Flashes @theregularwriter
Flashes Hi! I'm migrating from AO3 after finding out they don't condemn porn of real minors... so in the next days, I'll be posting my stories here! This one is from August, sometime after Connor's birthday. Please be aware of the triggers down below. Hope you enjoy it! TRIGGER WARNINGS - car accident, near death experience, fear of death, major character injury, past implied character death, panic attack and trauma.

Connor only sees flashes. White, blinding blurs. Thirium blue, its metallic smell sickening. He hears and sees and speaks static. Nothing makes any sense, and the android is aware his eyes burn inside.

Until, in the next moment, his optical components are stabilized. He still sees mainly white but rebooting system messages give him a rather positive diagnosis: aside from a couple, non-severe injuries, Connor seems to be alright.

However, the android takes a while to acknowledge other presences in his surroundings. He recognizes an android technician using the computers, controlling the unliving machines that are looking after Connor’s body. Beside them, a human woman accompanies the procedure; soon enough, she turns around expectedly, maybe knowing Connor awakens through the screens.

However, the android takes a while to acknowledge other presences in his surroundings. He recognizes an android technician using the computers, controlling the unliving machines that are looking after Connor’s body. Beside them, a human woman accompanies the procedure; soon enough, she turns around expectedly, maybe knowing Connor awakens through the screens.

It’s only then that the RK800 concludes he’s in an Android Repair Center, especially when he takes notice of their uniforms – different tones of gray and blue, though they no longer have the CyberLife brand, the company having been shut down a month or so after the first stage of the ongoing Android Revolution.

The woman approaches Connor with a sympathetic smile.

“Hello, Connor,” She says. “How are you feeling?”

(Feeling. Times truly have changed, for this question to be directed at him.)

The RK800 blinks several times before replying, still growing used to the bright room, and yet bothered by his lacking memory.

“I’m…” He doesn’t know what to answer, as there is only one question lingering in his processors: “What happened?”

Her smile falters a little. “You…” She looks down for a moment, as if to plan her words. “You suffered a car accident.”

Connor gapes at her. “I- I did?”

She sighs, not in annoyance but concern. “Your car crashed into a tree; although you had no deadly injuries, you fell onto hibernation mode due to your stress levels before we treated you.”

After this, the android says nothing. Flashes return to him. Cold, biting cold creeps in his thirium vases, causing him to tremble. Logic is far from his senses, as he knows he’s approaching the inevitable, the endless darkness.

Loud, deafening “ping” sounds are heard somewhere, and voices try reaching him, yet Connor can’t seem to find their sources. He sees the same blurs, hears the static again.

It’s cold, cold, cold.

He’s going to die.

He doesn’t want to die. He doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t—

 

… nor. Connor? Can you hear me? You’re safe.

A telepathic voice has reached him. It sounds to be the other android in the room. They begin to form again in his vision, a dark void.

Calm down. You are in the Android Repair Center. You’re not there anymore. You’re safe, they repeat. You’re going to be alright. You just need to listen to me. Can you do that?

Desperate, Connor nods, at this point crying helplessly.

You’re not going to die, Connor. You’re almost healed, and you will be ready to leave soon. I promise.

The RK800 struggles to breathe, to calm his loud, hammering pumps. Connor replays the words in his head several times, even repeating it out loud to himself until his thirium pressure returns to normal. The other android is still present, staying for him, and just that helps.

Finally, Connor is back in the room, both technicians relieved. The blaring pings are no more, and the android doesn’t feel cold anymore.

“You’re alright, Connor,” The woman says. “We will do one last check-up, and then you’ll be free to go, okay?”

He nods.

“As for the car, it was already taken for repairs,” She reveals. “We contacted Mr. Anderson and he’s waiting for you outside.”

Connor tenses up. Hank…

Oh, goodness. He crashed Hank’s car. He’s screwed.

“You’ll be okay,” The woman insists, in a lower volume; maybe noting he’s distressed again.

Connor silently lets the technicians finish their job. The android eventually accepts the furious scolding that’s coming for him.

 


 

It’s snowing outside, though it’s not so dangerous, which is why Connor agrees to this.

Hank is apprehensive to let him wander around in the snow, yet Connor reassures him it’ll be alright. The android offers himself to go to the market, after everything the former lieutenant has done for him. Connor might as well let the man rest for tonight and get the groceries by himself.

Given many humans have evacuated Detroit in a short amount of time, the available markets are farther from Hank’s neighborhood, so Connor takes the car. The groceries themselves are quick to get done, taking roughly forty minutes. The ride home is tranquil, not too many cars share the same snowy road tonight. Connor texts Hank that he’s on his way back, quickly getting a reply.

Hank: don’t text while driving

Connor: Mind you that I am, according to your own words, a “walking smartphone”.

Hank: scratch that, you’re a smartASS phone

Connor: A highly-advanced smartass phone, indeed. :-)

Hank ultimately replies with a middle finger emoji, bringing a smirk to Connor’s face.

The radio, one of Hank’s favorite stations, plays Joy Division in a satisfactory volume. Connor finds out he enjoys the sound and wanders in the night. There’s still half of the way left. He already anticipates Hank’s sassy remarks regarding the healthier food the RK800 has bought; he imagines Sumo jumping and trying to snatch the treats Connor buys for him, whilst Hank complains he spoils the dog too much.

He feels… warmth. A feeling he’s become familiarized with. The warmth of home.

Except it fades once Connor realizes how… foggy and dark is outside. The snow seems faster, stronger; going against what the weather updates have told him before he left home. Connor is careful and attentive, managing to drive at a soothing speed.

But the more time passes, the snow worsens. It’s not a blizzard yet it does little to calm him.

Somewhere, Connor is aware his stress levels are higher than recommended. His hands hold tight onto the wheel. Regardless, he doesn’t lose control of the car.

However, his enhanced attention fails when he needs the most.

Once the flashlights blind his view, the android barely realizes what’s happening. Rather than following his programming, he follows what is most likely his flight or fight response – which leads to complete failure.

He dodges the other vehicle but at the cost of Hank’s car drifting furiously along the snowy, wet asphalt. Connor screams as he’s unable to stop it, until the crashing glass and metal deafen his audio processors.

His hearing is static and painful, vision at first darkened by uncertainty. Connor slowly awakes, eyes stabbed by blaring warnings, even though they’re not numerous. The android looks at his side, multiple glass shards having attacked the right seat. His right side hurts for that matter, and he tastes thirium. He’s just barely touching whatever the car has crashed into. Either way, Connor can still move, and he chooses to get out of the ruined vehicle.

Which gets even worse, as he’s caught by the freezing wind outside. Connor gasps for air, until he realizes there’s next to nothing. He can’t go so far, his limbs hurting, burning, and so he falls onto the snow, having what’s remained from the car to support his body. Connor is long gone when it comes to his high stress levels, and he does try to call the emergencies. Problem is, he cannot speak.

“Help…” He begs, throat wracked by the cold. “P-Please, help me… I-I’m cold…”

There’s a voice trying to talk to him, but the snow is so loud that he can’t understand it. He’s distantly aware that tears are rolling down his face, only for them to freeze and bite his eyes and cheeks.

Connor doesn’t feel the car anymore. He detects nothing but the snow. No light. No life.

He’s trapped again. And he’s… he’s not getting out this time.

He won’t go back home.

He won’t see Hank and Sumo again. He won’t see Markus and Josh, and North and Simon again. He won’t feel the sunlight on his face, or the rain softly wetting his clothes.

Right now, he’s shot by the freezing snow.

He’s going to die.

“Please…” Connor whispers, growing numb at this point – and so desperately trying to stay awake. “Help…”

I need more time, he begs.

But another voice arrives with the harsh truth: one that sounds too much like Amanda.

It’s too late, Connor.

You failed.

 


 

The way to the waiting room feels endless.

Connor looks down, trying to come up with a rational explanation of what happened, failing in the end. He’s not willing to tell Hank. This might be the turning point for the man to decide not to live with him anymore – and that’s really alright. If anything, Connor will do everything to pay for what he did.

Finally, he arrives. The Center’s waiting room is less white and neutral – its shades of blue are vivid. Though it’s not what draws his attention in the slightest, as he realizes there’s only one person waiting there.

Hank sits uncomfortably on one of the chairs, restless. He’s grabbed the nearest clothes he could find, as Connor judges by his mismatched socks and shoes, his home sweatpants and his worn, thick jacket. Hank is hiding his face with one of his hands, practically leaning onto his arm for support. He doesn’t appear to detect Connor’s approach at first, so the android finally voices his presence.

“Hank?”

The older man raises his head only a little, enough to reveal red-rimmed, swollen eyes, contrasting his light blue. Knowing Hank, he must’ve been crying in silence the entire time, and once he lowers his hand, Connor’s suspicions are confirmed by obvious tear stains. Connor has never seen Hank in such a tragic state.

The RK800 stares back, guilt creeping in his chest.

“Hank… I—”

The moment the android opens his mouth, Hank jumps from his chair and tackles Connor in his arms. He’s mindful of any injuries he might have, but at the same time Hank engulfs him so he never leaves.

“Jesus Christ, Connor!” Hank curses wetly. He can’t see his face, but Connor feels the other’s tears wetting his neck.

Connor considers for a moment, yet he doesn’t resist for long. He crushes the older man in both relief and fear, fearing he might go back to the snow and pain if he doesn’t let go.

Hank’s heart rate is high, too high. He’s barely holding it together, his sobs silent and muffled by Connor’s shoulder. After what feels like forever, Hank manages to pull away, looking even more terrible.

“Fuck, Connor,” He says, a hand gently reaching Connor’s face. “Are you okay?”

The android nods. “My injuries weren’t so grave, and the remaining, less severe ones will be healed by my own healing system.”

Hank sighs in a confusing mixture of feelings, drying his own tears with one of his hands. “Good fucking God…”

Connor lowers his gaze, remorseful.

“I’m sorry for crashing your car, Hank,” He apologizes. “I couldn’t—”

“I don’t give a shit about the car, you fucking idiot!” Hank snaps and faces him again, firmly grabbing his shoulders. Even so, the man is far from angry; he looks like he’s about to have a complete breakdown. “I could’ve lost you! I can’t-!” His voice breaks, crying harder. “I can’t fucking take this again, Connor. I can’t.”

Again…

Connor freezes, feeling stupid for not acknowledging why Hank is so distressed. Not that the man has ever been pleased with Connor risking his life and even dying once. But it’s been months, everything has changed. Everything between them has changed, and Connor knows Hank much better than before.

Of course Hank would be devastated. A car accident, of all things, to take Connor away from him in a snowy night…

The android cries along with him. “I’m sor—”

“Shut up, Connor. I just—” Hank takes a deep breath and pulls him close again. “I’m just glad you’re alright, son.”

The same warmth returns with these words, specifically the last one, and Connor buries his face in Hank’s shoulder. “Me too. I was…” He fists Hank’s coat and whispers, “I was so scared, Hank.”

The older man squeezes him. “I know.”

Finally, Connor relaxes in his hold, so much that his legs no longer cooperate with his weight. Hank supports him either way, smoothing his brown curls. After another squeeze on his shoulders, he lets go of the android, though not allowing him to go anywhere out of his sight.

“Come on, let’s go home,” Hank tells him. “Sumo is worried sick about you. Dog’s probably got a ‘Connor In Danger’ radar at this point.”

Connor smiles sadly at the thought, yet he finds himself staring at Hank and how his smile doesn’t meet his eyes. Hank guides him outside and calls a taxi, his arm firm around Connor’s shoulders. The latter feels him calming down, despite the hesitance of letting Connor go.

The taxi arrives in a couple minutes and so Hank and Connor share the backseat. The way home is silent, though their beating organs are soothing and clear. Connor lies on the former lieutenant’s side, while the other smooths his brown hair over and over. Connor takes a deep breath and finds himself slipping into a peaceful slumber, warm and welcoming and loving.

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