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I'm thinking about the first time Hank and Connor have a real fight about something once they start dating. It's not a particularly ugly one, but Hank does snap at him, expecting Connor to snark back, except Connor just. Shuts down, reverts to some placating protocol Hank hates.
Hank is pissed, because the cool way he's being treated reminds him too much of how things used to be before Connor could be honest and open with him, back when every other word was designed to 'integrate with humans' or whatever. He tells Connor to fuck right off with this.
So Connor does, back stiff and face blank, and doesn't come back for hours.
By the time Hank cools off he realizes they both could've been kinder to each other, and that he shouldn't have escalated some dumb argument about his health or something into what it became. He goes looking for Connor, who is still nowhere to be found.
By the time he finds him he's worried enough to be angry again, and instead of his first words being the apology he'd intended he starts with a sharp 'where have you been,' wincing even as the words leave his mouth.

And Connor's still... Not himself.
He's painfully polite when he answers, silent as he gets into Hank's car, quiet on the drive home. He keeps staring straight ahead, sits like he's got an iron rod for a spine. When they return, he stands in the doorway like he's not sure he's allowed back inside.
Hank sighs, because he wants to talk this out, but he's not sure how to fix things. He has no idea how to talk to Connor when he's this cold, not when a part of him boils with something furious and hurt at this side of him.

But he tries anyway.
To his complete horror, when he starts awkwardly dancing towards some kind of apology, Connor bows his head, presses the heel of one hand to his eye, and makes a tiny, broken noise that immediately shatters Hank's heart into a million fragile pieces.
He doesn't think twice about all but jumping on Connor to wrap his arms around him, but Connor is still trying to keep up this appearance of aloofness even through his /tears/. He doesn't sink into the embrace as usual, stands there whispering an apology, over and over.
Hank's heart is beating so hard it hurts. He never intended to hurt him this badly, and by all accounts they haven't even really yelled at each other, so besides begging Connor to stop, telling him it's okay, telling him he's sorry, he doesn't know what to do.
It takes him another hour to calm him down. Connor won't accept comfort, curls in on himself on the couch. He doesn't cry the whole time, but his eyes are squeezed shut and his LED is spinning between yellow and red. He still apologizes periodically.
Hank hates it. It sounds empty, almost compulsive, and it's not like he's done anything that warrants this level of flagellation. He doesn't calm until Hank sternly says it's fine, that their fight was stupid, that he fucked up just as much and he still loves Connor to death.
Connor still doesn't say a word, but he lets Hank hold him this time, face tucked into his chest, hands clenched tightly. It's like he's in pain, and Hank can only sit and wait or whatever emotions he's processing out, slowly stroking his hair.
When Connor's ready to talk, he breaks Hank's heart all over again, because while he tries to explain that their disagreements are not the end of the world or their relationship and that it's everything is fine between them as long as they keep talking this out -
Connor confesses it's not about Hank exactly, at least not like he thinks. It's not so much a tethered fear of losing him as it is... Vestiges of something d inside him, a persistent and petrifying fear of failure and a complicated relationship with disapproval and sternness.
He talks about Amanda, and how she was kind to him until she wasn't. How she rained praise on him, but if and only if he did everything right. Slipping up /hurts/. Feeling helpless and afraid that he'd messed up a vital objective hurts. A part of him expects...
He's not sure what. To be discarded, cast aside for something better. Most of him understands that Hank wouldn't, he hadn't even realized his fear of being replaced extended to /this/, to their relationship, and he loathes it because he thought this was safe, the one thing -
untainted by his programming. And on the heels of his fear and the trauma that had leaped out at him out of nowhere is embarrassment, because this is not at all how he should act, and not a healthy response to a relatively minor spat. A part of him /still/ itches to apologize.
Even though he didn't really do anything wrong, he bites out teasingly, and that's how Hank knows that somehow it'll be okay, even if they have to figure out how to navigate this.

They spend the rest of the evening cuddling, and reassuring each other, both still a bit heartsore.
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