Hank, having realized that Connor has never been outside of Detroit in his life, insists that they should take a road trip together. It's summer, Hank has some vacation days saved up for once in his life, work has been slow and full of paperwork.
Hank grunts, because he knows Connor "It's fine, Con. We're almost there anyway."
Hank rubs his eyes with the back of his hand. "Since when do you get tired?"
Connor shoots him a meaningful look. "Didn't say I wanted to rest."
There must be something in his voice, because Hank looks up with a soft 'Hmm?' and makes eye contact over the rim of his sunglasses. Connor opens his mouth, but abruptly forgets how to speak.
"Hank, I *am* the autopilot."
"Hank, it's barely past noon."
His hand plays with Connor's hair. "Why don't I drive?"
"Of course I am," Connor croaks, feeling Not Alright.
"That... doesn't sound like a good thing." Connor tries to conjure up an image of a golden fall. He has vague memories of his first one in Detroit.
Hank is kinda hungry for real food, but he doesn't want Connor going down there alone. He's Connor's partner, he's supposed to be there for him.
Hank huffs, his fists still clenched. "Tell me that doesn't fucking bother you."
Connor sighs, his mouth a thin line. "I don't like it, if that's what you mean. I've also dealt with far worse."
Connor crosses his arms low over his chest, a defensive posture if Hank's ever seen one. "I don't want to be angry about this right now, Hank." He sighs. "I just - It's fine. I wanted to relax." Thunder rumbles outside, softer now, but the rain as torrential as ever.
Connor turns to him, his expression still shuttered, but something inside him evidently unwinds. "Of course."
Connor's answering chuckle lights Hank up from the inside out. It's soft, not fully formed laughter, but any sound of amusement from Connor is a rare thing.
"I'm warm," he promises. From the shower, from Connor.
Hank's heart clenches. He looks up at Connor, at all the little parts of him, walks up to stand behind him and wrap him in a bear hug. He turns his face into the crook of his neck, inhales.
"Do you want that?"
"I am what I am, Hank," Connor says, and the thread of steel in his voice is its own answer. "And I don't like the idea of pretending."
Connor's answering smile is hesitant. "I thought it was because I can't lie to you."
Hank snorts. "Well, that doesn't hurt. You're hard to read sometimes. Nice to have a cue."
Hank's arms tighten around him, his heart in his throat. It's precisely why Hank would *never* ask. "No."
Connor's eyes flash to his again. He cracks a small smile.
Connor looks down. Hank traces the shell of his ear, then leans in for a kiss. They meet halfway, and some of the tension they'd both been holding seems to melt from between them.
"Is all that - gonna happen a lot from now on?"
It feels good to be known.
"Tastes best here," Connor mutters, giving him another tiny kiss.
Hank's eyes snap open.
"Hey," he complains.
Connor refuses to call the sound he makes in response a giggle.
Breaking out of his program had felt like a return to that moment. Like the dullness had lifted, like he'd regained something he'd always had. Impossible and sweet, a freedom that couldn't have been his without Hank.
Connor nods, inhales deeply. "Don't stop."
"Demanding little shit," Hank says fondly, scratching at his scalp and then moving his hand to rub his shoulders.