new nurse come in to check everything. They announced that Hank would probably wake up in the next few hours or so, which made Connor perk up a little. 

 

He was glad he had no reason to leave too soon; Sumo was checked on by their neighbors, and he didn’t need to eat or drink, so he could stay right by Hank’s side until he woke up.

 

Of course, this didn’t happen until well into the evening.

 

Connor felt himself slipping into stasis again; exhausted with worry and trying to process his account of what happened for the investigation for Nines and Gavin. That’s when he heard the faintest little “holy shit” before seeing Hank’s eyes open for the first time since the EMT’s took him away on the stretcher.

Just like it was supposed to, even the bionic arm twitched with life.

 

Connor wanted to throw himself on top of Hank to hold him, but restrained himself to just settle the gentle weight of his hand over Hank’s chest.

“Good morning, handsome,” he whispered, lips wobbling as Hank blinked hard with recognition. “Are you in any pain?”

 

“Fuuuuckk,” Hank groaned, squinting. “Why is it so damn bright in here?”

“Oh-” Connor turned, then jumped up to turn down the dial to dim the overhead lights. He sat back down, unable to hold back anymore as he took Hank’s face in his hands. “Better?”

“Mmmph,” Hank grunted, and nuzzled ever-so-slightly into Connor’s hand. “Still feels like there’s a big ball of sunlight right in front of me,” he said, a smile just big enough to let on that he was teasing. “It’s kinda nice though.”

 

Connor felt the miniscule mechanisms in his face churn, the ones that caused him to cry. He couldn’t help it anymore, too many emotions rushing through him.

 

“Hey, hey, baby…” Hank cooed. “See? I’m still here, you didn’t lose me.”

“I almost did,” Connor replied, looking down. 

 

It was Hank’s turn to look worried, now, and without even thinking about it he raised both his arms up to hold Connor’s hands. “I thought I was going to lose you , when you collapsed back there, and-”

And there it was. Realization. Connor knew it was coming, and gave a dry laugh as Hank looked at his own hands in confusion. His right hand, he clenched and rotated, moving each finger individually. “Uhhh, Connor? What the fuck?” 

 

Connor took the right hand in both of his. “You received a very generous donation in the form of a new arm. A bionic one, at that.”

 

As if skeptical, Hank continued to flex his hand, then reached out to touch Connor’s hair, his face, finding his hands again. 

 

“Holy fucking shit,” he gasped. “This is the real deal. It doesn’t even… it doesn’t feel any different, really.”

 

Scooting closer, Connor leaned down to meet Hank for a kiss, a blossom of joy in his chest when Hank returned it in kind.

 

“I’m like… the Winter Soldier, now.”

Connor snorted, “When we get home, maybe we should watch some of those movies.”

 

“As soon as they let me outta here, baby.”




Hank was kept there for another few days, at least until he could walk up and down the hospital wing without getting too tired. Fowler, Gavin, and even Ben took turns visiting, giving Connor a chance to go home to check on things and make preparations for Hank’s return. Even Sumo seemed to have a feeling something was up on his last trip before bringing Hank home, tail thumping against the wood floor. He even made two batches of cookies for the nurses (one batch that were thirium-based for the android ones), just as a little thank you for taking care of Hank (and Connor, to a lesser extent) while they were there.

 

With his various visits back to their house, it didn’t quite feel like home again until Connor was walking Hank up to the front door, Sumo’s whines penetrating through.

 

“I’m comin’, Sumies, I’m comin’.”

 

Sumo got a little too excited, it seemed, because there was a wet patch at the edge of the living room rug when they got in. But, to his credit, the dog didn’t jump up, just continued whining when Hank came into view and nuzzled his face right into Hank’s hands.

“Why don’t you two sit on the couch for a bit?” Connor suggested, earning a nod from Hank as he baby-talked his 180-pound pup. There were a few things Connor had to get from the car still, and by the time he brought everything in and had cleaned the pee from the old, worn rug, his two favorite beings in the world were cuddled up and fast asleep on the couch. 

 

There would be a lot of that for a while, Connor knew. Hank was still recovering, and his sleep wasn’t always deep or for very long. He started distributing medication in an organizer at the kitchen table, listening to the soft sounds of snores come from the couch.

 

He let his mind wander a bit while taking care of the easy task, searching for recovery advice, information on lost limbs, anything he could find. He had been so focused on Hank just making it out of the hospital, he barely had time to think about what happens after. 

 

After searching through a few sites, he even messaged Nines to cross-reference some information for him, and was sent back a website link, and a suggestion.

 

“Have the two of you considered moving?”

 

The attached link was for an android-friendly realtor, with a few houses in the Detroit suburbs and beyond listed.

 

Connor replied, “It’s an idea. Hank mentioned once that, before I came around, he debated moving further away if he made it to retirement. But we can’t move too far if I continue with the DPD.”

There was a brief pause before another message from Nines pinged into his vision. “If?” 

 

If. 

 

He knew Hank might object, for one reason or another. Connor did enjoy his work, to an extent; but when Hank retired there was no real financial need for him to stay on with the DPD. But, as Hank liked to point out, Connor had a lot of options now that employment for androids was a little easier. Or, he could start his own business, which was something Markus said was slated for later that year to be discussed in Congress.

 

Either way, there was no reason why they needed to stay where they were. This house was sentimental to them, in some ways. It was meant to be a place where Hank was resigned to endure until retirement or death came for him. There were a lot of memories, good and bad, that lingered in every room like ghosts. But those weren’t good enough reasons for Connor to want to stay. 

 

On the website Nines sent him, there was a cozy, old farmhouse listed, that was well within what they could afford, with a few areas that needed some TLC. It had a nice yard, much larger than what Sumo sniffed around now. And there were a few bedrooms; some room for them to grow.

 

He tucked away the pictures to show Hank later, when they were settling into bed.

 

By the time Hank woke up, Connor had skipped making him lunch and settled on an early dinner, something with a bit more substance. The smell of cumin and chili permeated the air as he tossed the chicken and veggies in the pan, a smile spreading across his cheeks as Hank hugged him from behind.

 

“Smells good, baby,” he said, voice low and sleepy. “Want help with anything?”

“You can get yourself some lemonade, there’s a fresh batch in the fridge.”

 

Hank chuckled, going to the fridge and pulling out the plastic pitcher. “I still find it funny how that powdery mix shit tastes so different from the real thing. Ma used to buy the big tubes of mix with the little scoop in them, and we’d make it so strong.” He poured some into a glass, using his fingers to scoop a few of the berries that floated on top, and fished out a paper straw from one of the drawers. 

 

“So,” Connor smiled, “How is it?”

He took a sip, and Connor noted how his eyes rolled in a little. “That’s the good stuff, all right.”

 

Dinner was a quiet affair, as Connor left Hank to his meal while he did a remote interview with Nines regarding the incident at the warehouse. They went through Connor’s footage together, analyzed details with their joint processing toward the case, and ended with Nines sending over some of Hank’s discharge paperwork. 

 

By the time Connor was “back”, Hank had finished, put away the leftovers, and was just running the faucet to let the pan soak.

“I’ll take care of that later, honeybear-”

 

With a snort, Hank flipped the faucet off. “I know you will, just giving you a headstart.” He stretched, a yawn overtaking him. “Fuck, why am I tired again already?”

Connor offered an apologetic look, “It might be like that for a while. Wanna lay down in bed and watch a movie?”

 

“Mmmm, I think we already have one picked out, right?”

With Sumo close behind, they retreated to the cool, air-conditioned bedroom, and Connor waited until Hank was undressed and situated before draping a sheet and an old quilt over him. He removed his own clothes, replacing them with just a fresh change of boxer briefs, and curled in next to him as he switched on the television in the bedroom to play Winter Soldier.

They didn’t get through the first few scenes before they (well, mostly Connor), got a little more handsy. It started innocently enough, his hands softly caressing Hank’s belly and side, eventually working their way up. He went to rub a spot toward the back of Hank’s ribs, and heard him hiss softly.

 

“Tender?”

 

Hank nodded, “Yeah, just a bruise. I’m okay, though.”

 

Humming to himself, Connor sat up slightly and pulled the covers away to take a closer look. There were a number of scars, some new, some old. “Want me to get an ice pack? Or some of that cream that Ben gave you?”

“Uhh, you don’t have to-”

 

Connor kissed his nose, “But what if I want to?” He rolled off the bed, throwing a wink to Hank as he gathered some supplies. Ben had brought Hank a gift bag of stuff from their colleagues, with the words “Treat Yo Self” written on the side, which ranged from bruise cream, to chocolates, to a bottle of pearly nail polish. Connor noted that Hank didn’t comment on it at the hospital, but when he thought Connor wasn’t looking, he held it up to his nails to see how the color looked. 

 

He got the cream from the bathroom, as well as a cloth which he soaked and wrung out with some cool water, and when he came back into the bedroom he climbed over Hank’s legs to straddle his legs.

 

The cream was slick, and cool to the touch, and he carefully dabbed little drops of it over the larger bruises, gently massaging it in.

 

Hank closed his eyes, “Mmmm.. that’s really nice.”

 

Taking his time, Connor worked his way to Hank’s shoulders and in-tact arm, checking on some of the healing cuts as well. “How’s that cut on your leg?”

 

“Ehhh,” Hank shrugged a little. “Not bad, just feels weird. Stitches always weirded me out.”

 

“What if I kissed it? Would that make it better?”

With a short bark of a laugh, Hank smiled widely. “Your kisses make everything fuckin’ better.”

 

That was permission enough for Connor to carefully get each little cut or scar under his lips; starting with the small one near one of Hank’s eyebrows and working his way down. He even did a few on the bionic arm, because the old scars were still visible even if they were now cosmetic, and Hank didn’t comment on it anyway. 

 

He trailed his way down, leaving a big smooch over an old scar from when Hank had his appendix removed (since it had long, long since healed over), finding the big, stitched cut on the side of his thigh. It was protected with a self-adhesive bandage, so he only pecked around the perimeter of it, not daring to cause Hank to flinch with pain. “Better?”

 

“Better than anything, baby.”

 

Giving a coy glance, Connor tugged away at Hank’s boxers, nosing into the wiry hair as more and more became exposed. “What about here?” 

 

Hank’s dick twitched with interest, but he only moaned his approval as his head leaned back. They couldn’t do anything too intense, not yet, but Connor could still do this for him.

 

He licked up from the base to the tip, the wrinkled skin slowly going taught as Hank grew more erect. “Oh fuck, Con-” 

 

It didn’t take long before Connor was enthusiastically taking the head in his mouth, letting his tongue swirl just under the slightly flared head, making Hank shiver. Almost painfully slow, he sunk down onto it, working his way in increments until his lips were stretched around the base, and he came up and off with a little pop. Hank sighed happily, eyes closed by brows pinched with want, which was Connor’s cue to keep going.

 

He bobbed happily, at a moderate pace to start, taking Hank in until the tip hit the back of his throat each time. Hank’s hands found his head, like they usually do, stroking his face and playing with his hair.

 

When the fingers of Hank’s right hand combed through his brown curls, Connor felt a fuzzy, almost dizzy feeling, and was suddenly lost in what he was doing. It was strange, almost like what he imagined being underwater with closed eyes would be like.

 

He would’ve kept going, but Hank pulled his hand away and exclaimed “Oh shit!” 

 

Connor perked up, “What wrong?” 

 

Hank was panting, hand clenched and close to his chest, but slowly let it relax. “My arm was… it was doing that thing, that thing that… that happens to you sometimes.” Connor met him with a confused look, but gave Hank a minute to sort his thoughts and explain. “Where your skin disappears, and I can see your chassis. I had-” He huffed, almost in amusement. “I almost forgot my whole fuckin’ arm was replaced, and I saw my skin disappear and it scared the shit out of me.”

 

“Oh,” Connor said with soft sympathy, climbing off of Hank to sit beside him. “Oh, honeybear.”

 

“I’m- I’ll be okay, just freaked me out for a minute.” He said, letting Connor wrap his arms around him and kiss his shoulder. “Did you- did you feel anything?”

“It felt off, I didn’t really know why I didn’t stop. It wasn’t like when I interface with Nines; it felt almost… comforting? A bit murky but not bad.” Even now, just moments after it happened, he couldn’t quite explain it. “What about you?”

Hank nodded, “It felt… kinda tingly? I wasn’t sure if it was the drugs or something at first.”

 

“Just your arm, or…?”

“No, no,” Hank muttered, looking at his hand again as if to look for some sort of answer. “No, I felt it like across my chest, too. Maybe my head a little?”

 

Worried, Connor took his arm carefully to inspect it. “I don’t know much about bionics, there isn’t much that is publicly available beyond that it uses similar tech to how androids are able to move and interpret physical touch.” 

 

They were both quiet as Connor tried to do another internet search, frustration growing on his face, before Hank nudged him. “I mean… it didn’t hurt. I don’t think it’s bad or anything.”

 

“But it could,” Connor pointed out. 

 

“Hey,” Hank rolled on his good side, toward Connor, pulling him into a cuddle. “You’re worrying about something that isn’t a problem. I think we would know if it could hurt me by now, right? I mean, fuck, we weren’t even paying attention to it.” 

 

He held Connor close, who gave a half-hearted shrug. “I suppose so.”

“Would it help if I said I wanna try it again?”

 

“Hank, are you sure?” Connor asked, pulling away to study Hank’s face. He knew he could be a little too worried sometimes, always overthinking or over-analyzing, but he truly had no idea how dangerous it could be (or not be, for that matter.)

But Hank just gave a soft nod, letting his right hand fall open for Connor hold. “Yeah. If it backfires, we’ll stop, I won’t ask again if it’s that bad. I just can’t help being curious about it, ya know? LIke if we could…”

 

“... could really interface,” Connor finished. He brought his hand up to Hank’s, taking a moment to resign himself to try, before letting their palms slide together and fingers entwine. “I’ll adjust some of my protocols so it’s a one-way connection to start.”

 

“Any, uhhh, advice on how to do this?” Hank asked.

 

“Close your eyes,” Connor suggested, just as he did too. “Just try to focus on the connection itself. Not how it feels when we touch, but deeper than that.”

 

It did take a moment, but it must have been working, because the odd, now almost floaty-feeling came back. It wasn’t too strong, which was probably for the best for now, but Connor thought he could see and feel bits and pieces of… something. In increments, things became more clear, like a camera lens trying to focus on a subject. 

 

Normally when he checked Hank’s vitals, it wasn’t more than just data and small visuals in his HUD, but with this, he could really feel it. The way his pulse thudded through him, the heat and warmth from his body, something scrambled in the middle. There were words he couldn’t quite make out, untranslatable, the edges of a million thoughts racing through Hank’s mind that was just not quite close enough.

 

It was all Hank, and he could drown in it.

 

He probably would have, if he didn’t feel Hank rub his hand and hear him call his name. Connor snapped out of the interface, entranced, the cotton-y fuzz of it lingers in his fingertips.

 

“Hey, you good?”

Connor nodded, his gyroscope unsteady as a boat in choppy water. “Yeah, I’m okay. It was… interesting.”

Stroking Connor’s cheek with his other hand, Hank looked at him gently, “Good interesting?”

 

“I think so. And, you feel okay?” 

 

“Yeah,” Hank smiled. “Felt kinda nice, actually. Like, my arm is a bit more sensitive, but not in a painful kind of way,” he explained, rotating the bionic arm at the shoulder. “I kinda had an idea, if you’re up to it.”

 

Connor merely nodded, letting Hank’s hand wander, the skin beneath his fingers on Connor’s body fading in and out. It always felt more sensitive without the synth-skin on, so this felt… odd. Almost like a massage.

 

When Hank got closer to his dick, stroking Connor’s pelvis nearby in question, Connor nodded and moved in closer to make it easier.

And... oh

 

He gasped it outloud, curling into himself from the delicious stimulation as his cock responded in kind. Connor flushed all over, skin fizzling away in patches, hands flying to Hank’s chest to steady himself.

 

Hank chuckled, but kept up his firm, rhythmic pace, “You like that, sugar?”

 

“Y-y-yeah-mmmmmph!” Connor’s hips twitched, his mind hazy as it tries to interface while also processing the pleasure that rocked through him with every stroke of Hank’s hand. Before he could warn Hank, all the barriers came down and he grabbed Hank’s arm as the room seemed to drift in and out of existence.

 

He knew Hank could feel it too, even if it was to a lesser extent, but he moaned in sync with Connor, amplified a million times in their connection. The divide between them seemed to disappear, crumbling down to almost nothing, the same thoughts of feelings of love and desire caught in their combined little echochamber. They both swore, as Hank would be right now. They were both biting their lip, as Connor does when he gets close.

 

It became too much, all of it. The connection thundered with stimulation, becoming unstable in a way that made them sensitive all over. 

 

They came at the same time too, a flash of white as a pleasurable wave washed them back to shore and the connection severed. 

 

Connor came out of a reboot trembling, realizing what had happened, how good it felt, but also that Hank had managed to come untouched. He was barely aware of anything more when he asked if Hank was all right.

Breathing hard, Hank tried to answer once or twice before he finally wheezed out a “Hell yes.” He collapsed back into his pillow, and in exhaustion, Connor did the same instead of cuddling him like he usually did. They weren’t exactly lacking in intimacy after that, and his systems were overwhelmed and overheated as it was.

 

It was only then that they both realized the movie was still playing, nearing its own climax, and Hank chuckled at some joke that he managed to catch as his ears stopped ringing.

 

“Fuck,” he said, somehow tenderly. “That sure was something, huh?”

 

“Yeah…” Connor smiled, basking in how new and wonderful it all felt. “Fuck.

With a chuckle, Hank flopped a hand in the middle of the bed, the option for Connor to take hold of it, which he eventually did. “I guess that’s something to add to the usual rotation now, huh? Damn… wonders of technology.”

“Wonders, indeed,” Connor agreed, finally letting his eyes squint open. He wanted to save every moment of this that he could, just as he did with every other new thing they had done, and will do. How wonderful it all is, was, will be.