A/N: I felt like adding more to the story, so I did. It's just a little addition for my own happiness. I hope that you enjoy it!
Dealing with Loss
Connor's eyes shot open. His face scrunched up and he blinked as white light hit his eyes. 'Where am I?' he thought to himself. He blinked a few times and his surroundings came into focus. He appeared to be in a hospital room. However, as he scanned his surroundings he quickly learned that he was inside the cyberlife building that had been 'liberated' during the revolution.
He lifted a hand to his head. He could feel a light dent where the bullet had entered, by running a quick diagnostic he deduced that the internal damage had been repaired. He was… alive? He moved to sit up only to feel a weight holding his arm down. He looked to his side and was surprised to see Detective Archer asleep and clutching to his arm as though it was the most important thing in the world.
Connor frowned. Had the detective brought him here? He watched as the detective slept, his mind taking him back to the conversation he had had with Hank. Or was it really Hank? Had it just been something in his programming snapping when he had 'died', had it been a virus? Or had that really been his Hank? He was unsure if he would ever have the answer to that question and that scared him a little.
Connor eyed Adrian and thought about moving him so that he could get up- a quick scan of the detective put that thought to rest when he picked up signs of stress, distress and exhaustion. Clearly the young detective needed the rest.
"I was wondering when you would wake up." Connor looked to the door and saw Markus standing in the doorway. Markus raised a hand. "Don't get up, I can see that you're stuck." He smiled, something about Connor's situation was amusing to him. He walked over to the other side of the room and picked up a white chair- cyberlife standard- and moved the chair beside Connor before sitting down.
Markus was silent for a long period of time. His eyes boring into Connor's. Assessing, calculating, almost cold. It was not an expression that Connor ever thought that he would see on the leader's face. "Would you like to see your face?" he asked evenly. When Connor nodded he reached over to the side table and picked up a small mirror and held it so that Connor could see.
The first thing that Connor noted was that his skin had been switched off- possibly to make it easier to repair him. He then noted the small marks on his face where the bullet had entered. The mark was just a line now. A small line indicating that they had cut his head open and removed the bullet. He had to give credit to whoever had repaired him. From the mark, no one would be able to guess that he had shot himself.
"Connor what the fuck are you doing!?" Hank's words flew through his mind. He once again questioned if that had been Hank. If it had not been Hank, then what was it? Was it some sort of construct that his mind had made? What if it had been Hank, then what did that mean?
"Why did you do it Connor?" Markus' voice cut through Connor's thoughts.
Connor looked over to Markus. "It seemed like the best option… I was." He closed his eyes. "alone, I was alone Markus. It hurts, I wanted it to stop." His eyes watered.
Markus let out a sound that was not unlike a sigh. "I know how you're feeling. But you have to know that this wasn't the answer- It's hard but it does get easier. You have to trust me on that." He then looked past Connor, his eyes softening. "You're not alone, you know- you have us Simon, North, Josh and Me. Though I think that this young man may have more of an impact than any of us."
Connor opened his eyes and looked over to Adrian. He frowned and looked over at Markus questioningly. "What are you talking about?"
Markus offered Connor a small smile. "That man found you and brought you to us- he hasn't left your side since. He's been here for four days, he's barely eaten, barely slept and only leaves for the bathroom." Markus touched Connor's shoulder. "He's been worried out of his mind- he must really care for you."
Connor looked back at Adrian, who held him tighter and snuggled his head into the crook of Connor's shoulder. His hair brushing against Connor's face. Connor took note of the position that Adrian was in, half of his body was draped onto the bed with him while the other was seated awkwardly on a chair. He did not need to scan the young Detective to assess that the position would not have been comfortable for him.
"Has he been sleeping like that?" he asked not taking his eyes off Adrian. Something in his systems glitched.
Markus made a sound. "He was offered a bed, and a more comfortable chair- he refused, he did not want to cause a fuss." Connor found himself not being surprised, if nothing else, Adrian always thought of others before himself. "His only concern has been you." Connor looked over to Markus as he continued. "He's informed the DPD of the situation and has taken care of everything."
Connor remained silent, his LED flashed yellow as he looked back at Adrian. "I think the kid has a little hero worship," his grin went sly. "Or a crush." Hank's words flashed through his mind and Connor was struck with guilt at the pain he had caused Adrian to feel. The man was too kind to be in the kind of pain he was evidently feeling at Connor's actions.
"He is… a friend.." Connor said finally.
Markus let out a 'hum' and leaned forward, his forearms resting on his knees. "Your friend here, he loves you Connor. If you take anything from this experience, know how loved you are. Cherish this, you deserve happiness as much as anyone." Markus rose causing the chair to make a light screech as it scraped against the lino.
At the sound, Adrian jumped awake. His eyes wide and panic on his face. "Mr. Markus! Sorry I didn't-" it was then that he noticed Connors eyes on him. "Connor!" his hands clutched at Connor's face as he leaned forward, a series of emotions flashing over his face. "Are you okay? I've been so worried- I found you- I panicked, it was so scary, I thought for sure you had died and-" he cut himself off from his rambling, he let out a shaky breath and leaned his forehead against the androids. "I've been frightened- I don't want to lose you."
Connor's eyes widened and he felt his systems glitch. With damp eyes he replied. "I am sorry for the distress that I have caused…"
The thumbs on Connors cheeks rubbed circles and Adrian placed his lips to Connors forehead, causing Connor to freeze. Hank's teasing flashed through his mind before he found himself being pulled up and held in a tight hug. His LED flashed red as he tried to process what was happening. He slowly felt himself returning the hug. Adrian kissed his cheek before he buried his face in Connor's neck, the Android felt the other mans shaking before he noticed the wetness at his neck.
"Please." Adrian sobbed quietly. "Please don't leave me."
Connor found himself gently stroking the others back. He looked up to see Markus nod at him before leaving. He then noticed that he had yet to reset his skin. If he had had a heart, it would have skipped a beat at the realisation that Adrian did not seem to care about his appearance. He tightened his hold on the man before quietly resetting his skin and hair features.
It was a few days later that Connor found himself returning to work, and, due to his circumstances, having a meeting in Fowler's office. "Connor how are you feeling?" Fowler asked him with sharp eyes.
Connor forced a smile. "I am doing better sir, I am excited to return to work."
Fowler looked over some papers in a file. Connor knew what it was. It was his 'hospital' report. "This report says that you are physically capable…" he trailed off and read more of the report, before he sighed and pushed it aside. "How are you really? Not your body," he pointed to his head. "Your mind?"
Connor was quiet for some time while he assessed the best way to answer the question. "I am coping Sir. I have been learning… how to deal with my feelings."
"Listen Connor." Fowler leaned against the table. "If you need more time, tell me. We can work it out."
Connor smiled, sincerely this time. "Thank you, Sir. It is not necessary, I am looking forward to returning."
Fowler nodded. "Now this brings me to my next point. I need to assign you a partner."
Connor's eyes widened and he felt cold and fear. He did not want a new partner. Hank was his partner. He did not want to replace Hank. He could not replace Hank. As panic ricocheted through him Fowler continued. "You're lucky enough that someone has volunteered, it makes things easier and less awkward."
Connor was close to showing how much Hank had taught him over the years when Adrian walked into the office. This caused him to pause. What was he doing here? He looked back at Fowler who had a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Your new partner."
"You volunteered for this?" Connor asked firmly as they walked to his and Hanks desks.
Adrian smiled awkwardly and nodded. "Yes…" he looked away embarrassed. "I thought.. I thought that maybe it would be better if it were me. I was only thinking of your feelings, I can go back and tell them to change it if you prefer!" Adrian rambled, his eyes scrunching shut as though he were fearful.
Connor was silent as he assessed the situation, if he were to ask for another partner, he would just be assigned another. Perhaps someone who was unpleasant or not as understanding as Adrian. Perhaps he would end up with someone like Gavin? It was a possibility that he did not want to think about. He found himself agreeing with the idea of working with Adrian, they got along well, very well, his mind supplied. Yes. He thought he could certainly end up with someone worse.
Adrian, taking Connor's silence as his answer, pulled on the bottom of his jacket and looked away awkwardly. "I'm sorry to do this to you Connor- I didn't want to replace Hank or anything. I just thought- given how good we are with each other, we could make it work. I'll go.. tell Fowler." He turned to leave.
"Adrian." Connor caught the other's attention, their eyes locked and Connor gave the other a small smile. "I would be pleased to work with you."
Adrian's shoulders slumped as he relaxed. "Thank you." He returned the smile.
He knew that at some point he would have to do it. But when it actually came to clearing Hanks desk. He found himself filled with apprehension. It was practical, it had to happen, but he still could not bring himself to do it.
"We don't have to do this today." Adrian said from beside him, an empty box held in his arms.
Connor shook his head. "No, I need to do this." He reached over and picked up Hank's baseball cap. His hands shook as he placed it in the box. He was unable to describe the emotions that flowed through him as he packed away Hank's things. His mug, his zune, his old photo's… with each item he felt himself feeling heavier, but lighter at the same time. He knew that he had to do this.
He then reached the board that had, at one stage, been the home to all of Hank's anti-android propaganda. It was now home to photo's of Cole, Sumo and Connor. Connor's eyes locked onto a photo of Hank and Himself from when he had been officially reinstated to the DPD. Hank had his arm around Connor's shoulders and a light, happy smile on his face. Connor remembered the day well. He had been so happy with himself, but the thing that had made him the most pleased, was the proud smile on Hank's face. Lifted the photo from the wall and found that he could not bring himself to put it in the box. His eyes slid to his own desk, and he found himself placing the photo there.
"How are you feeling?" Connor looked up to see Simon walking up to him. He was sitting in the main foyer of the old Cyberlife building. He had been waiting to see Markus to ask about some androids who had been involved in an assault.
Connor looked back at the water feature. "I am doing well thank you."
Simon sat beside Connor on the stool and watched the water with him. "I tried it once." He said after a few moments. Just what he had tried did not need to be said. "I couldn't do it. I wanted to, I just could not find the courage to do it." He let out a sad laugh. "I don't know if it's courage or not."
"It's not." Connor replied. "my actions were not courageous at all. I acted selfishly and my actions hurt others."
Simon nodded. "Markus was worried, we all were."
Connor nodded. He did not feel the need to reply. He knew how much he had hurt others with his actions. And, were his vision to be believed, he had hurt Hank as well. He still had yet to decide whether or not it had actually happened- he supposed it did not matter, whatever it was, he had needed it.
"You needed to see me Connor?" Connor looked up to see Markus walking towards them.
Simon nodded to Connor and rose from the chair. He walked past Markus, his hand touching the other's shoulder- a gesture that caused Markus to smile. He then continued to walk away while Markus moved to sit beside Connor. "I have some files for you- for the case that you're working on." He held a hand out to Connor who took the offered hand and the information was shared.
"Thanks." Connor said simply.
Markus nodded and leaned back in the chair. They were silent for a while before Markus spoke. "Did you catch the game on Friday?"
Connor smiled. A genuine smile.
Connor stood frozen at his front while Adrian held out the most incredible thing to him. A puppy. A German shepherd puppy. A puppy. Adrian was standing in the doorway to his home and in his arms was a puppy. A puppy with large eyes and a happy wag to his tail. A good boy. A puppy.
"The pound was going to put him down." Adrian said simply.
Connor found himself taking the puppy from Adrian and clutching it to his chest. The puppy let out a happy whine and licked the androids face. The puppy then wagged his tail and continued to lick at Connor happily. "Good boy." Connor rubbed the puppy's head and brought him into the house.
Adrian followed behind him. "They were going to get rid of him- I took one look at him and didn't want to see him go- look at his little face! He's too cute for that. I'm not making you take him if you don't want him, I can find him a home. Or take him with me, I just didn't want him to die and you were the first person I thought I'd show him to you." He sat down beside Connor on the sofa.
Connor continued to rub the puppies head while the adorable puppy happily lapped up the attention. "What should we name you?" he asked the puppy who yipped at him and wagged his tail. Connor ran a hand through the puppy's fur. "Hank." He said quietly. The puppy tilted his head before letting out a happy bark and licked Connor again.
Connor looked over at Adrian with glassy eyes. "Thank you." He touched the other's hand briefly before turning his attention back to the puppy.
Connor walked to the graves. A coffee in one hand and a dog lead in the other. He stopped in front of the grave and bent down to put the coffee beside it. He told the puppy to sit and when he did, he pulled a treat out of his pocket and passed it down to little 'Hank'.
Speaking of Hank's. "I miss you." Connor said simply. "I don't know if it was really you, but I'm going to listen to you."
He sat down and gently touched the puppies head. "I'm going to live, I'm going to try to work my life out. I want to experience things. I am experiencing things that you would have wanted me to do."
Connor was silent as he thought about what he was going to say next. "I want to thank you." He said finally. "I want to thank you for being a friend, my friend. I want to thank you for being my father, I've always been grateful for everything that you've done for me- everything that you still do for me. You're always on my mind and you always will be. Thank you."
He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin, a devilish smile taking his face. "I've stolen this back and when I see you again, I'll teach you how to do it."
A/N: This was asking me to write it, I hope you enjoyed it. I may do more, I may not. But for now, this is finished!
Thanks for reading!