Disclaimer: I do not own Detroit: Become Human, yadda yadda yadda...now onto a short oneshot dedicated to Hank Anderson for his birthday! Rated T for Hank's mouth. Enjoy!
September 6th, 2039 – 4:21 P.M
The bullpen was a mess of activity. Officers and detectives worked at their desks, typing on their terminals or taking calls. Phones constantly rang, voices shouted back and forth, and bodies weaved through desks in a relentless habitat.
Lieutenant Hank Anderson could hardly focus on his work. Today was busier than usual it seemed, and he swore he cursed at Gavin to shut the fuck up at least three times within the last hour. He was tempted to put some headphones in. He might could get more done with heavy metal blasting his eardrums than the constant hum of the police department in the background.
It had been a usual Tuesday, not like Connor or Hank had weekends off or anything, their shifts changed by the week. The fact it was his birthday played no importance either. Connor suggested taking the day off to "celebrate", but Hank told his partner he hadn't taken a day off for a birthday in twenty years. To him, it was just another day.
Hank took a sip of coffee, shifting his position in his seat as he typed up the case report for a crime scene they had just returned from. He glanced up at Connor, who sat at the connecting desk across from Hank. With a huff of breath, he wasn't surprised to see the RK800 staring off into space again.
Hank had no clue why, but Connor had been acting strange for the past few weeks. He was easily side-tracked, lost focus during investigations, and hadn't been as talkative. It was very much unlike the partner, friend, and son figure he had come to know over the past ten months. Connor would leave as soon as they were off work and not show up back home until late at night.
Hank didn't mind that, he knew Connor deserved his own life, and that included a social life with friends like Markus and his crew at Jericho. But Connor had always made sure to make time with Hank. The android detective was particular with making sure Hank was always okay, even to the point that Hank called him a nanny at times. Connor wouldn't take it as an insult though.
Hank figured Connor was coming into his own, now that he had been a deviant this long, he was grasping life without being on a leash with coding. It shouldn't had come as a surprise to Hank when Connor starting taking off more and more on his own.
The lieutenant was happy for his partner. Although, he did start to feel that all too familiar ache within his soul, an ache he had carried for so many years. Connor had healed it, but the past few weeks, it had eddied back within him, and well, he wasn't as prepared for it as he thought he should have.
Hank shook out of his thoughts and his feelings. He was being selfish, really. Connor had got up early and made him breakfast before work, wishing him a warm and happy 54th birthday.
Connor was still distracted. Hell, Hank was starting to worry that something was actually wrong with his partner. Squinting an eyebrow at him, he picked up a paper clip and tossed it at the RK800. The clip flicked Connor right above the eyebrow, making his LED flash yellow briefly as Connor became aware again. He looked over at Hank, giving a small smile.
"You're doing it again."
Connor became self-conscious, eyes flicking around him before they returned to Hank. "W-what?"
"Zoning out. You've been distracted all day! What's wrong?"
"Oh. Sorry. Just have…a lot on my mind."
Hank pointed at him. "That's fine and all, but we're working. I need you focused. Can we get these case reports filed so we can get the fuck outta here?"
Connor nodded. "Sure thing. I apologize, Hank."
"It's fine, Con. Just…stop worrying me so much."
"Hank, I do have a question."
Connor looked around, looking puzzled. "No one else has said happy birthday to you all day. Do they not know? Even for as long as you've been here?"
Hank chuckled, waving him off. "Nah, they just know I hate birthdays, err, well mine. I…uhh…kinda went off on them the year after…Cole died. Guess it stuck then…"
Hank trailed off, clearing his throat. He got back to work. He felt Connor's eyes on him for a bit longer before the RK800 started working on his computer. The two partners were quiet for nearly an hour, finishing up their case notes. Connor finished first, only because he directly uploaded his report processed from his memory onto his terminal.
"Fuckin' cheater," Hank muttered.
Connor grinned, and it brightened Hank's mood. "It's not cheating. It's a perk."
Hank shook his head with a smile and finished up. After shutting down their terminals and collecting their things, Hank tossed Connor the car keys. His partner caught them with deft hands, the two walking out of the bullpen and station side by side.
One thing Hank was happy about in the ten months that had passed since Markus's peaceful demonstration and the foundation of android rights was that Connor didn't have to wear that ridiculous suit anymore. It had taken the lieutenant some convincing, but now Connor enjoyed wearing normal clothes. He still did prefer a suit, like the dark one he wore today, probably from old programming habits. Now if only Hank could get that LED off his temple…
They got into Hank's 80s model Buick LeSabre, and Connor drove them towards home. They were quiet for a while. Hank could tell that Connor was distracted again. What the hell had his dear friend so preoccupied?
"What's on your mind, son?"
Hank watched the RK800 as he drove, once again saw his LED flash yellow then blink back to blue. Connor glanced at the lieutenant, then back at the road.
"Well…since you are inquiring…" Connor tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. "Are you sure you do not wish do to anything for your birthday? Anything at all?"
Hank sighed. "Connor, it's not a big deal. I appreciate it, but I'm fine. Really."
"You made a big deal for the anniversary of my release date last month. You called it my birthday. You got everyone at the station involved, and even had Markus and our other friends throw a big party."
"Why will you not allow the same for yourself?"
Hank felt exposed, and he hated that feeling. He knew that Connor meant well, was honestly wondering why Hank refused to celebrate his birthday, especially after Hank had made a big deal about Connor turning one year old. He had never made a big deal about his birthday in all of his life, but after Cole died…it was like he resented it. What's another year when you cannot watch your son go to school? What's another year when you cannot watch your son try out sports? What's another year when you cannot watch him grow into a young man? To learn how to drive? To teach him how to be a good man?
Hank brushed Connor off, uncomfortable. "Eh, what's there to celebrate? Another year closer to death? Sure."
He meant it as a joke within his unease, and then winced after the words left his mouth. Hank cursed at himself, glancing at Connor. He saw the LED flash red, the look of distress on Connor's face.
The car pulled into the driveway of their home, but both men were tensely quiet, even after Connor killed the motor. Hank clawed for some words, but he really didn't know how to voice what was eating at him.
They got out of the car and went inside the house. Sumo greeted them with happy whining and tail wags. Hank dug for words even as he let the dog outside into the backyard. The two men stood in the kitchen, quiet.
Connor spoke first.
"Last month I asked you an important question…the night after we celebrated my birthday, as you called it. Do you remember what it was?"
Hank nodded, staring at the floor. "Yeah…you asked if we were a family. I told you yes. That I…think of you as a son."
"Now can you imagine how I feel now, hearing those words from you?"
Connor sounded upset. Hell, he had every right to be. Hank flinched, really wanting to kick himself in the ass.
"You…you're right. I'm sorry, Connor. I shouldn't have said that."
He looked to his partner. Connor's eyes were lowered, rubbing his hands apprehensively, his LED yellow. "My biocomponents and the Thirium-310 that powers them enables me to have a lifespan of nearly 200 years, Hank. I only have a little time to spend with you. And I want to make the most of it…because…I'm not sure what I would do without you. I cannot even fathom it right now. So please…do not joke that way."
The impact and hurt he dropped on Connor was repelled back on him. Hank had spent three years of his life in emotional disarray from Cole's death, not caring what happened to him, hell even trying to kill himself at times to not have to deal with the pain and loss anymore. But Connor had started healing that. His ever steadfast, rational partner with a bio-heart of gold was here, and he cared. He was new at life. He was new at feeling it.
It made Hank's words that much more insensitive. All because he wanted to avoid the discomfort of talking about his feelings over his birthday. He felt the need to wipe his eyes.
He grabbed Connor into a tight hug. "I won't. I promise. I'm sorry, it's just that…after Cole died, I never wanted to celebrate…ever again." Hank pulled away to look at Connor, gripping him by the shoulders. "But then you came along and changed everything. I made a big deal of your birthday because it is! I care about you that fucking much. And instead of just fucking saying that, I had to be an asshole…"
Connor chuckled, and Hank felt a little relief in the pit of his stomach. "You do have a tendency to speak before you think."
Hank stepped back from the RK800. "Guilty as charged. Still, it's no excuse to hurt you like that."
"It's alright, Hank."
Hank scratched his head. He thought back on Connor's heartfelt words to him. He said he wanted to make the most of the time they could share together. But Connor had been spending so much time away from him. He didn't bring it up though.
"I have something for you."
The words caught him off guard. "Huh?"
Connor pulled something out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket and extended it to him. Hank's eyes fell on a USB thumb drive. Hank slowly reached up and took it, peering it over.
"What is it?"
"It's a USB flash-drive."
Hank rolled his eyes. "I fucking know that! I mean what's on it?"
Connor smiled, cocking his head slightly. "Perhaps you should plug it into the hard drive of your desktop and find out?"
Hank gave him a suspicious stare before turning to go to his desk in the living room. Connor followed but stayed back near the sofa. Hank sat down at his desk, plugging the USB drive in and loading it up. There was a video file on it and so Hank clicked on it.
He was watching video clips of an amusement park. Upon closer inspection, he recognized Pirates' Cove, the old amusement park on the Detroit River that closed down a few years earlier. This was before it closed, and so many people flourished the park. He heard laughter, rides going, so much activity. Hank didn't realize it at first, but the video was jumping back and forth between recordings from EM400 Jerry androids, the usual models used for amusement parks.
Hank was about to question Connor on exactly what this was, when he heard it. A voice he thought he would never hear again. He froze. His heart clenched in his chest. His blue eyes shot open. He couldn't breathe.
"That one, Daddy!"
Cole. It was Cole. His little form, right there. Sitting atop his shoulders, pointing at something behind the Jerry. Hank looked a tad younger, shorter hair, not as much grey. He followed Cole's hand with his own finger.
"Are you sure?"
Cole giggled. "Yes!"
"What are you going to do with a shark with flames on it?"
The child shrugged his shoulders in over exaggeration, still smiling. "I don't know!"
Hank saw himself put Cole down outside the booth. His son climbed up on one of the seats, a ship canon made out of plastic and cheap paint faced in towards the booth. Hank rubbed Cole's head.
"Alright, so what do we have to do to get Mr. Shark with Flames?" Hank asked.
The Jerry answered in its ever-upbeat attitude. "Well, mateys! You just have to shoot the canons and defeat the monstrous Kraken!"
"Oh, it's a big octopus, Daddy!"
"Is it? You think you can shoot that sucker down? Looks pretty scary."
Cole got ready, giddily shaking his head. "I got this!"
Hank laughed in the video. He handed the Jerry some cash and the canons turned on. Hank watched as Cole moved the plastic canon around, laughing and shooting plastic balls at some unseen creature behind the Jerry. He looked so determined, but so happy. After a few moments he squealed in delight, jumping up in his seat and pointing.
"I got it, I got it! Did ya see, Dad?!"
"Holy moly that giant octopus didn't stand a chance! Great job, son!"
Cole's tiny hand smacked the palm of Hank's in a cheerful high-five. The Jerry clapped, turning away briefly to get the prize.
"You're a natural pirate, matey! Here you are!"
Cole took the plush shark, blue with green and gold flames all over it. He squished it up to his body, grinning ear to ear.
"What are you gonna name him?" Hank asked, kneeling down to be level with his young son.
Cole squinted one eye, thinking really hard. "Hmm…How about...Frank!"
Hank chuckled, ruffling his son's head. "Alright, Frank it is. Is Frank hungry?"
Cole vigorously nodded. "Yep. Sharks are always hungry, Daddy!"
"Oh boy, we better feed him before he takes a chunk outta you!"
Hank pinched Cole's side and the child squealed in laughter. He stood his height and took Cole's hand. The two walked away together, Cole holding the plush shark under his other arm. The video stopped.
It was so quiet. Hank could hear the blood rushing through his veins, the shaky breath he finally choked out. He was crying. Hadn't realized he had been crying the whole time watching the video. His fingers trembled and he just…couldn't believe it. He never thought he would hear Cole's voice again, see his smile.
He felt something break within him. It hurt at first, like he was reliving the day he finally realized Cole was gone forever. But it subsided, and all he could feel was…warmth, a soothing yet aching warmth. He stood up, wiping his eyes, still trembling. He turned to face Connor.
Hank couldn't understand how Connor could have known about this, or how he got the video, but then it came to him. He told Connor months ago about taking Cole to the Pirates' Cove amusement park the summer before he turned six. He told him how it was one of the best days of his life, and one he deeply cherished of Cole.
Connor looked shaken. His eyes blinked rapidly and he avoided Hank's hard stare, his LED flashing yellow and slowly turning red. Hank knew the look. Had seen his partner do it many times when he was confused and trying to reanalyze exactly what he had missed, or messed up.
"Hank…I didn't mean to upset you. I thought it would make you happy. I expected some sadness, yes, but…but…I had no intention of hurting you like this. I am so-"
Hank pulled him into a tight hug, tears still streaming down his face, and he could only choke out a laugh. "I am happy you fucking idiot. Sometimes…sometimes humans cry when they're happy."
"I know that, but your vital signs are really concerning."
"Emotions always screw everything up," he recited, pulling back. "How…how did you find this?"
"It wasn't easy," Connor said, calming down. His LED returned to blue. "But I sought out help from Markus and his friends. I wasn't even sure if any of the EM400s that had any interaction with you and Cole were still alive…many were killed in the deviant demonstrations back in November. I showed them Cole's picture so they could scan through their memories. It took me weeks, and I was starting to think I wouldn't be able to find anything. After talking with 14,736 Jerry EM400s, I found the one on the video. He was able to give me that single clip."
"Is that…why you've been gone so much?"
Connor nodded. "Correct. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, as you like to say."
Hank chuckled, wiping his face with his sleeve. "Yeah, I bet. Connor…this is…this is the best gift anyone could ever give me. Thank you."
Connor smiled, looking relieved. He then glanced at the computer screen, the video paused on Hank and Cole walking away holding hands. "You're welcome, Hank. I wish…I wish I would've been able to meet him."
"He would've loved you, Connor. He…always wanted a brother." Hank let loose a shaky breath. "You know…I never told you this, but…when Cole was around two I had a dream that I had two sons. The dream's foggy now, almost forgot about it after he died. But…I do recall a taller, older son, and a younger son. I always assumed the taller one was Cole, you know, after he had grown. But now I know…know it with all my heart, it was you."
Hank could tell that Connor was touched by his words, could tell by how he considerably brightened. And well, it was the first time the RK800 cried. As Connor touched the tears, shocked and staring down at his wet fingertips, Hank pulled him into another hug, feeling a lot more at peace.
A/N: Happy Birthday to our favorite temperamental, alcoholic, hard-boiled Lieutenant Hank Anderson! Felt like writing a oneshot to celebrate with some emotional Hank and Connor moments, yay! Hope the title is okay, I couldn't think of anything and I'm tired lol. I had one in the process for Connor's bday, but missed the deadline...ehh I might still post it lol. Hope you all enjoy! ;)