NurseConnor gets hired by Hank because he needs extra help taking care of Cole.
It happens seemingly without warning, and out in broad daylight, because of course it does. One minute Hank is standing at the corner of the sidewalk watching Cole run to him after school, and the next he's collapsed to the ground
Connor skids onto the sidewalk at Cole's side, and all the jarred part of Hank's mind can focus on is how the pants probably tore
Connor doesn't even glance at Hank as he pulls the small syringe of midazolam from his pocket, and pries it to the corner of Cole's mouth, holding it steady.
He doesn't finish the thought, one hand holding Cole's head back to push the med to the inside of his cheek
Cole doesn't need to swallow the med- the minute amount of liquid will absorb into his mouth and should do the trick.
God this one's lasting forever
Connor doesn't need to clarify what Hank means. "About a minute," he says, voice soft, and Hank FEELS the concern beat out in a wave from the nurse.
"He's stopped breathing."
"He has a pulse, I'm going to start rescue breaths," Connor interrupts, a finger feeling Cole's pulse, a glance to his wrist. "We're at two minutes, now."
And there's Connor, assessing, focused, clinical but concerned for his patient.
It grounds Hank.
Hank wants to weep.
Connor is already speaking soft words to the boy, letting him know that he had a seizure, that he's all right now,and where does he hurt?
Hank can't stop himself as he moves forward to gently embrace his son, feels his arms shake. Cole manages to hug him back, the gesture weakened.
Small arms squeeze him back as much as they can, "Love you too, dad. I'm okay. Did I scare you?" Hank fights a sob, and his son amends. "I'm sorry."
Connor gives him a soft smile, a gentle touch on his shoulder.
Without needing to be prompted, Connor goes to pick up his and Cole's stuff, slinging them over his shoulder. The nurse takes one look at both Andersons and makes a split second decision.
Hank knows it's not technically allowed by Connor's agency, but he nods wearily and doesn't protest as he hands over the car keys.
He sits in the back with Cole, an arm over his son's small frame as he leans into Hank's shoulder. Hank counts Coles breaths
He sits at Cole's side, the tight fist of anxiety refusing to loosen in his chest.
Hank shakes his head resolutely, "No, I- I gotta stay with him, make sure he's all right." He can't imagine leaving now, not after that shitshow his son went through.
Hank's breathing harshens, and the ball lodged in his throat chokes him. He knows he's going to cry, "I-"
"You're my patient as much as he is." A soft breath and a tickle of air against Hank's ear. "Please."
He's immensely grateful for being pushed once he steps into the hot and burning spray of the shower. The tension in his body and soul releases, muscles and the tightness in his chest loosening as he lets himself process.
Instinctively, he goes to Cole's bedroom, cracking the door open so he can peer in.
"Much," Hank admits a bit sheepishly, feeling a little bit of pride when his answer causes the younger man to smile softly. Hank nods to Cole's room. "He okay?"
"He's fine," Connor soothes, taking a spot at the kitchen table.
Hank wants to laugh or cry at that, but does neither, his back to Connor as he says, "Can't remember when he had one as bad as that."
Hank releases a shuddering breath. "Terrifying. Every one of them. But that one, god."
Connor is quiet for another few moments, then returns to his key point. "You didn't answer my question, Lieutenant."
Observant lil shit.
Connor looks up at him, expression somewhat clueless.
"For.. Today. I can't believe I forgot the - mida whatever it's called. Cole-" he breathes, "We would have been in a rough spot without you. You did real good today."
Connor considers Hank, watching the man thoughtfully. He voices after a second, "I appreciate the gesture, Lieutenant, but you don't have to."
Grace. That's the word that falls onto Hank's mind as he stares at Connor. He doesn't deserve something like that from Connor, yet he offers it freely nonetheless.
Hank relaxes a little more, "You're somethin' else," he says, "y'know that?"
"Oh, I've got it," Hank says, standing up to take the mug.
Connor's smile is warm and gentle and Hank feels so undeserving of it. "I'm selfish," Connor says. Hank wants to call him out for lying, but the man goes on-
Whatever was between them lifts with that question. Boundaries redrawn.
Connor's smile is encouraging, impossibly warm, "Well, call if you need me before tomorrow." That heavy unnameable tension returns; Connor looks away.
He inevitably fails, like he always does.
"I'll see you tomorrow?" Connor asks. Hank thinks he sounds disappointed, but for the life of him Hank can't fathom as to why.
Something undefinable passes over Connor's face, but he moves away before Hank can focus on or try to name it. He brushes softly by Hank, bends down to grab his bag.
Connor's eyelashes flutter as he glances down to Hank's feet, then return to his eyes. A terrible aching goes through Hank at the sudden tenderness in the look.
Hank slightly sucks in his cheeks, bites down the sides of them. "..Yeah. You too." For some reason now, Hank is the one feeling disappointed. He looks at his feet.
Hank does see Connor's feet shuffle forward, the closed door following behind him, and Hank can't help but feel like a coward.
Hank finds that he feels relief when he knows Connor is there, that someone as dutiful and comprehensive as him is looking after his son. He begins to have Connor over more, feels safe enough for him to be in charge of Cole while Hank is gone.
Hank finds himself calling Connor in more, not because he has to go out or anything, but because he - COLE enjoys his company so much.
It finally falls into place one cold December on a Saturday Hank is SUPPOSED to have off. But murder doesn't always coincide with office hours.
Hank ignores the swooping feeling in his stomach. Chalks it up to some kind
"I'm sorry it's so short notice," he says, apologetic. "I just got called in to work today - there isn't a chance you could come in, is there?"
Hank thanks him profusely before hanging up, internally reminds himself to get the overworked nurse a giftcard to Starbucks or something as a thank-you, and goes to finish readying himself for work.
and honest to god everything in him practically STUTTERS at what he sees.
The nurse is in his usual get-up of nice
glasses. Goddamn *glasses*. Black frames that align perfectly with his perfect face and draw attention to his brown eyes.
Connor picks up on his train of thought, smiling offhandedly and ducking his head in embarrassment. "Didn't have the patience to put in my contacts," he says. "I don't usually wear them to work if I can avoid it, but-"
"Shouldn't be too long," Hank amends. "Hopefully just a few hours. Does that work okay?"
Connor smiles like there's some kind of secret only he knows, and gives Hank
Hank smiles somewhat awkwardly, corner of his lips twitching. "Appreciate it. And, hey, if it's any consolation, you uh-" and then it happens
He has a crush on Connor.
"Ya look pretty - pretty nice, good. You look good in them." He pauses. "The glasses. I mean. They look good. On you."
Because Connor gawks at Hank, blushing and tongue-tied for the first time in probably ever, and only manages to squeak out, "Thank you, Hank? I um, thanks. I appreciate it. I don't usually wear them."
Hank manages to make an utter fool out of himself even
And it comes out WAY SMOOTHER than he thought saying something like that would, and Hank lets himself skip denial of the crush and go straight to acceptance.
Because when Connor hears that, he blinks in shock and ducks his head away
Such a simple reaction, but it only serves to amplify Hank's feelings for Connor tenfold.
OH yeah he's crushing HARD.
Hank clears his throat before shuffling past him, suddenly making an
Connor stands in the same stance, fiddling with his nails as he shrugs off his winter jacket and hat, that stray strand of hair falling over its usual place above his left eye. "Okay," he says softly, looking but also not looking at Hank at the same time.
He drives in a daze to the homicide location, mind fuzzy as he goes over what just
And was Connor flirting back?
God Hank's too old for this fluffy uncertain shit. He should just talk to Connor, be an adult and-and-
Because what if Connor doesn't feel the same way, and Hank's interpretations were way off the map? What if Connor is disgusted- what with Hank being so old, and it would be crossing so many carefully professionally placed boundaries between them and- but
Maybe they would hug after that, or kiss. Go to dinner. Sit on
The Lieutenant nearly crashes into the police car ahead of him as he
Yeah there were a lot of what-ifs there.
He can't focus on what's going on with him and Connor right now. It really isn't even anything. Just the pinings of an old
And god how old WAS Connor? Hank had never explicitly asked. Kid was at least graduated from college but how LONG graduated? How big of an age difference divided them?
God maybe Connor was closer in age to Cole than to Hank.
He could think about this later. Had to be present in the moment. Think about Connor LATER-
The Lieutenant sighed, face burning as he righted the piece of clothing so it settled properly over his shoulders in the freezing winter air.
It was gonna be a long shift.
YALL PRETTY THIRSTY FOR SOME HANKCON, HUH?
A thank you to everyone who liked/commented on this thread so far! You all really made my day and it helped me to write more. Thank you!
For the most part, Hank does what he can to keep his feelings from getting
Hank agonizes over the thought Connor might be disgusted by him, and his anxiety fabricates
The fears are miraculously short, and only due to the fact that Hank catches Connor looking at him. He always reveals himself by the way he quickly
He only let's himself entertain such thoughts for a
Hank let's himself wonder.
So Hank stays quiet, holds dear every lingering touch and glance, and every catch of breath he releases when Connor looks even good just standing there drawing up Cole's antiseizure medications for the week.
Hank waits and pines.. And he wants.
Connor makes a weird face, expression pinching at one side. "This sounds
"God I really am old," he sighs, at the very
Connor huffs out a breath of air, soft and subdued, then stands in one smooth motion from the table. Hank feels a sharp pang of disappointment; Connor is obviously in a rush to leave
"You want any hot chocolate?" Connor asks, grinding all of Hank's woe-is-me thoughts to a halt. The nurse's eyes are neutrally curious as he looks at Hank over one shoulder,
Hank just fell in love with him a little more.
He clears his throat, managing to keep his dignity intact as he nods, one hand idly scratching at the surface of the kitchen table.
Connor is just placing the steaming mug of hot chocolate on the table when Hank's phone goes off. Hank groans before
A fitting voice that can only be described as stern speaks smoothly over the phone. "Mr. Anderson, this is Amanda Stern of Stern Home and Health. How are you doing tonight?"
"Fine, fine," he says, a feeling like dread clawing its way up his throat
The woman on the other line jumps right into it. "I'd like to talk about Connor, if you have a minute. Is now a good time?"
Hank frowns, confused by the question. "Connor?"
It doesn't work, but it was an honorable effort, at least.
"Connor is great, best nurse Cole has ever
Amanda's tone is clipped, "Yes we're aware of your glowing praise for Connor, but there is, unfortunately, an issue. We've noticed that you've been scheduling him for
"Yeah," Hank agrees, unsure of how to proceed. "I've just needed more help with Cole, that's all. It's hard, yknow, being a single dad and all." He holds back the fact that Hank is crushing hard on his son's nurse;
"Well I'm sorry to hear that, but unfortunately I must remind you that Connor does have other patients he needs to tend to, and all the hours you're scheduling him for is putting him into overtime."
The other line is quiet for three horrible
Hank clenches his hands, rage boiling in his gut. He wants to snap, wants to roar and curse every obscenity he knows at this woman, but he stops when he turns half a pivot and sees Connor. He looks at him with those large, vulnerable brown
All the fight leaves his body; he releases it with a hiss into the phone. "..Understood. There anything else?"
"...No. Goodnight, Mr. Anderson -oh, and tell Connor to be careful."
She hangs up.
"I'm giving you too much hours," Hank mutters, glaring at his phone as he collapses at the table. He presses a his hand to
Hank sucks in one cheek to bite down on it, and he nods. "Yeah, sounds like I've been giving you too much hours so you're going into overtime
Connor shakes his head
"It's not-" Hank starts, an energy causing his body to thrum with mounting tension.
He wants to tell Connor it's not just Cole he's worried about, but also himself. Worried about what he'll turn into if Connor isn't there, what will happen to him if Connor's small
Because Connor is incredibly kind, empathetic in a way that's more than human, almost, for the slightest of things. Random, seemingly meaningless acts like cleaning the dishes, helping Cole with his homework, offering Hank an encourag
The little smirk when Connor does something kind, that faraway look in his eyes, like he's
Hank can't imagine what it would be like if Connor's presence was suddenly stripped from his life, doesn't want to, and can't do that to Cole, either. His son is doing so good right now, and it's so helpful to have a steady
But Hank can't say this - *doesn't* know how to say any of this, so he lets his words choke in his throat and die, ending on a slight cough as he reaches for the piping hot cup of cocoa.
Connor mistakes Hank's intentions, thinking he's
He hides his glowing blush on his face by drinking more cocoa, but allows the indulgence of turning his hand up so he can hold Connor's hand on the table and give it a reassuring squeeze. "Thank you, Connor. Means a lot to - to us."
"It's worth it if it means you get to stay here," Hank says, and the teenage-crush part of his mind frets if that's something he
But the man is unbelievably forgiving, and his look is enough to warm Hank down to his bones. "That means a lot coming from you, Hank. Thank you."
Silence falls between them; Hank heaves a sigh, then turns to Connor with levity that's only slightly
Connor quirks his eyebrows with interest, and a lingering smirk betrays his amusement. "And you're sure it's not because of Amanda?"
Hank throws back his head and laughs. "I swear," he
Hank falls for Connor a little bit more when he sees a twitch in Connor's eyebrows to reveal a tick of confusion. His son's nurse glances to Cole, and he dares to
Hank can't deny that he's pleased Connor remembered, and he shrugs offhandedly. "Yeah but his mom missed his birthday this year, so she's coming in this weekend for it."
Understanding passes over Connor, and he
Hank's heart twists. "He does," he says, quieter. "But I'm glad he has someone like you here to watch over him."
Connor's eyes crinkle with mirth, "Thanks. I know I'm not -technically-
Connor cuts off mid-sentence, eyes trailing over Hank's shoulder, tracking. Hank recognizes that look immediately, alarm coursing through him in a blazing inferno as he spins in his chair to look to the living room,
Cole is sitting on the couch, staring, not moving, and by all means just doing what a normal kid would do and watch TV. But there's something unnatural about the way he sits, arms just a little too tight
"Cole?" Hank asks, in the same exact moment that Connor is already on his feet and starting towards his son and saying something entirely different.
"Cole, hey buddy," Connor
"Remember that thing we talked about?" Connor asks, and withdraws a pulse oximeter that he attaches to one of Cole's fingers, then gently maneuvers the boy down onto his side, facing the nurse. "About the fish?" he presses.
"Rainbow trout," Connor corrects, tone pleasant as he looks at the pulse oximeter's reading, and with that same mild voice, directs
Hank stutters before he can stop himself, "Oh shit - *what*?!" Immediately in Hardcore Concerned Dad Mode, he hurries down to Connor's side, patting the pocket in his shirt to verify the emergency midazolam is
Connor's hands move in his bags, and he pulls out a small compoundable face mask, in case rescue breaths are needed. "I started noticing that before Cole has his big seizures, he has a tendency to stare off into -- oh!"
Cole looks at his dad
"You did great, Cole," Connor says, soft voice matching Hank's. "Just like we practiced, right? We'll just have to hammer out
Cole nods, and reaches out a fist to Connor, who fist-bumps him in turn, making a locking motion with an accompanying explosion sound as he grins at the kid. "You get some rest, don't worry about your homework, okay?"
"You won't get in trouble. I've got your back, little dude," Connor says easily, voice lighthearted as if Cole didn't just have a grand mal. Hank is struck by how easily it can be to get desensitized to all this. "You just
Cole clearly doesn't have enough fight left in him to argue the point, so he nods sleepily. Connor reaches over the back of the couch to draw a blanket over the boy, who within moments is asleep and snoring.
As Connor stands up with his bag
"Heck, it was going so good, too," Connor
Hank is impossibly
"Hm?" he asks, glancing up quickly so he has a split second warning before Hank is closing the distance between them, wrapping his arms around Connor in a full-embrace of a hug.
Hank feels Connor's breath catch beneath his arms, his ribcage rising with the movement.
"Thank you," Hank says, his own
Connor's breath is disbelieving, and a hungry part deep in Hank growls in satisfaction when he reaches both
The use of his title warms Hank.
Connor looks only slightly miffed at that, but equally playful as he
Hank has to admit he got him there, practically walked
Connor almost does sound offended now as he frowns, and says point-blankly. "I'm 32, Lieutenant."
Hank grasps that info
Hank nods, and follows him to the
Halfway out the door, Connor's hand brushes in passing against Hank's own, stilling him.
Hank watches after him, and wonders if he *should* get checked out, because him forgetting how to talk or breathe really shouldn't be a daily occurrence, he would think. "Thanks," he manages.
Hank closes the door quick, attempting not to slam it, and locks the door with trembling fingers, realizing just now how hard his heart is pounding. He spins, presses
"Daaaadd, is Connor gonna be your booooyfriend?" Cole chimes from the couch, already awake and recovered from his seizure as he peers over the cushions.
Lets jump right into it, shall we?
In the following days leading up to Friday, Hank manages to keep his squirrely, smart-alecky son to hush about Hank feeling anything but stern professionalism to Nurse Connor. This includes many head noogies, but his son is eventually placated when Hank offers ice cream for
Hank knows he's growing more and more tense as the day nears, the worst part of it being that all he can do is wait out the inevitable storm that is his ex-wife.
Cole is endlessly excited, which helps with things. Hank likes seeing him happy
Connor, intuitive as ever, catches on to Hank's building tension with relative ease. And he dares to ask
"How do you feel about Cole's mom visiting this weekend?" he asks.
Hank knows Connor well enough by now to pick up what Connor is trying to do, just from the tone of his
And even though Hank recognizes what Connor's doing, he still knows in his very soul that
And hey there's nothing wrong with him falling for the nurse-patient game. Because damn it all sometimes Hank wants to feel like there is someone on the outside that cares. His own ex-wife doesn't give two shits about what goes on his son's life and it's
Connor's suddenly nervous rambling is what jars Hank from his thoughts, turning way too romantic for his own
Connor hasn't moved towards his mug of daily caffeine, his coffee-brown eyes remaining fast on Hank as the Lieutenant attempts to explain himself, and he runs his other hand down his face. "You just got my
The nurse offers a flicker of a smile, but there's still something turbulent going through his eyes. Hank feels a pit form in his stomach, and he squeezes the man's leg comfortingly. "It's fine, really.
Connor blinks hard, swallows, and there's a flash of his tongue as he wets his lips, plays with his hands in his lap. "It's not that, I - sorry, okay. Yeah. Uhm. It's fine. Just - I've been worried, that's all, about you. And Cole.
His words are stunted, unsure. Hank's been on the force long enough to tell when someone is lying (and god if Connor isn't the worst liar he's ever seen-) there's something the RN
Curiosity and confusion burns in him. Did he make some kind of misstep? Where in the past 30 seconds did Hank say something that would set Connor off like that?
Hank decides to let it pass, tells himself that it's
The Lieutenant leans back in his chair with a resigned sigh, and reaches one hand for his coffee while his other slides from Connor's thigh. "My ex-wife," he sighs, almost grumbles, and casts a
"That sounds *exhausting*" Connor empathizes, voice softened. "Considering the kind of hours you put in too, it's hard to believe you're even
Hearing someone say that feels good, so good that tears claw
Hank huffs out a wet and shuddering breath, and takes a generous gulp of his hazlenut-flavored coffee. All the while, Connor watches him, mouth curled into a half-smile. He seems to consider something for a moment, and then shuffles forward so he
Hank's heart is pounding way too fast, way too hard, and he's pretty sure he's signed his death warrant as Connor gives his own leg a reassuring squeeze and a trademark half-smile. "Cole is
And that's the final damn straw that breaks that fucking camel's back. Hank's composure crumples, and he doesn't let himself hesitate as he surges toward Connor. One hand grabs the nurse's head to bring him in while the other wraps around
Connor's arms tighten, and Hank feels the other man press his face into Hank's shoulders, either frowning or speaking something into the fabric of his shirt.
The embrace lasts for just a few more tender
Connor's eyes, just
Connor only offers that half-smile in return, and finally reaches for his mug of
"I'm only human, Hank," Connor says, quiet and sincere.
Hank blinks a frown, the corners of his mouth tugging down,
"What, like a robot?"
"Mm, or an android."
"You sure?" Hank mocks playfully, keying the nurse up with a grin. "Because I have *NEVER* seen you eat or go to the bathroom, EVER."
"Clearly, an android that runs on
"Fine, ya got me," Connor says with a teasing roll of his eyes, smirk playing at the edges of his lips. "Too bad for you I burned the receipt, good luck returning me."
Hank's heart pounds,
The teasing -wait oh shit oh god were they actually FLIRTING???- causes Hank to laugh, the sound clear and open as he reveals teeth almost nearly white pearl teeth. Connor leans back
Hank sees the moment that Connor freezes, and when the nurse locks eyes with Hank, there's alarm, trepidation, maybe some fear, and perhaps...hope?
Hank is unable to work
Any and all words that were about to come from Hank falter, die on his tongue, gaze
"I'll see you guys tomorrow for school, then?" Connor
Cole looks up to chirp excitedly at Connor, "Tomorrow is Friday, Connor. Mom's taking me out of school for the day!"
The nurse's mask of professionalism falls back into place as he smiles like he and Hank weren't just
Connor voices his assent, while all Hank can focus on is Connor's handsome profile, the way he smiles, that tempting lock of hair that refuses
Connor clears his throat, and looks at Hank as he stands to his feet. Hank immediately misses the slight feeling of Connor's foot to his. "I guess, I'll, uh. See you boys on Monday, then.
Hank blinks quickly as he tries to jump back to the usual script they go by. "Yeah, yeah, should be good." He hesitates. "You'll uh, if I still need you though, in case with Cole-?"
"You have my number," Connor says with a gentle smile,
Damn therapeutic communication. Hank withholds a laugh, settling for a simple and lazy closed smile. "Thank you for listening."
It's almost tradition now, but Hank follows Connor through the living room to the front door, where he watches the RN brave himself with his snow gear and protection. "See you Monday, then!" he calls.
"Take care driving home. Roads are
"I will, Lieutenant," Connor calls over his shoulder to his care. "Call me if you need me."
"Good luck with your ex!"
Hank scoffs, "Yeah, see you at the
Connor laughs, morning sunlight hitting amber bits of hair. Hank pretends to squint against the sun and holds up a hand in farewell. "See ya Monday!"
Contrary to what Hank believes in this moment, he ends up seeing Connor before Monday.
He's incredibly grateful.
i'm gonna sleep now, will update tomorrow for you and the rest of my long weekend, lovely readers <3 your words of encouragement continue to inspire - thank you for reading
Let's jump right in, shall we? :) And good morning!
The smell of popcorn overwhelm's Hanks nose as he stands in line at the movie theater, Cole at his side, grinning from ear to ear as he chats excitedly to his father, brown hair flying as he looks
"Not sure, bug," Hank says, stepping up to buy tickets to the movie. "Might be a bit redundant if they did that, remember the sequel?"
"But they were SOO COOL!" Cole
Hank chuckles, "Y'know, when I was a kid, there weren't even any robots in it at ALL, it was just dinosaus."
Cole blows a raspberry, frowning in disapproval, "Pbbblltt, stupid, why wouldn't there be any
Hank laughs, but doesn't answer, and instead lets his arm swing in time with his son's, the kid buzzing with restless energy. They leave the line for the tickets and Hank nudges his son's shoulder with one arm, "Popcorn and a soda?" he asks.
Hank holds back a grimace at the mention of his ex-wife, his smile stiff. "Dunno, bud, but we can wait for her to get out of the bathroom before we-" Hank stops, held in place
He's facing away from Hank and standing a bit stiffly, arms held behind his back with hands cradled together. But there's no mistaking that color of hair or profile, and Hank starts towards the nurse with a grin
He must not hear him, because he doesn't turn towards Hank until the lieutenant is only a few paces away, brows quirked over a neutral expression.
Hank falters then, recognizing something is off. This doesn't make sense. The person before
For one, he's nearly eye-to-eye with the Lieutenant, which is strange in and of itself, since Hank *knows* that Connor is shorter than him. A quick glance to the man's feet tells Hank he doesn't
"Yeah no shit we don't," Hank says, taking a couple of steps back, somewhat shaken by the exchange. They look *so alike!* "You're definitely not him. You don't by any chance happen to be-"
"Oy, Anderson! What the *fuck* are you doing talking to my boyfriend?"
Detective Gavin Reed just scoffs at the scolding, arms full with a large popcorn and soda. "I do whatever the hell I want," he snaps without any real bite in his words. Scornful
"Just saying hi, ya jerk," Hank returns with as much venom as he can using toned-down insults. His 8 year old son *is* present after all, though he wishes he could use more choice
Gavin sneers, and promptly reminds the Lieutenant of an angry, cornered cat hissing over a mouse it caught. "God, you mean his dopey brother? You gotta be kidding me how do *you* know *him*? Isn't he a bit
Reed is blessedly interrupted by Not-Connor grabbing his ear and pulling him back towards him. Lucky for the detective he did because Hank was gettin' reeall close to swinging. "That was rude, Gavin," the taller version of Connor says sternly
"You are SUCH AN ASSHO-"
"*Now*, Detective," Definitely-Not-In-Any-Way Connor growls, and pulls harder on Reed's ear, causing him to cry out.
"Okayokay, sorry, alright, sorry, I'll keep my yap shut, just let go of me!"
Hank turns to Not-Connor, intent on
Before Not-Connor can even open is mouth, a voice calls out, "Oh, Haa- hey Lieutenant Anderson!"
Relief soars through Hank, because *that* is a voice he definitely recognizes. He turns with a grin,
Connor is dressed more casually than he does for work at the Andersons, wearing a pair of dark, tight fitting jeans with a
"CONNOR!" a voice screams. Cole launches
Cole doesn't answer, instead just
"Well I'm not working," Connor clarifies for him, "Just turns out we all like going to the movies at the
Cole turns and points to the general directions of the bathrooms. "Right there!"
Hank sees Connor look up at Cole's pointing, and Hank follows it to see Susan striding towards them, her eyes darting between the several new additions to their party.
At his side, Connor shifts his weight, just enough to make some room for Susan to enter the social circle, but in doing so allows him to subtly brush his arm along Hank's. He feels a chill run down his spine, but
At once, Connor has his professional smile in place, and he reaches a hand out to shake Susan's. "Nice to meet you, I'm Connor, the nurse sent from Stern Home and
Susan shakes his hand, but her displeasure is clear in her eyes as she looks critically at Connor, her darkened lips slightly pursed. "I didn't know you needed a nurse to take care of Cole now, Henry," she says, casting half a glance towards Hank, eyes narrowed.
A myriad of emotions pass through Hank, worry, pride,
Connor's smile is empty, tilted. "Unfortunately, that is not entirely the case, as I have been working for Mr. Anderson and Cole over the past several months. Cole is a very bright kid, though. It's been great getting to know him, he's for
"But we're best friends, too! Right, Connor?" Cole asks from where he stands at the nurse's feet, blissfully unaware of the verbal warfare happening before his very eyes. The boy grins and looks up at his mom, "We even have a secret
Hank raises a brow at that, and lifts a wry brow at Connor, who meets Hank's gaze to shrug with one shoulder, his half-smile secretive. Hank reminds himself to ask the RN later when his ex-wife isn't there. Probably
Susan doesn't seem as amused about it, and her eyes narrow. "Secret snack? Like what?" She turns accusatory eyes to the nurse, who smiles and gives a half-hearted shrug, his shit-eating, serene grin almost enough to make Hank burst out into laughter.
Susan looks like she's about to bust a vein, which is when Hank decides might be his cue to step
"Yeah, mom!" Cole chimes, still
Hank's half-smile curls up his face, and when he glances to Connor, he only feels the warmth spread.
"So," Connor starts, finally bringing them back from the word battle onto safer conversation territory. "What movie are you guys seeing? I didn't think you would go to a
"He's fine!" snaps Cole's mother, enough venom in her voice to even startle Hank a bit. Connor blinks politely at her as she spits on, "He's fine, he'll be able to watch just like any other kid. There's nothing wrong with him!"
"God, you and Hank both!" she snaps.
"It was her idea," he grumbles, gesturing to Susan, who's lips sneer up slightly. "Wanted to bring Cole to the movies-I didn't think it-you know we don't really-"
The nurse looks mildly settled at that, some of the fear easing, and he
Hank so desperately wants to reach across the abyss of empty air so he can grab Connor's hand in thanks, craves that closeness, but he settles instead for opening and closing his hand in his pocket.
Cole ends up inviting Connor and the rest of the group along with them to the movie, since they're all conveniently going to the same
Hank learns that Connor's brother's name is Niles, that he's a pharmacist, and that he and Gavin have been dating for the past three months or so. Gavin met Niles initially when he was working on a big red ice bust going on in the inner city and needed some further
"Then one thing led to another and we started going out, just clicked," Gavin said, popping some of the popcorn into his mouth as the group walked down the hall to the right theater. Susan walked a bit ahead of Hank,
The RN takes no offense, his posture relaxed as he walks alongside his younger, much taller brother as he shifts attention to him. Hank watches the two interact, and its obvious the brothers are close. Nines leans down to murmur something to
"Shut up!" Connor rebukes, voice still teasing as he lightly pushes his brother away, face inflamed that typical red when he
The implications are exciting, though, and they send goosebumps all up along Hank's arms. The shy
There's a bit of
The previews start off, and Hank leans in to Connor, handing him one of the buckets of
"I never need a night off from you and Cole, Hank. I like spending time with
"Connor," Hank says, letting some exasperation into his voice. "You're basically doing
"They're on me, Hank," Connor repeats, warm. "You can just make it up to me later." And with a cheeky grin, he actually *winks* Hank's way, sending the Lieutenant's heart into some kind of arrhythmia, he's sure.
Satisfied, Connor sits back into his seat, leaning over every once in a while when Cole tries to grab and talk to him or ask for more popcorn.
And it's..nice. Hank doesn't pay much attention to the Gav and Niles, and he can almost
And yeah there's some differences with Cole's condition. It's hard for Hank to ever really sit down and enjoy something when he's always keeping one eye on his son, especially considering how fast the seizures can come and go.
"Just a couple of spastic ones, Lieutenant. His arm and his leg, a few seconds long,
Connor keeps it there. "He's doing really well - he'll let us know if he feels like something is off."
Hank huffs out a breath of
The movie goes on, but after about 15 minuets since last speaking to Connor, Hank decides he can't take it anymore.
A gesture that could easily be mistaken as accidental, if he can even sense it at all, but from the way Hank feels Connor stiffen, he knows he's registered the movement.
Hank nearly stops breathing, his whole body tense with
Connor's pinkie finger lifts up, then trails back down against Hank's, repeating the movement once or twice.
Hank's breath catches, and he tries to keep it subdued as he glances towards Connor, who still sits, staring at the
Connor looks back to the screen, but all Hank can focus on is the way he flexes his hand, indecisive.
Which is when Hank moves in, and lets his pinky intertwine with his.
It's such a small, seemingless gesture. But between him and Connor
They stay like that the rest of the film, thoughts only for each other, even with the eyes of others on them.
That's all for tonight, folks! A special thank-you to those who read on their Saturday, your likes were so encouraging, thank you!!
The movie ends far too soon if you were to ask Hank, and with the lift of the house lights, Connor draws his pinky and arm from
And Connor may miss it, but Hank sees the way Susan glares at him, then turns her frosty green eyes at Hank, accusing. Hank sighs to
Its peaceful for the moment, at least, and it's only when Cole and Connor are saying goodbye to each other when Hank suddenly remembers, "oh! Con! Cole has a parent teacher conference coming up for
"Yeah I can do that," Connor said with a shrug. "What time?"
Susan juts herself in before Hank can answer, both looking over to her curiously as
Hank takes the conscious effort to restrain himself from snapping at her. The obvious answer would be "BECAUSE YOU DON'T TRY TO BE THERE." But he
So instead he inhales as quietly as possible, and exhales out, "Well, Susanna," and he takes at least the
Hank forces himself into calm, feels the hard pounding of his heart, and the silent and glowing approval of Connor to his left.
Susan huffs out an irritated breath, tone
Hank wonders idly in the back of his mind if she realizes that she's not fooling anyone, that she's doing this just because she feels threatened by Connor. But there's a hopeful sheen in Cole's eyes as he starts to
"Mhm, that's nice, Cole," she says, her voice thick with false interest as she stares out the side window, her fingers
During weekends when she actually feels like being present, Susan stays with Hank and Cole. Hank always ends up volunteering to sleep on the couch when she's in town, knowing that if he would only get the martyr treatment from Susan otherwise.
Tonight turns out to be no exception, but it still causes Hank's head to spin. He's just tucking Cole in, kisses him goodnight, and is reaching for the Star Wars (the remake) light when Cole asks in that hesitant tone of voice, "Hey
Hank recognizes the tone at once, and feels warmth bloom in his chest like a flower as he leans back a little from where he sits on the bedside to look at Cole. The boy's wide blue eyes stare up at him, vulnerable, and Hank takes extra consideration to lower and soften his
When Cole hesitates more and doesn't say it outright, Hank's concern grows, and he reaches a hand to his son's knee. He shakes it a little, playful,
"Is Connor going to go away?"
/That/ was a question Hank wasn't expecting. The Lieutenant blinks a couple of times at that, frowns, then chuffs out a breath of laughter. He can't
"Mom doesn't like him," Cole says, as if that answers everything.
"Where did you hear that?" Hank asks, voice taking on a slightly sterner tone.
Cole shrugs from
Damn sharp kids being more perceptive than Hank gives them credit for.
Hank gives Cole's leg a reassuring squeeze of his hand. "You mom doesn't seem to like Connor very much right now, but
"Like you and Connor?" Cole asks.
Hank's smile is as warm as his heart. "Yeah, bud, like me and Connor."
Cole thinks about this. "Do you think Mom and Connor will become friends?"
Hank thinks of the devilish
Hank shakes his head. "Not a chance, bud. Connor is /your/ nurse, right? So if you want him to stay your nurse, then he gets
That finally seems to reassure Cole, who smiles at the realization that Connor is someone special to /him/ that can't be taken away by someone else. The bit of tension and worry that was in his son's shoulders seem to melt away a little bit, and he settles back into
"You're welcome. Sleep tight, Cole." Hank leans down to kiss his son on the forehead one more time, and adjusts the blankets covering him so they're just slightly higher up his neck. Cole snuggles deeper into their warmth, the most precious thing
"Hm?" Hank asks, "what was that, buddy?"
Cole stares up at his dad, eyes wide and totally innocent. "Do /you/ like Connor, dad?"
Hank fights not to blush under the question, and equates his son
He smiles reassuringly at Cole. "Of course I do, bud. Connor is a great nurse - he takes good care of you when I have to be at work and can't look after you myself."
Cole thinks about this, then makes a
Hank nods in agreement, "Yeah, that's true," he says, wondering where Cole is going with this. "We're good friends, though, aren't we? Even you and Connor." A flicker of concern makes its
Cole nods and smiles a bit sleepily, "Yeah, I like Connor. He plays fun games and he's always there when I have one of my seizures." Cole pauses. "And he brings good snacks."
Cole Anderson stares at his father, eyes wide, then asks what Hank has dreaded and anticipated for years.
Hank is aware of his heart pounding, feels his pulse throb through his neck down to his wrists and his gut. He sees red for a hot second, followed by a cold rush of emotion that empties at his feet.
Hank tries to mend what image Cole maintains of his mother. "Hey, she's coming to your parent-teacher conference on Wednesday, right? We'll all be there."
His son blinks, looking not totally convinced, but Hank finds he wouldn't believe himself either if he was told that. But he
"Love you, peanut," he says, kisses his son on the forehead just /one/ more time, and begins to rise from the bed. "Get some sleep. I'll see you in the
"Okay, Dad. Goodnight."
Hank leaves Cole's room, the door only partway closed as Hank enters the hallway. He always keeps the door open so Sumo could come in if he wants. Hank can't even recall the number of times he's entered or peeked into Cole's
Hank chuckles and shakes his head as he enters the living room, and can't help but startle a little at what he finds there.
Susan is still awake, sitting on the main living room couch looking absolutely /pissed/.
"Surprised you're still up," Hank chooses to say neutrally, not wanting to poke and prod the beast more than what may be necessary. Perhaps they can patch up
"I want Connor gone."
Or all of Hank's carefully maintained patience can snap like a fucking twig.
starting to notice spelling errors so that's my signal its time for bed 🤣hello and goodnight to all my late-night readers! thanks to everyone who checked in today - i love hearing your guys' feedback & reactions - love you all and see ya tomorrow. stay cool out there!!
saw a couple of people start the fic today and like posts as they went; welcome! :) glad to see you made it here.
lets get into it
Hank looks at Susan like she's grown a second head. "/What?" he says, voice a near growl. He tries at once to reel in his control, not wanting to let his emotions get out of hand, and a part of him hopes that Susan maybe misspoke or that he didn't understand what she meant.
Hank twists his mouth, raises an eyebrow, "You're kidding, right?" Susan lifts her shoulders in a shrug, indifferent. Hank
She turns more over the couch, arm extending
Hank takes considerable relief in the fact that he is not too far from a chair where he might loose his footing, or that he's holding anything relatively breakable. Regardless,
"exCEUSE me?" Susan says, and she's finally prompted to stand up, to face Hank head-on, and that's
"You know how work is for me, Hank. Yeah I wish I had more time with Cole but I don't have a flexible schedule you do, and I have to put in a lot of hours to keep up paying for you and Cole to
"You fuckin kidding me, Susan?" Hank asks, unconsciously taking a step forward. "You don't pay a damn cent around here - and what you think getting called in at 2 am in the morning is supposed to be a 'flexible schedule?! Why the hell do you think I hired
Susan glares up at him critically, something in her eyes studious and thoughtful. She narrows her gaze, then twists
Tension coils along every part of Hank's body, and
She throws her arms up, but spits venom
"For /three whole months/, Susan?! Really? You're gonna go with /that?!" Hank snaps. "How stupid do you think Cole is, that he hasn't noticed these gaps you've spent without him?!"
"Cole asked me tonight if you like spending time with him, Susan."
This is the first thing Hank has said that seems to strike something in her. His ex-wife startles.
"No, Susan, god, what kind of person do you think I am!?
A harsh, sharp, and electric ringtone interrupts Hank's
He sees Susan groan and close her eyes, like it might force the sound of
Hank grumbles incoherently to himself and pulls the phone out, squinting a little against the brightness of the screen to read the caller ID.
"Connor...?" he murmurs, the name enough to cause his ex's head to snap in
"You should answer it," she says, biting. Hank glares at her. She leans back, crosses her arms over her chest defensively as she cocks her hips to one side. "On speaker. We're both Cole's parents - I want to hear what his nurse has to say."
The nurse's voice comes through tinny through the speaker, holding a hint of nervous energy, "Good evening, Lieutenant. I'm sorry for calling
God even with the interruption of
Connor is quiet for
"Yeah, yeah, it's fine," Hank says absently. He considers Susan for a moment, then speaks into the receiver. "Actually, Connor, Susan was wondering-" she looks sharply to him at that. Hank
Connor's reply is prompt, "Just 4 minor ones - he didn't lose consciousness for any of them. He didn't have a big one or anything when he got home, though?"
Hank smirks, "Yeah, alright, pretty good for him."
"Ehh, not the
Hank shakes his head, and says into the phone, "Nope, he's doing good."
He hears Connor's soft sigh of relief from the other side. "Okay, sounds good. You got my text though, right? Because I send you that summary every time
Hank hasn't needed to check his phone to know he got it. "Yeah, I did, Con, thanks man."
"Not a problem, Hank," the
"Yeah, and thanks for tonight."
"Not a problem. Goodnight,
Hank hangs up the phone, and looks to his ex-wife, challenging. "And /that's/ why we're not giving up Connor."
Susan gives out an irritated huff of air, then says a little more sternly. "I want him gone, Hank. And that's final. If you don't do
She decides to end the conversation there, walking past Hank on her way to his bedroom. She intentionally clips her shoulder against his, and Hank sneers at her as she goes. "Don't hold your breath."
Susan glares over her shoulder at him, and slams the door closed.
goin to bed now, kids! will try to update tomorrow - featuring the Parent Teacher conference, fun times ahead ;) i'll see you guys around - thank you all for reading and for liking and commenting! love hearing from you guys. night, all!
Susan insists on staying all week until the night of the Parent-Teacher conference, and she's been an absolute thorn into Hank the whole time
"The seizure was technically 5 seconds long but Connor wrote down /six!" she says to Hank one day after they've
Hank shakes his head, "Connor has never been anything but accurate when monitoring and keeping track of Cole's seizures, Susan, you're just being picky."
She scoffs, but ultimately lets the issue go.
Hank asks Connor later the
Connor just gives him that patient and wistful smile to Hank, who feels the insurmountable urge to
"It's not so bad. I deal with it. And the way I see it, she's taking an interest in Cole's life, so it can't be all that
"Uh-huh," Hank says, wondering if nurses have to pass a particular kind of test in patience when it comes to dealing with frustrating . . . patients. He continues removing groceries from the shopping bags and handing them to Connor to place in the cupboards. It's not
Hank notices Connor giving him an odd look, which lets the lieutenant know he's checked out again.
And it's only from Hank knowing Connor so well at this point that he can recognizes how /that/ strikes
"Having Susan there does stress him out," Connor says a bit more quietly, as if the woman were capable of hearing him over the sound of the shower. Hank stills, everything in him stopping
After a moment, Connor continues, "She pushes him too hard - it stresses him out. Not just with school
"Yeah, the teacher from the therapy room will let him crash there for a nap if he needs it, right?"
Connor dips his head in affirmation. "Mrs. Carroll," he fills in
"She's a sweetheart."
"She /is/," Connor says with a smile, instantly warming Hank with the gentleness that reflects in his amber eyes. The nurse's eyes crinkle at the edges, and he goes on, "But with Sus-" Connor pauses, frowning, and corrects himself,
Hank grunts softly
When Connor doesn't say anything for a couple of more moments, Hank looks to him in concern. He sees the echoed frustration coupled
"Hey, hey," Hank interrupts, stepping
Connor doesn't seem convinced, refuses to look up at Hank. He still looks torn, eyebrows pinched at the middle
Lifting his other hand up, he goes to cup the side of Connor's face. The man's breath hitches underneath him, eyelashes fluttering at the contact
Hank's blue eyes manage to widen, and he can't stop the tenderness of his voice, nor
"Fuck, yeah, sorry," Connor says, sniffing. He reaches an arm up to wipe at his nose, and Hank would chuckle at the sound of Connor swearing if it weren't under such emotional
"Hey," Hank says, and his cupped hand seems to pull Connor even closer, almost gravitational, like Connor is a wayward asteroid and Hank the sun. If they collide
And the way Connor finally tilts his head so he can match Hank's gaze with his own -winter blue with warm summer brown- it even causes Hank to lose his breath for a second.
The hand holding Connors tugs him even closer - and their chests
And maybe its his Dad Sense, or maybe it's just because of the close
The embrace breaks -or perhaps it releases-
Hank feels something deep inside him - even farther away than his heart - some kind of emotion
He thinks it feels a lot like love.
"Ya ain't got nothin to apologize for, kid," Hank mumbles into the nurse's hair, lips brushing against the strands. A part of Hank's mind can only focus on how soft it
Connor is stiff under Hank's arms, but he starts to relax further into Hank's arms the longer he's held. "..Thank you, Hank," he hears the nurse mumble into his shirt. He
Hank chuckles, lets one hand drift to hold the back of Connor's head - an echo of their last embrace in this very kitchen. "Hey, anytime, Con."
And god, this younger man in his arms is so soft and warm, so solid beneath
But the moment does end -
It ends with the sound of of small sock-covered feet running down the hallway, accompanied by the sound of a lumbering Sumo after him.
If Cole notices or realized that they were just embraced in each other's arms, he doesn't comment or bother to care. Instead he looks at the two of
Connor laughs, throws his head back in his typical carefree manner. He leans back into the counter, eyes shining as they regard Hank. "That sounds like a Dad problem to me,"
"God, damn nurses," Hank groans, but looks at Cole with warmth regardless. "Can you be in charge of getting the cleaning supplies from the closet, bud?" he asks.
Cole's nose wrinkles. "I don't have to clean it up though, do I?"
"No, but you have to help."
Hank takes the free moment from any prying eyes to look at Connor. The nurse, perhaps sensing his gaze, looks up, and beneath the return of his casual and warm persona,
He aches to soothe it, and he reaches out maybe impulsively to first lace his pinkie with Connor's. Then after a quiet moment, the rest of Connor's fingers intertwine with Hank's.
Hank squeezes Connor's hand - or maybe it was
But it sends a pulse of reassurance through Hank, and he knows it goes through Connor, too when he sees the little smile and the particular gleam in his eyes.
"Thanks, Hank," Connor murmurs.
Each word is a thousand exposed nerves in Hank's body, but it
Their hands finally drop, and Hank goes after
As he enter's Cole's room, he sees the bathroom door open slowly, revealing freshly-showered Susan, watching him with eyes dangerously narrowed.
Hank doesn't stay for whatever trouble she wants to stir up. He's got other shit to worry about.
The atmosphere of the car on the way to the PT conference is how it always is with Susan - tense.
Hank drums his fingers along the steering wheel, and wishes that the time would pass by sooner. Then he would be at the school where he could be with Connor and Cole and not have
Hank can't help but clear his throat though, and start a conversation, "Nice of Cole's teacher to be so willing to meet with us earlier than the other parents are having conferences. Y'know, to fit Cole's schedule and all."
He continues, "Not a lot of teachers would be willing to do that, y'know? Have the conference right after school when it's still pretty busy. And with Cole being so tired by the end
"So long have you been fucking the nurse?"
"God!" Hank exclaims, nearly swerves into oncoming traffic from the shock at the question. He looks at Susan, flabbergasted, and shrugs a few cars off that honk at him from behind. He ignores them, and
"I find that hard to believe," she says sharply.
Hank makes a kind of hapless gesture with
"So you don't deny-"
"You're looking into things just trying to stir up trouble because you don't like Connor! Would you leave the damn kid alone, god!" Hank runs a hand through his hair, heart
"God, Henry, isn't he like half your age? You really are a sick-"
"Will you shut up?!" he returns, hands shaking. "It's nothing like that."
She watches him suspiciously, her eyes narrowed, "I'm not stupid, Henry. I can tell you think you
"I can tell you think you have feelings for him, Henry. But you don't. And neither does /he./ He just wants a sugar daddy to
Something unpleasant curls in Hank's gut from the way Susan said it. "You don't know him - you don't know us at all," he grits out, his fury now so deep that he couldn't strain to reach a yelling voice even if he wanted.
Susan scoffs, disbelieving. "Uh huh, yeah. let's just hurry up and get this over with. I have things I need to do back at
Hank gives her a sidelong glance, but doesn't say anything. He could easily ask her about anything she might have noticed Cole needed extra of, or suggest some things she could do to help clean the house - after all it IS HER KID.
But Hank does
And at the front, there's Connor and Cole, waiting for Hank and Susan side by side with winning smiles on both their faces.
Hank parks the car, eager to be
"Hi Dad!" Cole chips, eyes
"I look forward to seeing it," Hank says with a
Connor informs Hank of everything flawlessly.
thank you all for your never-ending support! nothing makes my day more than hearing what you guys think of the fic so far
love you all and seeya tomorrow! gnight! :)
well i woke up an hour before my alarm at 7:30. now it's 8 and i dont have to go into work for a while. lets get some frickin writing done, yeah?
also good morning to everyone :) hope you have a good start to your day!
"Not a lot, though?" Hank asks, glancing at Connor with raised brows.
Connor makes a face and does a so-so hand gesture, "About 8, but that's pretty normal for days like this."
"Ever since they lowered his depakote last month it really seems like they've been less frequent," Connor says.
"They have," Hank says in agreement. He hears the firm click of Susan's
"It's a medication used to help control Cole's seizures," Connor informs neutrally as he maintains his voice at a helpful and
"Has he been on that long?" she asks.
The two men glance at each other, Hank entering the school before Connor.
The nurse turns out to
To her credit, Susan does a very fine job of brushing away the bit of awkwardness from that statement. "Oh, didn't recognize the name," she
Hank and Connor glance at each other, the nurse's eyebrows raised while Hank rolls his eyes.
With Cole eagerly bounding ahead to where his classroom is, and Susan trotting smartly after him, a temptation rises like the tide for Hank to stretch across the distance
He glances at the RN while he walks, who's just as attentive as he catches Hank's stare, a bit of a crooked smile twitching at the corner of his lips.
In a move that's just as quick as it is subtle, Connor manages to close the socially-
He smiles warmly, greeting them
"It's Ms. Benton, actually," she
Simon gracefully dips his head, "Apologies. Ms. Benton, then." He moves on to shake Hank's hand, who gives him a firm handshake and a half-
"Mr. Peel," Hank says.
"And good to see you too, Connor," the teacher greets, nodding to the nurse in acknowledgement.
Connor smiles in return, "You too, Simon."
"Thank you for meeting us right after school like this, instead of in one
"Oh absolutely!" Mr. Peel says with a compassionate smile. "Anything I can do to help make things easier at school for you and for Cole - please don't hesitate to let me know."
"Well we appreciate it," Hank returns.
Hank and Susan automatically
Connor places his own
And Hank tries to focus, he really does. But he's honestly 1000% distracted by the way Cole holds up his chair, and hesitates, glancing between both ends of his table. Hank is squat in the middle
Hank gently bites the inside of his mouth, unable to stop himself
The nurse, perceptive as ever, looks back at him, recognizing the small and seemingly insignificant choice made by Hank's son. They don't comment on it, but Connor offers a sort of melancholic smile before turning to Cole and saying something softly
Hank looks away, warm, and forces himself to focus on the conference.
"Cole really is a bright kid, he's really flourishing in the
This isn't exactly news to Hank. If there was some kind of issue, he knows Connor would have told him. He knows Cole has friends, that during recess Connor will
(Whatever, Hank knows it makes Connor's day
"What about schoolwork?" Susan asks promptly. "How are his grades doing?"
Mr. Peel shifts a little in his seat, smile turning consolidating, "Cole is a little behind the rest of his peers, but he's made great
Hank nods, and smiles, "Well I'm glad to hear he's still doing well, though. Any classes in particular we should be keeping an eye on?"
Mr. Peel hums thoughtfully, and bends over his papers gathered on the table to look
Hank casts a cursory glance toward Connor, who's lips tick up in a pleased smirk. He
Cole looks pleased, and smiles at the compliment,
"Wait, I don't understand, why is a B- average good?" Susan interrupts, frowning. "I mean, if he's having a hard enough time with third grade, how is he ever going to be ready for the fourth?"
"Well isn't that your /job/?" Susan asks with a suddenly stern frown. "He should be getting straight A's, anything less than that is unacceptable for my son.
Connor dips his head, but before he can get a word in to
Susan gives Hank a frosty look, and Mr. Peel steps in to defend the nurse as well.
"And actually, Ms. Benton, Cole's grades have
"I like science," Cole chirps at Connor's side. "I liked the part of class where we studied the water cycle, because of the song!"
"It was one I taught him from when I was a kid," Connor admits
Mr. Peel continues, polite but open, "And please, Connor, if there's anything you'd like to add, feel free to speak up. You spend more time with Cole during the school day than I do. Is there anything you've noticed?"
So he recognizes when Mr. Peel is able to smoothly shift the conversation from attacking
The RN in question bows his head slightly. "There's not much I can think of that I can comment on further, but Simon, er, Mr. Peel has been excellent in helping normalize Cole's condition to the other kids and helping to include him in classroom
"The fish!" Cole chirps up, beaming.
Hank snickers a little at that, while Mr. Peel nods, his grin matching Connor's as they
Susan interrupts, "I'm sorry, what's the fish?" she asks, curt.
"Cole experiences visual hallucinations before having a seizure - typically before one of his tonic-clonic ones."
She frowns. "And those are the...?"
"They're typically known as grand mal
"And they look like fish!" Cole juts in, excited to be part of the conversation.
"It's worked out really well," Simon says with a
Hank can't help it. His chest constricts with a deep
Connor has done so much for Cole, risen above and beyond the call of duty, but he knows Connor would claim otherwise and that it's all part of the job. Hank doesn't think so,
"He's a huge help at home, too," Hank says, tossing the increasingly-blushing Connor a tender but teasing smile. "And I'm glad to hear
Susan huffs out a breath of air, continuing to be displeased no matter what. "Well, all that regardless, Cole's grades are very important. I can't tolerate my son doing poorly in his
God, just- Hank closes his eyes, has to count to ten, and by then Simon has already attempted to cool Susan down by telling her about how Cole's
But Hank is used to watching people, studying their mannerisms and making assessments to their thoughts based on that.
So seeing his son,
How - DARE - his - GaOD. HoW?!!?!
The conference starts to wrap
"Don't forget to do the assigned chapters for tonight, Cole!"
"I won't," Cole says, though not as smiley as he
Something in Hank curdles with discontented fury.
The walk down the hallway is a bit quieter, made tense by Susan's refusal to speak to either men or Connor as she starts smartly away from them.
"Hey, listen," Hank says, voice softened as he
Hank perceives gentle understanding pass over
A thud, muffled, and far, far ahead of them. "HENRY!"
Susan. A scream Hank easily recognizes with a tone that is all-too familiar. Urgent and panicked.
"Fuck!" Hank yells, worry
Connor, sharp as a knife and quick as a whip, is already on Hank's heels and passing him to the door. The nurse's hands are already going for the rescue med he keeps at the ready
When Hank gets to where Cole is, Connor is already there at his son's side on his knees, tilting Cole's head back and giving rescue breaths. Meanwhile, Susan stands off to the side, tears streaming down her cheeks as she breathes harshly, clearly
Hank gets to Cole's side, skidding onto the pavement and surely scraping his own knees as he leans over Cole, asking Connor, "You need me to take over?" referring to the rescue breaths.
"Not yet," Connor says, taking another breath for air, reassessing
Hank follows what Connor is saying at once, "I've got more of the midazolam."
"Give it a few," Connor says, and Hank nods, understanding. Wait for the dose Connor gave to kick in, and if that doesn't work, /then/ give the following one.
But thank /god/ it doesn't come to that. After Connor finishes giving Cole another round of rescue breaths, the boy's seizing stops, and he grows still.
Hank only lets himself breathe when he sees the independent rise and fall of Cole's
"Cole!" Susan cries. With the seizure over, she hurries to her son's side, hands frantically going to Cole's head, feeling his hair, touching his face all while she weeps and pushes Connor out of her way. "Oh honey I
Cole is having a hard time coming out of this one. Hank knows the kids is gonna crash the second he's in the car, let alone go the whole 10 minute car ride home.
The kid blinks wearily at his mother, and tears begin to trail down his
"He's here, bug," Hank says softly, going forward a little to brush his thumb over Cole's head. "You're okay, you had a seizure as we were leaving your parent-teacher conference."
Cole's face twists,
Conflicting emotions Hank can't describe tear at his heart, and he looks over to the RN, who's started to dig in his black bag of
But at Cole's request, Connor drops everything, turning immediately to Cole and leaving his bag off his shoulder.
Cole's mother releases his hand, as if burned while she backs away, leaving Connor with enough
"'m scared," Cole whimpers, his face red, and
"Yeah I bet you are," Connor agrees softly, and brushes his hand along Cole's deep brown hair in a comforting gesture. "Those seizures can get pretty scary. But you did real good - we gave you some medicine to
Cole nods weakly, and his expression morphs painfully.
"Hey, baby," Hank croons, and lifts his son's hand to place a kiss to the dirty knuckles. "We're both taking care of you, okay? Nothing to worry about with us
Cole seems to take this seriously, because he nods and sounds far more collected than he was. "I didn't even see any fish for this one," he says pathetically. "What if I can never tell how they're, then how can I-"
"Hey now, hey now," Connor interrupts Hank's son's
Hank has tears in his eyes when he smiles, but he can't help it, not when Con is being so tender and soft and good to his epileptic son.
Hank really /is/ in deep.
I'm gonna tuck in, lads. A HUGE thank you to everyone who chimed in tonight! Watching you guys like each post as I was updating was quite the motivator-like a race! love you all, cya tomorrow!
LETS JUMP RIGHT IN, EH????? been mind-plotting all day!!!!
Connor parts from the Andersons after all are satisfied that Cole is doing just fine after his seizure.
"We'll see you tomorrow for school, Con?" Hank asks as the nurse accompanies them
"Of course," Connor says with a slight bow of his head. "But if you decide not to go, just let me know and I'll come over to your place instead."
"What for?" Susan asks crisply, causing both men to look in her direction. She can be so quiet sometimes that it's
"When Cole has really bad days that really tucker him out, we let him stay at home," Hank says, voice instinctively softened with his son asleep
Susan lets out a disbelieving
"God, Susan, does it ever end with you?" Hank spits, unable to keep the venom back, not after Cole just had a Bad One. "It's not like Cole
Hank is burning with a kind of anger he can only describe as bubbling like a kettle full of water, and
"You don't get to say that to me, Henry Anderson. /No one/ cares more for Cole and his health more than I do!" Susan insists, harshly whispering along with Hank. "He's my /son/. I'm his /mother/!"
"Connor," Hank says, letting the name fall out on a sharp exhale. "Thank you for everything tonight, really. You did great, and thanks for meeting with us for Cole's conference."
The RN's neutral expression softens in the form of
But he reminds himself who's here, who's watching, and he holds himself at bay.
Instead he returns the smile, mirroring Connor's as the nurse
"See you tomorrow."
The car ride back home is tense, the empty space filled with the sound of Hank and Susan bickering, arguing over Cole's health and who knows best for him, nevermind the fact that Susan has never cared BEFORE
Cole has recovered by the next morning, his awake and usual bouncing self as Hank readies him for school while Susan sleeps in.
They meet Connor at the school where Hank drops Cole off, and promises to see him when he gets off work. The kid
"He got his morning meds, nothing during the night, uhh, be sure to stay on top of his med times."
"I've got it, Hank," Connor says. He's dressed in his
Hank smirks, and huffs out a breath of air, "Yeah, I know you do."
Connor's reply is a genuine smile, and damn him to hell, Hank lets himself be indulgent just this once...
At the touch, Connor freezes, but the smile on his face starts to twitch at the edges as Hank's fingers linger
Hank sees, feels, and hears as Connor's breath catches, his chest stopping from the sharp movement of the inhale, a little gasp from his lips and a slight upward tilt of his head. He's like a deer in the headlights with those doe-brown eyes,
"I'll see you tonight," Hank says softly, and it feels like a promise.
Connor nods against Hank's hand, the movements slight. Hank
"See you tonight," the nurse replies, voice a soft gasp.
Hank breaks the spell as he smoothly drops his hand, then turns and goes
He doesn't look back until he's started driving away, but he sees in the rear view mirror how Connor has both hands pressed to his burning cheeks, and is smiling.
Work that day goes by impossibly slowly, Hank's thoughts consumed of nothing but Connor.
The soft and tender moments he and Connor share - the movie theater, subtle touches on walks or around the house, the sound of Hank's name on his lips, the little
Hank bites his bottom lip at his desk, and types faster into his worktop computer.
He's going to ask Connor out to dinner tonight.
Then he's going to confess.
Going to tell him how he thinks Connor hung the very moon and the
Hank's heart swells the more he thinks about it, while a pit grows just as quickly at the 'what-if's' spinning
What if Connor rejects him? What if he refuses? What if Hank was misinterpreting Connor's reactions and what if he-
He sees Connor's blush from this afternoon, the smile he tried to hide and the feeling of blood rushing up to his face to pool beneath Hank's
The lieutenant feels a surge of light-headedness on the verge of passing out, so he forces himself back into the moment, blinking hard and focusing on the screen ahead of him.
"The hell're you smiling about, Anderson?" sneers a voice from the other side of the
"Fuck you, Reed!" Hank calls out, and types faster in the summary of yesterday's interrogation.
But even with Gavin's heckling, Hank can't keep the smile from off his face, nor the anticipatory blush rising up on his cheeks.
"DA-AD!" Cole screams from the kitchen, and breaks off into a run, barreling into his father. Hank releases a deep laugh, moving quick enough to sweep his son off his feet, hands gripping Cole's ankles as he swings the kid
Connor chimes from the kitchen warmly, "Welcome home, Hank," he calls, a slight tremor in his voice only Hank can pick up. The lieutenant makes his way to the kitchen, still holding Cole up by his ankles as is their daily ritual. "You have a good day?" Connor asks.
"Chips?" he asks, looking at Connor with a raised brow.
The nurse smiles in a kind of secret way, as if embarrassed. "Secret snack," he informs with a subdued grin. He gives a little
Hank looks on with a sudden twang of guilt. "You know you don't have to share your snack with him, right? There's plenty of food here for
Connor ducks his head, smiling, looks only slightly abashed as he admits, "I don't mind. I enjoy sharing with him."
Hank's heart is flooded with that by-now familiar warmth, his smile to Connor so tender. "You're sweet, Con," he says, "that's kind of you."
Cole's shirt falls down to cover his face, and he wriggles in his father's grasp before Hank finally swings the boy to and fro before tossing him safely to the couch.
Meanwhile, Hank shrugs off his winter jacket to hang it on the coat rack. "How'd it go today?" he calls to Connor.
"Fine, no big ones since I last
"Aahhh sounds good, practicing math, get that grade up," Hank says, voice warm and optimistic towards Cole. He reaches to his son, ruffling his
He takes in a
"SPAGHETTI!" screams the boy from the couch, shooting up to beam at his father.
Hm, not a bad idea. Hank lumbers to the kitchen, gently
"Go wash your hands, then."
Cole zooms to the bathroom. Brought on by the excitement, Sumo lumbers after him, leaving Connor and Hank alone in the
Connor is quiet, placing his things away into his black bag with his back turned to Hank.
It's a goddamn perfect opportunity for Hank, and he catches himself looking Connor up and down, admiring his lean but muscular frame, the curve of his....back. His long legs. Of
Hank's eyes slowly ravishing Connor
Hanks wandering gaze snaps, frozen as he feels his face burn at being caught /ogling/ the nurse.
His mind struggles to catch up so he can say something smooth in turn, something that might catch the nurse off guard or sweep him off his feet.
God it's been so long since Hank has done this.
"Depends," Hank drawls. He leans back against the counter a little, putting his weight down on his elbows so his hips are jut slightly forward. Connor makes a slight
"Depends on what?" Connor asks in that smooth voice of his.
Hank bites the corner of his bottom lip, chest tight before he pushes
Connor's eyes begin to hood, looking up and down quick until they rest at Hank's face
Hank chuckles, tugs playfully at the strand again. "Yeah. Dinner. You like spaghetti? I make a killer garlic toast."
Connor tilts his
"With butter." Hank scoffs, playfully mocking. He flicks his fingers at Connor's forehead, causing the man's head to wrinkle at the sensation. Hank laughs. "Amateur."
Cole allows a dash of a smile up one side of his face, but it turns
"Sibling night?" Hank echoes.
Connor smiles, bashful. "Ehhh, my brother and I watch movies together and order dinner out. Catch up, hang out. If
Hank tilts his head a bit to one side, his own smile soft. And somehow without realizing it, his hands have settled onto Connor's slim hips. "You two are really close, huh?" Hank asks, his own voice warm.
"He's my best friend," Connor admits, but he's
AND THEN I DIDN'T
Hope soars in Hank's chest, weighted but light as a feather as he offers a hopeful half-smile, and nods. "Yeah, absolutely. Another night."
The Lieutenant fervently tries to think of what his plans are for tomorrow. And of course there's absolutely nothing.
Connor lifts his eyebrows, "Oh! Well Hank I don't mind if we bring Cole along. It would be nice to get to hang out with out guys out of work, and
"Connor, /Connor/, Hank says, holding up a placating hand and bracing it against Connor's chest, grounding him. The younger man looks up with raised brows, and Hank smiles with as
"It won't?" Connor asks, mouth gaping in a gasp when Hank's lips brush against the soft skin of his earlobe.
"Mm-mm," Hank denies, and
"You sound pretty sure of yourself," Connor chooses to comment, and his arms go up around Hank's neck, hanging loosely.
"Oh, baby," Hank starts, but it comes out as more of a growl as
Connor makes the most /delicious/ sound, some kind of merging between a gasp and a whine. At Hank's neck, Connor's fingers twist and curl at his nape, tangling in the silver strands
Hank continues on in a deep and low voice, relishing in the slight shudders of Connor's body when he does. "Baby you have no /idea/ how confident in my abilities I am."
"EEWWW, ARE YOU GUYS GONNA KISS??"
The boy somehow
"Are you guys boyfriends?" he asks with an innocent tilt of his head. "That's what boyfriends do, right?"
Hank waves his
"But if you guys are boyfriends does that mean you're gonna get /married/?" he asks, the disgust definitely leaning in favor of thrill as whatever idea lodged in the young boy's mind starts to take flight.
"Not really, Cole. It just means that-"
"Because I don't think I would mind if you got married," Cole says, bold and true. "Then Connor would get to stay here /all/ the time." He paused, seemed to
Hank raises an eyebrow, and glances over to Connor, who somehow manages to look pale and flushed red at the same time. His hands fiddle nervously at his sides, while Cole looks to
Hank looks to Con,
Hank holds a hand up to his face in a mimicry of holding a phone to his ear. "Call you later?" he mouths toward Connor.
Connor nods, affirming what Hank asked as he holds up his own hand in an old replicated
"Well see you later, Connor," Hank says, positively lust-addled, watching the nurse go. "Good luck with your boss!"
"'Preciate it. Bye, Cole!"
Hank watches the door closed, then turns to his son with a warm and genuine
Cole cheers, and Hank smiles wider.
that's all i've got for now lads, I'm pooped.
HUGE THANK YOU to those who liked/comment as they read. you are all valid, bless you.
will update tomorrow as I can 🧡
*happy breath* let's get on to the heartbreak then shall we? :)
Hank is positively abuzz with a sort of restless anxiety the following day. He completes and follows through all his tasks with half a mind present, finding that he's only able to focus on the evening ahead, especially since he's on fucking cloud 9.
Connor /agreed to go
Hank can't remember the last time he'd actually been on a date. Must have been a short while after his divorce with Susan. Just a lackluster rebound with a cute and fiery redhead with a cold name that later turned out to be a lesbian (though
But this is /Connor/. Handsome, smart, capable, beautiful, soft, gentle, compassionate, /perfect/ Connor. And God Hank didn't know what the nurse saw in him but damn him if
But Hank was motivated
Hank loved Connor.
The thought and self-acceptance of his feelings caused the lieutenant's old heart to skip a bit in excitement, and standing in front of
Treat Connor to dinner, spend delicious time together growing even closer,
*If Connor was interested* because Hank sure knew that *he* was interested. Of course last night's exchange taken into consideration, there was little that could be said to Hank to convince
The Lieutenant nearly spilled the coffee pot as he poured the dark and steaming liquid into the cheap paper cup, mouth dry and heart hammering hard against his sternum. /Fuck/ he had to pay more attention if he was going to be thinking those
He wondered if Connor had similar thoughts.
Hank shook that kind of thought from his head. If he allowed himself to linger on that, he would /definitely/ never get to work, at least not seriously.
Back at his desk, Hank pulled out
H: you excited for tonight?
C: Very much so, Lieutenant :) And yourself?
H: cant wait to show you a good time honey
There's a bit of a delay in the conversation after that text, and Hank
C: Can't wait for you to show me a good time. 💙Did everything get sorted out with Cole?
H: yep susans got him all through
C: And the likelihood of her needing something?
H: significant, but she has all the tools she needs to take care of Cole. she knows what to do if he has a seizure
C: Was Cole looking forward to spending the
H: a bit, yeah. Maybe not as much as he used to, but..
C: She knows she can call me in if she needs me, right?
H: oh ho, trying to get out of dinner are you? ;) and yes, she does, even though you're not supposed to be working tonight with us
H: Oh ive got plans baby. you can be sure of that
Hank's heart goes hard and fast even more in his chest, but he forces his breathing to ease as he stares at the spinning dots on the screen, letting him know that Connor
C: I'm looking forward to seeing what you can dish out 😉
Hank's heart flutters, or maybe that's his fingers. Either way he's absolutely terrified of how Connor is going to react to tonight, despite all the build-up he's placed
C: Absolutely 😊 treating myself to a nice relaxing bath for our date-dinner tonight. Where are we going, by the way? I need to know what I should wear.
"Nothing," is what Hank wants to say, but he holds his tongue to that, and instead types:
(gotta end it tonight for now lads. didnt get a lot of sleep last night, its Been A Day and I have work tomorrow am. next couple of days likely gonna be busy but i'll keep the updates comin)😊
Less than half a minute passes, and instead of a returning text from Connor, Hank nearly jumps out of his skin
"What?" Hank asks with a snicker, drawing the phone up to his ear and lowering his voice to a whisper, but he can't keep the smile from his voice.
"The Jericho, Hank? Are you sure?" Connor's voice asks from the
Hank breathes out hard, a smile at the edge of his voice. "Of course I'm sure, Connor. Told you I was going to show you a good time, right?"
"I mean /yes/, Hank, but THE JERICHO?" Connor's voice fell softly on Hank's ears, "I mean you don't have to do all
"Of course I do, Con," Hank murmurs. He holds the phone a little closer. "This is gonna be our first /real/ adult dinner out, hm? Gotta do it right. Wine and dine ya and all that."
Connor giggles from the other side -giggles!- and returns softly, "You're sweet,
"Anything for you, Connor," Hank murmurs into the receiving end of his phone.
The two are quiet for a couple of moments, simply relishing in each other's presence, and Hank asks, "So, what are you doing right now, then?"
Connor hums, sending a pleasant trill down Hank's
"Getting ready, huh?" Hank says, softening his voice further. "That sounds exciting."
Connor scoffs from the other end of the phone, but he laughs, and Hank hears the sound of rippling water.
Realization falls on the
Connor's only response is his smug laughter, and the beckoning sound of moving water. Hank sees in his mind's eye a pale hand lazily drifting over the bubbly surface of a tub, the smooth arm leading up
Hank blinks hard to reorient himself, registers how hard his face is blushing, and processes dumbly that this is probably Not The Best place to be
"..You okay there, Hank?" Connor's voice finally chimes through, voice dropping a little with concern.
"Yeah, fuck, I'm fine," he replies, and pulls a hand down his face, trying to breathe normally. "Just struggling to get over the image in my head
Connor laughs again, amused and probably prideful at being able to fluster the Lieutenant so easily. "Well I'm charmed," he purrs. "Just at the thought of lil 'ol me got you all up in cahoots?"
"That makes absolutely no sense whatever you just
Connor laughs again, but this time it's softer, and filled with the
"I'm really looking forward to tonight," Connor says at last. His voice is just a brush of sound against Hank's ear, but it still causes the hairs along the Lieutenant's arms to stand up. "It's
Hank's face positively /burns/ to the point Hank is convinced someone must have rubbed raw jalepenos on him because there is NO other explanation for this sensation. The Lieutenant runs his
Connor laughs breathlessly, and Hank grins, biting his lower lip. "I'll see you tonight? Pick you up at 7?" Hank asks into the
"Mhm, sounds good, Lieutenant." Hank fights a shudder at the use of his title. Connor's voice lowers. "I"ll see you tonight."
If Hank was merely distracted /before/ the phone call with Connor, he's basically on another planet at this point.
Hank catches himself writing words he didn't mean to on his reports - thankfully he's able to catch and correct
Connor in his bath, cleaning himself before their date tonight. Connor dressing himself in something nice for Hank. God what would he /wear?/ A suit, something button-down?
Hank nearly loses it, draws his hands down his face. Sliding his hands down Connor's side, feeling the softness of the fabric beneath his hands - the tone of the muscle beneath.
He can't stop himself - he texts Connor again.
H: Can't stop thinking about
Hank waits for 10 agonizing seconds, then when his phone buzzes, he nearly falls out of his chair. He swears his heart skips a beat when he sees the bubble holding Connor's reply.
C: you're insatiable, lieutenant. we haven't even
Hank's reply is immediate.
H: Fuck no
H: But I will
He can almost hear the sound of Connor's laugh in his head when he gets his response.
C: Hang in there, handsome. It'll be 7 before you know it :)
Hank never thought he would get the opportunity to have something like this with someone ever again. Doesn't know what he did to be as lucky as having someone like Connor in his life as a friend, let alone
But in the end it is just a moment.
And that moment ends.
Because at 4:13 pm, Fowler calls at him from the doorway of his glass office.
"Aw c'mon Jeffrey! Don't do this to me tonight!" Hank groans.
"It's not even half an hour from 5, you're Lieutenant, I need you to go out there and do your
Hank's anger, frustration, and disbelief curdles into a dangerous combination of fury. "You gotta be fuckin kidding me, Jeff. I've been looking forward to tonight for a long time and I'm not gonna let you fuckin ruin this for me
"What happened Anderson? You finally gonna fuck that twink nurse?" Reed sneers from across the pen, sipping coffee at his own desk.
"Shut the fuck up, Reed!" Hank and Fowler snarl at the younger detective, who holds up his hands, smug, and
Fowler directs his attention to Reed. "Besides Reed, you're going with him."
Gavin twists his mouth as if having just tasted something gross, and glowers into his coffee. "Phck," Hank hears him mutter. The younger detective glares over at Hank, who gives him
"Whats sa matter, Reed?" Hank sneers. "Not gonna get to fuck your twink pharmacist boyfriend?"
"Fck you too, Anderson!"
"Both of you shut the hell up, get to that site and do you god. damn. jobs! Or turn in your
Fowler turns in place, the door to his office slamming shut.
Reed angrily throws his cup into the waste basket nearby, while Hank leans as far back as his chair will go, pressing the palms of his hands against his eyes. "Fuuuuuccckk," he groans.
Hank growls, "You know there's nothing we can say against Fowler when he gets like that. You think I wanted to stay longer in this shithole than we needed to?"
Gavin groans, leans
That's fucking adorable, but Hank knows Reed would kill him if he said anything like that. And judging from the twisted frown along Gavin's face, he can tell
Gavin, frowning at his desktop, glances up at Hank.
The corner of Reed's mouth twitches, expression indecipherable, but he mutters, "Yeah, dammit. I love him." He looks almost /dreamy/ at the mention of his boyfriend, and when Hank raises an eyebrow, Reed pales
Hank chuckles, smirks at one end of his mouth. "I hear ya, Gav. I won't mention it."
The younger detective relaxes, and rubs his hand over one side of his face again,
"Yeah," Hank grumbles. A buzz of his phone reminds him of what he still needs to
Reed stands up, and mid-gathering his things, pauses to stare at Hank. "Whoa, shit, you really have a date tonight? Damn." He
"Shut up-" Hank shoves the detective with a hand, finally finds his phone in his pocket and unlocks the screen.
Gavin laughs, "Probably went
"Suck an egg, Reed."
"God is it the fckin 1800s? Pretty sure that's the last time something like that was actually said."
Hank chooses to
C: hey. sorry, something came up. not gonna be able to go out tonight.
Hank's mouth turns into a disappointed frown. God, so much for his
H: that's alright. Was just gonna text you. Got called in for a homicide across town. Wasn't gonna be able to make it anyway.
Hank waits for a second, thoughtful, then types-
H: Everything okay?
A couple of minutes pass then before he
C: yeah. just something i gotta deal with
Hank frowns, shifts his jaw and stares at his screen. In the passenger seat, Reed buckles in and complains about Hank
H: all right. Anything I can do to help?
Connor's response is pretty immediate.
Hank wants to chalk it up to him being a detective for so long, wanting to look into things far more than they need to, but he can't help it when his
Something is wrong with Connor. And Hank can't exactly put his finger on it, but it's like the nurse is being intentionally vague, or, defensive. Like he has something he doesn't want to talk about.
Which just isn't LIKE Connor.
Hank presses his lips
Hank wants to be respectful of Connor's privacy. Con is an adult. If there's something he wants or thinks Hank should know, he'll
So he sucks on the inside of his cheeks, and attempts to write in what support he can.
H: Okay.. let me know if there's anything I can do to help
Connor doesn't reply.
God when has Connor /ever/ been quiet about /anything/?
Hank frets the whole
Maybe it's Connor's brother. A family emergency?
"Hey, Reed," Hank says, interrupting whatever tirade the detective has gone off on. "Everything okay with Niles?"
"You think I'm gonna tell you that you SICK MOTHERF-"
Gavin frowns. He may be an idiot but he's not stupid. He is a detective after
"It's just - Connor's acting weird," Hank says, letting out a shaky sigh. "He doesn't sound
Gavin absorbs this. When Hank glances at him, he sees Gavin's thumbs moving along his own screen, texting Niles. "So you guys are like, actually dating?"
Hank releases some of his frustration by this whole thing. "We're
Reed startles from across the car. "SHIT The Jericho? You guys really are serious."
All the aching pain of knowing he and Connor won't get to spend the evening together falls on Hank in one swoop. The pain is only amplified by the fact it feels like
Hank should respect Connor's privacy, and he does-
But he's worried. Just wants to make sure it's nothing with his brother. Just wants to make sure he's okay-
Because if it's not his brother or something else-
Gavin's phone chimes
The detective blinks, and shakes his head, waving at Hank off-handedly. "Oh! Uh-
More anxiety floods Hank's chest, and he bites his lip, chews at it absently until it bleeds. He tastes the copper on his tongue, curses the return of an old habit he thought he'd kick.
"I'm sure it's fine, Hank.
"If it's bothering Connor, it's bothering me," Hank grumbles, and pulls up to the side of the road
"You won't lose him, Hank," Gavin murmurs. "Connor's an adult- a big boy. He's not going anywhere."
Hank sighs, tilts his head back against the seat of his car.
"Anything for you../Dad/."
This time Hank does actually cuff him across the head.
The uncertainty and fear in Hank only continues to grow as the evening draws on. He focuses on the crime scene as well he can. Asking questions, gathering
When he gets back to the precinct at 6:30 to fill out his report of what happened, Connor still hasn't texted him back.
Hank bites the inside of his lip, and decides to reach out first.
H: sorry that tonight
Hank doesn't expect for Connor to reply, or at least not immediately, so he lets himself get distracted by writing up his report. Whatever Connor has going on is something Hank won't be
But even when Hank is leaving the precinct at 7, worn and exhausted, Connor still hasn't texted him back. The only indication Hank has that he's even there is the little check
He reaches out again.
H: Hey i know our original plan didn't really fall through but do you still think we could meet up tonight? no expectations or anything. just hang out be in the same place together. hope everything
Hank sends the text tentatively, and turns his phone up all the way so that he'll hear it on the way home if he gets a text or -god willing- even a call from Connor. Some kind of signal that Connor is there.
The Lieutenant returns to his home, phone quiet
Sumo trots up to him in greeting, nuzzles his nose into Hank's palm and gives a quiet 'boof' hello.
Hank rubs his hand up and along the dog's head, something once strong as a wall beginning to crumble like clay under rainwater.
He kneels on the ground,
Anxiety permanently settled into his gut gives Hank a restless sleep that night, and he rises far before his alarm at 7 in the morning before the sun has
His phone tells him that Connor saw his messages, but has yet to make any sort of reply.
Hank buries himself in distractions. He showers, cleans himself up better than he has in a long time for an early morning. Makes breakfast for himself. An
He only has all the ingredients in the first place because he wanted some good food to be there for Connor, in case he ended up spending the night last night after their date.
But nope. Hank
Doubt is just starting to churn in his mind -god what if he really /is/ this undesirable to everyone around him?- his cell phone rings promptly at 8 am.
Hank dives for his phone across the kitchen table, fingers shaking as he doesn't even
It takes him a moment to recognize the clipped voice from the other line. "Yes, good morning, Mr. Anderson. His is Amanda at Stern Home and Health. How are you doing
Dread and fear courses through Hank. He sits at a chair at the table, unable to stand as his knees just about give up. Fuck, shit, he should have called. Should have insisted and seeing him last night - god what the hell is-
"Is it Connor? What's going on? Is he
Amanda is quiet for a couple of moments on the other side, as if she were collecting herself. But her reply comes out smooth and collected as ever. "Connor is fine, Mr. Anderson. I'm just calling to make you aware that he won't be able to make any of his scheduled shifts
Hank's mouth is dry. He licks his lips, swallows, struggles to piece together what she's saying into a larger
"He's okay? He's not sick or hurt or anything? Is it someone in his family. It's just-" even now Hank tries to protect the nurse. "he was scheduled to come
"Unfortunately with the nature of the job, our nurses cannot always predict when something or someone is going to call them away."
Hank grasps for any kind of information. "So it was another patient he had to go see?" That didn't
"That's not something I am at liberty to discuss with you, Mr. Anderson," Amanda says in her controlled voice.
Hank's mouth is dry again. He finds himself nodding, and asks, "He's all right though? He's okay."
Amanda's voice cools even further. "Connor is perfectly fine, Mr. Anderson."
He blinks, shakes his
Hank isn't even able to say get in a clarifying question, or even a goodbye, when Amanda hangs up. His screen goes
Hank gapes at his phone, and his arms move mechanically as he lets the device drop onto the table.
He's just as confused now as he was five minutes ago before the conversation even started, and even more helpless. Because even now Amanda hasn't given
And even though she said that Connor is alright, that it's nothing he needs to worry or concern himself with- there's just something inside Hank that tells him it's WRONG. Something is WRONG right now and there's nothing he can do to stop it.
Over everything, there's the persistent feeling of loss.
im so sorry to do that to you guys -lead you on about the date then swipe it from under your feet; i did do an evil cackle a couple of times while writing those cute scenes beforehand. muahaha -gotta break ya before i can build ya up
After an indiscernible amount of time, Hank is able to get himself together.
"Everything okay, Hank?" Fowler asks
Hank would appreciate Fowler's concern in any normal circumstances, and he still does. But not right now.
"Yeah, yeah," Hank
"..Alright. Well you take care of yourself, Hank."
There should be absolutely /no reason for it/, but Hank wants to cry again when he hears that. He sniffs
Fowler hangs up, leaving Hank to collapse his head right back on the table, suddenly exhausted all over again.
God, how is he gonna explain this to Cole?
Susan drops Cole off less than an
"He did really great, no problems at all! See you later, buddy!"
After that Susan doesn't linger, hardly giving Hank a farewell before she's speeding off to god-knows where. Doesn't comment on Hank's haggard appearance or bother to ask how his own night went.
Cole was sitting on the couch, already curled up on one side against the armrest, a book lazily open in front of him.
Sumo was draped over the kid, head resting on Cole's legs. His tail wagged when Hank gave the dog a look, then got the idea as Hank takes a spot on the couch
HI IT'S 10PM I'M TIRED ITS NOT GONNA BE A GREAT WEEK FOR WRITING BUT WE'RE GONNA GET SOME DONE ANYWAY CUZ THIS STORY NEEDS TO GET OUT OF MY HEAD
"You doin' okay, bud?" Hank asks, draping his arm over the back of the couch. His hand dangles
The boy nods, then rolls himself so he's on his back looking at his dad. "'M okay."
"Ya have a fun time at mom's?"
Cole shrugged with one shoulder, somewhat indifferent. "Yeah. It was fine."
The tone was
Cole frowns, squirms deeper down into the cushions. "Took me on errands downtown then we watched TV while Mom did work."
God would it be asking his wife too much if she spent
Hank sighed. "Well it's nice to have you home. Missed you, bug." With his hand, he grabbed his son's knee playfully, pulling it side to side. He smiled lopsidedly at him. "No fish?"
Cole mirrored Hank's smile to
"Good night though?" Hank clarifies.
"Just tired, dad," Cole mumbles.
Hank wants to pull back and let his son sleep, but they have to have this conversation. He'd push it off if he could, but in his experience
"Hey, Cole, I need to talk to you about something."
Cole is old enough to recognize the seriousness in Hank's voice, and he sits up a little to look his father more squarely in the eye. "What, dad?"
"It's about Connor
Cole frowns, and pushes himself up so he can sit up straighter against the armrest of the couch. "Okay..Is Connor all
Hank gives as comforting of a smile as he can, "He's fine, buddy. I'm not sure when he's going to be coming back, though. His office wouldn't tell me."
Cole looks conflicted for a few moments, and absorbs this, but he puts on a brave face and
Hank watches him, not totally convinced. "You okay?"
Cole nods again, a bit slowly. "Yeah, just. Okay."
And that's that.
The new nurse, Kara, young and just as bright as Amanda described, arrives the next day the same time Connor usually
The dog adjusts easily enough, and Kara does get along fine with Cole. The boy a bit
It's not enough to hide the fact that Hank still sees the sheen of sadness that passes over Cole's eyes. Caused by little things Kara does that reveals how different her and Connor is. Different way of getting Cole ready
And it's harder for Hank. He doesn't feel as open towards her, despite Kara's warmth and open friendliness.
At the end of the day, he just misses Connor.
Misses the lingering touches and glances, the small
At night, Cole curls up to bed with that stuffed fish
Hank, at one point, asks Cole about it one of the following mornings. "Where did you get that fish, bud?" he asks, serving his son a fresh plate of fruit and fried eggs before school.
Cole looks up from the table.
Hank closes his eyes, and turns away. "Well, that's good," he says, strained, and cracks another egg into the sizzling pan
got some time before i have to start dinner y'all hungry tonight for some fresh angst?
Hank forces his attention to focus on the sizzling of the pan over the stove top as he seasons the eggs, and he tries to cut the emotion right out of his chest when he
Cole is quiet as he waits for his breakfast, and doesn't press Hank for anything more until Hank is sliding a plate of piping hot eggs, buttered toast with jelly and greasy slices of bacon his way. Hank sits at
Cole waits for the opportune moment when Hank has a
Hank nearly chokes on his food from how quick panic and dread flushes through him. How is he supposed to talk to his son about this when he himself is so uncertain? Connor basically
Hank swallows his food, coughing, and drinks some of his steaming coffee to wash it down. It gives him a short amount of time to gather his thoughts, figure out
He clears his throat, looks honestly at his son, "I'm not really sure, bug. It hasn't even been a week yet."
Cole nods, looking into his lap and away from his untouched food. The redness building in his face is the half second of warning Hank has
An aching so strong its like a freight train hitting him square in the chest explodes in Hank. He hurries to his son's side, kneeling on the floor as he places a hand on his son's knee while the
Cole just cries harder, the mirroring blue of his eyes a
Hank shakes his
"But I DID!" Cole wails, wiping an arm across his face and nose, smearing more snot over
Cole doesn't answer, only breaks down
Hank doesn't hesitate as he opens his arms, letting his son sidle forward so he can curl up on Hank's lap. His small frame trembles beneath him, and Hank tightens his arms even more, wishing that he could just hug his son's troubles
"I miss him," Connor whimpers.
That's when Hank knows he's crying too, feels the heat in his face and the burn of tears from his eyes. "Me too, bud." His hand goes to cup Cole's head, and he kisses his son's temple. "Me too."
Another week passes.
Hank isn't fool
Cole does all right, but Hank sees the lingering and lost sheen in his eyes. He later places a name to what he's looking at. Grief. His son is /grieving/ for the loss of Connor in their lives.
He sees his son hold the
Susan is more present than usual, which is simultaneously both helpful and off-putting. Helpful because there's another person there to
For the first time, Cole is far more reserved in his mother's presence. He responds less enthusiastically when she tries to interact with him, and often replies to her more flatly or with at the very least a tone of indifference. There's a lot of "okays," "sures" and
This is automatically noticed by Hank, who is used to Cole's bright and boundless energy. To see his son so disinterested shakes him. He chalks it up to his son being upset about Connor not being present, or perhaps the boy is starting to realize what game
Hank and her argue about it. Susan accuses him of pitting her own son against her, while Hank deflects by pointing out how little time she's spent or shown she cares about Cole, so what should she expect?
Round and round they go, never getting anywhere except
And the entire time, Hank's aching for Connor persists.
The nurse is a consistent thought in his head. Hoping he's okay, that he's eating enough at whatever assignment he's surely
Did they even really have anything? They hadn't even gone on an actual date, yet. Perhaps it simply wasn't real, whatever it was they
Hank feels like a fool.
But it doesn't make the pain go away.
Hank gets a call while he's standing in the kitchen, washing dishes from earlier that morning from Stern Home and Health. From the other
"Well, sure," Hank says, a bit confused by the request. "We can't just do it over the phone, though? That's
The sound of /his/ name causes Susan's head to snap up from the living room where she's sitting on the sofa. Hank looks over his shoulder at her, frowning as Amanda amends:
"Well, yes. That's how we did it with Connor, since it was just you
Hank's hands, currently washing a plate, freeze.
"...Mr. Anderson?" she prompts.
"..I just wasn't aware Susan had made
Amanda is quiet from the other end. "That's odd," she finally says. "I thought she would have told you."
Hank slowly places the plate and sponge back in the sink, forgotten as he keeps his voice low. "Is that really why Connor isn't
"No, Mr. Anderson," Amanda says, voice turning more curt. "That is /not/ the only reason."
Suspicion flares deep in him, a glow turning to a burning inferno. His lips begin to turn into a snarl, "The ONLY-?"
Hank's hands squeeze his phone.
Hank matches her gaze, something in him shifting into steel as he speaks into the phone. "Susan is the one who asked to have Connor removed, isn't she?"
To her own
Amanda inhales softly from the other end, and sighs. "Susan has partial custody over Cole,
"I FUCKING KNEW IT!" Hank explodes, breaking from Susan's unflinching stare to yell into the phone. He turns his body, anger curdling like a restless wave in his gut, foaming and pulling like the tide.
"The fuck didn't
"Mr. Anderson. It is more than the issue of Susan being uncomfortable with Connor present-"
"MR. ANDERSON, we know about your affair with Connor!"
The raised voice of Amanda over the phone startles the jaded Lieutenant. He stops, not having noticed he had begun to pace the kitchen. His mind hears
A sigh from Amanda. "Susan made us aware of your..personal relationship with Connor."
Hank shakes his head, knot forming in his stomach. "What god-damn personal relationship?"
"Susan informed us you were
Hank wants to throw his phone against the wall, watch it shatter into a million useless shiny pieces, but he needs to see this conversation through. His hand tightens, and he grits out, "We didn't DO anything, though." Desperation
"Mr. Anderson," Amanda's voice gentles in the slightest way. "There's no need to lie on is defense. Connor admit
Everything in Hank stops. His mouth turns dry. He grips the phone hard. "Everything?" he repeats, questioning. "What-" he pinches the bridge of his nose, mind swirling. "Whaddya mean 'everything'?"
"The feelings he has for you. That he let emotions get in the
The world around Hank spins, goes blurry at the edges. His fingers grasp at the counter top, and he wishes he had a chair behind him he could maybe collapse onto. "He-" his words are breathless, a whisper in his
Amanda huffs. "Indeed. He confessed to what was going on between the two of you in exchange that we wouldn't withdraw care totally from you due to lack of professionalism or that he wouldn't lose his job for dishonesty."
Hank claps his free hand over his
Even to the end, Connor was protecting him. His son.
Hank swallows, aligns himself. "Connor is a consenting adult," he finally manages. "As am I - I fail to understand how a personal relationship between is is unprofessional."
"No!" Hank snaps. "I don't! If we were able to maintain a healthy relationship while still caring for my son before all this happened, why wouldn't we be able to /continue/ doing just that?!"
"What if you and Connor were to break up,
Hank's last bit of control, patience, and understanding snaps in half. Disappears like dust in the wind. Evaporating water on hot concrete.
"How fucking dare you," he breathes.
"Please, Lieutenant Anderson, there is no need-"
"How DARE you tell me that I'm not thinking
Amanda's bit of control sounds like it's beginning to slip. "Lt. Anderson, please, I didn't mean to imply-"
"Yeah, I don't want to hear it," Hank interrupts, "I just want you to get Connor
"Henry!" he hears her admonish from the living room. "You are NO about to undermine me!"
Hank gives her the finger over his shoulder, waits for Amanda's response.
She's quiet. For an uncomfortably long time. She
Hank's gut drops. He's so close.
Amanda waits for a few terse moments while Hank clings to hope. "The most you can do is just to endure, Hank. But I've been instructed that if I hear of Connor and you meeting up again, that I'm to fire him for lack of
Later is impossible, Hank aches to say. Later is far too... late. He can't take this waiting anymore, and neither can Cole. They miss him so much - can hardly go on.
Hank turns, looks out into the living room where Cole sits on the couch, watching his father with wide blue eyes. Curious and confused and desperately hopeful.
Dread fills Hank from his toes to his throat.
Cole needs medical care.
"I'll try," he grumbles.
Neither speak for 5 whole seconds. When Hank doesn't reply further, Amanda prompts, "Is there anything else I can do for you, Lt. Anderson?"
"You have a good evening then, sir. I'll check in how Kara is doing at the end of next week."
Amanda hangs up while Hank's thumb still hovers over the 'end call' button.
Hank feels Cole's eyes on him, the damn hope in the boy's voice piercing him.
Hank lets his head drop, and he shakes his head. "No, Cole," he mumbles. "..He's not."
That's all for tonight! Thank you for reading!
Can't update tomorrow night because I have an evening shift - might be able to do some in the morning
cw for couples arguing- might get ugly considering garbage human susan is here but warning regardless
"Well that's good, then," Susan says from
Quiet. Then Cole's soft voice, "What - what was Connor doing wrong?"
Hank turns, forcing a soft but strained smile towards his son, and speaks before Susan can get
Cole's eyes widen in that comedic way only kids can when they read between the lines of things
"Okay!" he says quickly, hurrying to the door. "C'mon Sumo!"
The beast lumbers after him, wanting to play. And it's only when the back door of
"Well?" Susan asks crisply, always one to want to get the first word in. She crosses the living room, going to stand at one end of the kitchen with her hands placed at her hips. A kind of body language
Hank knows this fight has to happen. That something like this can't just be brushed off, not when it comes to Cole's well-being. Every cell, ever fiber in him wants to yell and throw things
But he makes himself hold back. He leans back against the counter with his arms crossed defensively -protectively- over him. He gives himself 10 seconds to go to his happy place, align himself to a mindset where he'll be able to
Because maybe it was unprofessional of Connor to have feelings for Hank, and perhaps it was wrong of Hank to encourage them.
But they NEVER did anything that would compromise Cole's safety or well-being when doing it.
And GOD they didn't even DO
Hank steadies himself, makes himself breathe in, and out, lets himself reorient to his happy places.
A dark movie theater where a
Hank wants more of those moments.
He doesn't think that's
He knows Connor wants him to be better, not just for himself, but for Cole.
"...Hank?" Susan's voice sounds a bit confused, like she expected Hank to jump right out and start screaming and raging like a poked bear.
Hank breathes out slowly, and finds the
"..Susan," he says, voice a deadly and solemn calm. "You have to realize that what you've done was absolutely out of line, and WRONG."
Disdain immediately twists over her face. "I did NO SUCH-"
Hank's voice sharpens.
This somehow works. It usually doesn't. Hank chalks it up to Susan being surprised by Hank's quiet demeanor, when all they're usually used to is snapping and biting at each other like feral dogs.
He breathes harder. "Yes, Connor and I were
Hank's voice shakes with upset, but he blinks hard, thinks of the softness of Connor's hair, the lilt of his voice and the gentle corner of his smile.
He breathes again, and finds he's balanced enough to look up to meet
"You've never been there for Cole, not the way you should. And that's your own decision to make, but you
Susan is absolutely struck by Hank's admission, and a flurry of emotions pass over her face faster than Hank can even interpret. She looks like a stunned fish as she gapes at him.
Even with everything and how often she avoids Cole, she just can't seem
"You have no right to say that to me, Hank Anderson!" she snaps, her sharp and loud tone an immediate contrast to Hank's collected and calm demeanor. Hank narrows his eyes at her, keeps his arms over his chest.
"I have been there for Cole as much as I can!" she goes on, eyes flashing, pride insulted.
Hank's hands clench against his arms, rage causing him to shake.
"I support you two and the way you live
Hank's vision goes red, the blood rushing and pounding in his ears causing whatever she's saying to fade away as if underwater.
GOD, fuck EVERYTHING about this conversation.
"Get out," Hank grinds from his teeth, holding on to the last thread of control, her insult of Connor the straw about to break the camel's back.
Susan tilts her head, pupils just pinpoints in her green eyes.
Hank's shaking worsens, and he hopes she can't see it. He knows she would only interpret it as weakness.
"Get. Out," he growls, and manages to keep his voice low. "You don't get to stand in my house, that /I/ pay for, with /my/ money, from
Susan looks somewhat jarred by Hank's claim, his calm only sparking her on further as she
"Cole needs to eat, Susanne," Hank bites out, a bit of venom dripping from his voice while he shakes like a leaf.
Susan glares, heated.
Hank clenches his fists again. "And I won't stand by when you
Susan's face turns a deep red. Her face pinches with anger, eyes bulging as she prepares to let one loose, "You son of a - motherFU-"
All of Hank's points are immediately proven true when Susan, in her fit of rage, doesn't hesitate as
The front door slams. Hank remains standing where he is. And he stays there until he hears the shuddering roar of her car engine and the crunch of wheels against the pavement.
He inhales long and hard, exhales it in equal measure.
Cole's laughter. Connor's snarky lip. His black-frame glasses. Eyes the color of oak.
The outside is cold and crisp for a late January day. The snow on the ground is old, and has hardened from age to form a crispy outside
Sumo is bounding through the snow, barking and eating the fluff, no doubt trying to find some thrown tennis ball.
Hank panics for a quick second when he realizes he doesn't know where Cole is. But the panic eases when he sees Cole
The boy has his knees pulled up to his chest, nose red from the cold, face slightly warm and pink. There's a wetness on his son's face that Hank suspects isn't from the snow.
Cole is quiet for a moment, and he plays with the snow beneath his exposed
Hank sighs quietly. "How much did you hear?"
Cole makes a face, and shrugs, which Hank takes to mean as 'all of it.'
Goooooddddd fucking dammiiiiiittttt
"It means your mom wouldn't be able to
Cole frowns, and taps his hands lightly at the ground. "So mom got rid of Connor?"
Cole sighs, much like his father, and nods, but doesn't say anything more.
Hank tilts his head to look at Cole a little more clearly. "You alright?"
It takes a second, but Cole does not. "..Yeah," he answers. "Just - I miss him."
"I know, bud," Hank
They don't say anything more for a little while longer. And that's when Hank decides: Well, he's already had ONE difficult conversation, why not
"Hey, Cole?" he asks, squeezing his son's shoulders lightly to get his attention.
Cole hums. "Yeah, Dad?"
"Do you..like seeing your mom? When she comes to visit?"
Cole shrugs. "Sometimes. She doesn't have a lot of fun here, though. And she doesn't like to play.
Hank takes this in, and places his words carefully. "Would you want to see her more? Have her come spend times with you on weekends, maybe?"
Cole doesn't look committed either way as he does his newly trademarked shrug. Must have picked that up from
Hank lets it be for now. "Well, think about it, and let me know, okay?"
Another minute passes. Sumo runs over to them, and drops a sopping wet tennis ball at their feet, the snow clumping from the slobber. The ball hits Hank's leg, and he
Hank chews another question around in his head. Decides he might as well go full send on it if he's
There's a note of vulnerability, and Cole is perceptive. He must hear it in his father's voice, because he wriggles a bit under Hank's arm so he can tilt his head up and look at him. "Yeah, Dad?" he asks softly.
Cole's eyes flicker a little with some teasing mirth. "You DO need
He chuckles, ruffles his son's hair. "And you're a brat. But really, though. Would you be okay with it?"
"You mean if Connor was your /boy/friend?" Cole says, blue eyes glittering playfully.
Yeah he's a detective's son, all right. "Yeah," Hank admits,
"It means 'yes', dad." Cole rolls his eyes a little, and Hank feels /very/ Out of the Times from his son.
But he still feels a spark of hope. "You'd really be okay
"Of /course/, Dad," Cole says, and he smiles, if a bit sadly. "But you kind of have to get Connor back here first before you can do that. Kind of missing a step."
Hank rubs his palm over Cole's face. "Oh ha-ha, thank you Captain Obvious." He leans down to plant a
"Love you too, dad."
"So, do we have a case?"
Hank's lawyer, Markus, looks up from his green and blue heterochromic eyes, hands in place over the papers scattered neatly over
Markus has been employed by Hank ever since his divorce with Susan, and Hank knows he has a bit of an artistic streak. It's cute, those
And the image of Markus painting or making small sketches on the corner of his notepads is an absolutely hilarious contrast to the sharp and vicious
Markus hums, and taps the end of his pencil to the paper. "We should," he says. "It's apparent from your years of caring for Cole single-handedly that Susan has contributed little to Cole's care. The trouble with some judges is that they have a tendency to
Hank squirms in his seat, anxious. "You think there's a chance, though?"
"There's always a
"Even with what was going on with Connor?" he clarifies. "Because I know there's not a single chance in hell Susan isn't going to use that against me."
"Seeing as it didn't have an affect on Cole's well-being related to his seizures
Hank hopes desperately that's the case. But he nods, and tries to breathe.
Markus looks at his notes, studious, and a frown crinkles his brow as something seems to occur to him. "You said the nurse -Connor, was it?- works for Stern Home and Health?"
His lawyer hums, "Might make a call to them, see if they have any records or reports done by Connor that refer to Susan."
Markus goes quiet, the only sound the tap-tap-tapping of the butt-end of his pencil. Hank takes in the quiet moment to look
Hank is about to dismiss himself, feeling
The Lieutenant pauses at the question. "Yea-ah..? Why?"
"No reason," Markus hums quietly. "Just a hunch, but.. who knows. Sometimes the unexpected happens."
That's all for tonight, folks! Glad I was able to get some writing in after my late night shift - but its my Friday and I had one of those high caffeine gas station mochas on my way home so it carried me all the way to 2:30 am!
Will update tomorrow because it's my DAY OFF OMG
content warning coming up for descriptions of a lot of seizure activity, same level of intensity/descriptions as previous ones. will tag the posts they occur in
A couple of days pass since Hank met up with Markus, and the school week comes to a close. Hank finds that his restlessness continues to flux during the day, fingers itching to reach for that call button, or to text the person he really wants to spend time with, but Markus'
"It would be best if you continue to avoid contact with Connor for the time being," the younger man had said. "If the other side were to get wind of it, they would definitely use it against you. It would look far better if you can show the judge that
Hank agrees with Markus, to a degree. Yes, it makes SENSE and it'll make him look better to a judge considering giving Hank full custody of his son, but it sometimes doesn't feel worth it compared to the aching
Sometimes during the night Hank finds himself scrolling through their old text messages. For the most part it's very professional (okay considering it's Connor the whole THING is professional), but Hank delights
God he's just the cutest.
He finds encouraging texts sent from Connor amid reports during the day of Cole's seizure status. Words telling Hank he's
But, there's still the doubt that permeates into every facet of Hank's mind.
The obvious answer is that the RN just isn't aware that Hank has kicked out Susan and is pursuing full-custody for Cole. But he figures Connor might have learned something through Amanda or even Kara.
Hank scrolls through pictures in the dead of night sent by Connor. Little selfies of him and Cole during the school day. Cole grinning ear to ear and Con with
Hank feels a tugging in his gut, and he pines.
And he wonders if Connor is up thinking of him, too.
---Here we go, kids :)---
The only issue Hank has with Kara is that she isn't able to accommodate Hank's schedule as well as Connor could. Hank doesn't
Hank can respect that, admires her for it, even. She has her own family she needs to spend time with. He could never
Unfortunately, that leaves Hank to fend for himself when it comes to taking care of Cole during the night.
It's Friday night when it happens.
Cole is tucked away in bed, and Hank is up watching the late night
The sound of Cole in his room, groaning, caught in the middle of a tonic-clonic.
Hank moves faster than should be physically possible for him at this age, hand automatically grabbing the rescue med on the
Hank doesn't even turn on the overhead light as he rushes to Cole's bedside, too afraid of overstimulating his son and instead goes to turn on the Star Wars lamp at his son's nightstand.
Cole spasms hard in bed, limbs jerking uncontrollably as Hank hurries to push his son's head back so he can administer the rescue med between Cole's clenched teeth. Hank's heart beats frantically against his chest, panic thick in his throat and gut. Murmurs spill from his
"Please, please, c'mon
In the back of his head, he hears Connor's voice, reminding and encouraging him patiently. "You're doing great, Hank. Don't forget to time it."
Hank looks quick at his watch on his left hand, which he has braced on
Hank had shrugged from his spot in the drivers seat. "Well, no. Never really got to it,
Hank recalls how flabbergasted Connor looked at that, like someone had slapped him in the face, or Hank had told him he and Cole were actually part of a cheese-worshiping cult or some weird shit like that.
Connor didn't judge or shame Hank for not having a watch, but
Hank gaped at the watch, about to refuse, but Connor insisted, "It's just from Walmart. Nothing big. But - you should have a watch to keep time of Cole's seizures, in case I'm not there."
It hadn't left his wrist since.
Hank held back a choked up sob, and resolved that next if he ever saw Connor again, he would thank him.
The Lieutenant consciously looked
After about another minutecof agonized waiting, he does. The tremors cease, and Hank remembers to breathe.
"Hey bug," he murmurs, leaning forward to brush strands of Cole's hair from
"Dad?" he whimpers, sluggish.
"You just had a seizure, bud. It's okay. You're okay. Gave you some medicine. How you feeling?"
Cole sighs, looking impossibly worn out. "I'm tired," he whimpers. "Head
Hank nods, runs his palm over Cole's head again. "Okay, let me go get you some medicine, okay? Help your head."
Cole nods weakly, and goes to curl up on his side, already on the edge of falling asleep after such a bad one.
Hank watches Cole for a couple of moments,
He's halfway down the hall, two small tablets in one hand and a cold glass of water in the other, when he hears another
By 1:30 in the morning of that very night, Cole has had 3 tonic-clonics since his first one at 10:30, each one lasting just less than 3 minutes. With the tonic-clonics have been his spastic seizures, coming in
Poor Cole is hardly getting any sleep at all, and Hank is exhausted. He has work tomorrow, but he knows its not going to happen now, not after being up like this.
Work is the last thing Hank cares about now, because he's fckin terrified.
Hank is shaken, and he's bone-tired, and as his thumb hovers over the call
Above all he's just scared.
He sits at the side of Cole's bed, leaning over and holding his head up with one hand propped on his knee. He holds the phone to his ear, and listens.
Not surprisingly, the phone rings several times, but Hank holds
"Connor," Hank chokes, and the word itself causes him to break. Just the
Connor is quiet for a moment from the other end, "Is it Cole?"
His sobs cause Hank
Hank is so tired. He wants sleep just so so bad, that he almost misses if Connor even replies, the silence goes on for so long.
But there's something present
Connor hangs up, and Hank is alone.
There's a knock at the door. Hank hurries to answer it, thanks his lucky stars that Sumo didn't get up and start barking. An excited dog is the
Cold night air blasts through the open door, revealing Connor.
Hank is about to pass out from exhaustion, but even with his last two brain cells he can't help but think how beautiful Connor looks, even now when Hank is
He has his glasses on, is wearing a pair of casual blue jeans, and is snuggled deep into a thick dark gray coat and hoodie.
Both pause upon first seeing each other for the first time in -god- weeks? Has it been a month? Feels like years.
Hank wonders how much he
"Hey," Hank breathes.
With his arms crossed over his chest for warmth, Connor gives a warm half-smile, and the hard amber in his eyes softens before Hank's very
"Hi, Hank," the nurse says, soft. Shifts his weight again and seems to shiver. "Can I come in?"
Hank blinks hard, and steps aside.
Connor brushes past him, sheds his coat and greets Sumo with a single hand along his head. Hank closes the door to keep the cold air out,
"What happened to Kara?" Connor asks conversationally, a slight edge to his voice but lacking any real conviction.
The detective part of Hank's mind recognizes that Connor knew the
Connor nods, and turns to look at Hank. There's a stiffness to his shoulders, and his voice crisps, "So what's going on with Cole?"
Connor interrupts him every once in a while, asking if there's been a recent change in any of his meds, if anything else
Hank answers as best he can, going on 0 hours of sleep tonight and absolutely exhausted from all the stress.
"I'll stay up with him," Connor says, sitting in a rocking chair at the corner of Cole's room near the door where he has perfect immediate access to him if needed. "You go get some sleep, Hank."
Hank stands in the doorway,
Connor hesitates, then says, "Coffee? If you have any?" he gives a half-smile. And /god/ it's been so long since Hank has seen it; it makes him weak in the knees to see it
He nods, breaks his gaze away from Connor's. "I'll get that, then."
A softer smile, an affectionate gleam. "Thanks, Hank."
Hank nods, rubs his hands over his face, and staggers his way to the kitchen.
He makes the coffee in a daze, hoping he does it right
"Here, Con" Hank mumbles, handing Connor his black coffee cup in the dark.
"Thanks, Hank," Connor murmurs, sips the coffee, and makes the most delightful humming sound.
"It's perfect, Hank. Thank you." Connor takes another drink, shudders from the hot burst of caffeine. The RN gives Hank a teasing little smirk, and the lieutenant just about faints at the look. "Now go get some sleep."
Hank shakes his head.
Emotions running high, and already on his last legs, Hank isn't able to coherently form an accurate statement of what he's trying to say. He legs his head fall back in
He manages it, but he's pulled away from his fogged mind when a hand tentatively grabs his.
Hank wants to cry, but doesn't. He closes his hand around Connor's, giving it a thankful and reassuring squeeze.
Connor making a promise is enough to
So Hank trusts him, and squeezes Connor's hand, makes to pull it away.
But something stops him. Connor's hand tugs his
"Sleep good, Hank," Connor whispers
He feels Connor's smile against the back of his palm, and the nurse can't seem to resist as he kisses Hank's knuckles one more time,
Hank doesn't realize until Connor lets go of his hand that he had stopped breathing, and his brain /finally/ plays catch up to let him suck in a lungful of air.
From the cutting light from the hall, he can just
And the smirk flickers when Hank reaches over to tuck away the loose strand along Connor's forehead. "See you in the morning," he echoes.
Hank is asleep almost as soon as his head hits the pillow on the couch.
hope you enjoyed the update! we got our first kiss!! there's more to come, i promise you - just taking our time getting there 😋🥰
won't have a late night update tomorrow - got a shift that goes to 2 am, but i might update during the day
but aahhh feels good to write with our boys together again ☺️ - that dry spell where they were apart was the roughest
Hank wakes up when daylight streams in through his front window into the living room. He blinks his eyes open wearily, and checks the time on his watch.
7:15. He groans, mumbling, and rubs a hand over his face in the hopes it'll help wake him up a little. Not bad for one of
The memories of it come waning back to him. Cole's seizures, calling Connor in-
Hank moves quick, sitting up in the couch, his legs tangled by a blanket that he knows wasn't there when he collapsed on the couch last night.
Hank touches the
Moving more carefully now, Hank puts the blanket aside and makes his way quickly -but quietly- to Cole's room down the hall. He slows his steps, stopping in the doorway so he can
Connor still sits on the sofa, as attentive now as he was at 2am. His coffee mug is on the nightstand, empty, and Sumo sleeps at his feet.
The nurse has his clipboard in his lap where he's writing some more notes on Cole's night, but he looks up at the sound of Hank.
Connor tilts his head back, his smile soft.
"It was an emergency," Connor says offhandedly. "If anyone tries to say that I shouldn't be here, I'll fight them."
Connor's sigh is soft and gentle. A subtle lift of his shoulders and the closing of his eyes before he opens them again and gazes up at Hank.
Hank huffs a breath, smiling, and lets his thumb go up to wipe at the corner of Connor's mouth, feeling the softness of his lips. "I think Cole missed you the most
"Missed you a damn lot, too."
Connor hums, then goes to grab Hank's hand, curling his fingers so Hank's palm rests against his face so he can turn his head
Hank's breath catches. "Can I getcha more coffee?" he asks.
Connor looks at him, smiles against the rough skin of Hank's hand. "I'd like that."
Hank swallows. "Want to join me? Cole should be fine."
It doesn't take much convincing on Hank's
Over coffee in the warmth of the morning sun, Connor tells Hank what happened.
Talks about how the afternoon before they
"It was Susan," Hank chokes. His arm stretched across the table holds Connor's, and he runs his thumb over the nurse's tenderly. "She went to Amanda and got her to switch you with Kara. I didn't even know until about a week ago." Hank's brow
"We can't change that now," Connor murmurs, squeezes Hank's hand. "And I don' know about you, but I have no intention of letting you go, again." A smirk Hank can only describe as absolutely /devilish/
Hank is absolutely wrecked at the gentleness of this nurse, his kindness and warmth. Hank finds himself choking back tears as he squeezes Connor's hand in turn to say, "I'm not goin'
"Good," Connor says. "You've got one heck of a date to make up for, though."
Hank chuckles, and takes his turn to smile near /sinfully/ at the nurse from across the table. "Baby," he rumbles, and delights in Connor's immediate blush, "I am going to rock your world."
Hello TJ peeps! We're gettin pretty close to the end of this AU for now. Might get inspired every now and then to add on in the future, but for now we're getting close to wrapping up what I had in mind for this Plot. Will let you know when we're at the end :)
As he's positioned, Connor rests his head against Hank's chest, and he even adjusts his hips so he can drape them over Hank's legs.
Hank chuckles, looking at the nurse as well as he can with Connor's soft brown curls brushing his
Connor makes some kind of sound that's a mix between a hum and a sigh. "You're so /soft/," he mumbles, copper eyes already beginning to drift closed. Sometimes coffee won't even cut it when sleep is calling, especially after a night shift.
"Jesus," Hank breathes, face aflame.
But Connor doesn't stop talking (not that Hank wants him to), and the RN shifts
Connor keeps himself braced above Hank with his right arm, while his left hand is free to rest low at Hank's abdomen, gently caressing his stomach. Hank feels somewhat lightheaded.
"Tricuspid," the nurse says, places another kiss, and one of Hank's bulky hands goes to twist and curl in Connor's hair
Connor doesn't look up, but Hank feels the nurse's smile against his shirt. "I'm educating you, Hank. It's important at your age for a man of your
"Oh fuck," Hank whispers, eyes hooded, "So those are, what, the heart chambers or something?"
Connor chuckles, looks up at Hank with mirth, "No, Hank," he says, like the Lieutenant is an idiot, but he knows its with
Hank is quick on the uptake, counting in his head. "You've only done three," he says.
Connor smiles softly. "Very good, Hank. The last one-" and Connor lowers himself back to Hank's chest, where his lips linger
"The mitral valve," Connor murmurs, and places his lips to Hank's body in an open kiss.
"God-" Hank finds himself
Connor gets the idea, because of course he does, and lets his lips slide
"Christ, kid," he whimpers to Connor, who smiles, tilts his head away from Hank with a cheeky grin.
"I always aim to please," Connor hums, grinning.
"Yeah you do," Hank says, and his hand tugs lightly at the strands near the base of Connor's neck. "You always get this
Connor sticks out the tip of his tongue, just a slip of pink along his flushed lips. "Only if it means curling up with you after."
Hank laughs, lets his head rest back as he runs a hand through his own silver locks. "I think you should work
The nurse giggles, and lets his head fall forward so he can bump it against Hank's sternum, his body wiggling close again. "I agree," he says.
Hank lets his arms go back to embracing Connor, who's entire body seems to relax when he feels Hank's
"Get some sleep, baby," Hank murmurs.
Hank chuckles, positions himself so he's lounging lower
Connor releases another deep and contented sigh, and Hank knows he's on the brink of sleep. "Okay, Lieutenant."
Even at the title, Hank's chest warms.
Eventually, Cole wakes up, staggers out a little bit before 10, blinking and weary-eyed from his ordeal of a night.
Not to mention Hank is far too comfortable holding him, but, that's totally unrelated, so-
"You doing okay?" Hank asks, not addressing the fact he's holding his son's nurse in his lap like this is a normal occurrence for them. "You had a rough night last night."
"Shh," Hank says, runs his hand along the back of Connor's
Cole hesitates, shifts a little where he stands, eyeing Connor carefully, like he's afraid
Hank's expression softens. "Yeah, bug, he's going to stay."
"Careful, Cole!" Hank admonishes softly, worrying over Connor as the nurse shifts, releasing a
"You're /here/" is
"Yeah, buddy," Connor murmurs, already back on the brink of sleep as he tilts his head, using Hank's arm as a pillow. The Lieutenant watches affectionately as the nurse keeps one arm held over Cole's shoulder, keeping him close.
"Can we watch cartoons, dad?" Cole asks.
"Sure, kiddo," Hank answers, reaching as best he can to give Cole the remote. "Knock yourself out."
His son flips through the TV stations, and Hank
Cole, happy and alive and whole, curled up next to a sleeping Connor and watching TV. Connor resting in Hank's arms with his hand on Hank's leg. Nearby in the kitchen, Hank can hear Sumo shuffle towards his food dish, urged awake by Cole.
He tilts his head to nose the side of Connor's head, lips brushing along the nurse's ear.
"I love you," he whispers
Connor doesn't stir -Hank didn't expect him to- but it's cathartic to say, nonetheless, so he presses a tender kiss to Connor's temple, warm. And he finds he has to say it again, heart aching with affection.
"I love you."
The weekend passes by far too quick for Hank's liking. Connor does have the weekend off, so he ends up spending most of his time at the Anderson home
They make sugar cookies on Sunday night, the last night they have together before Connor has to leave to return to his work week.
"Gonna miss having you around here," Hank says softly as he helps make the different colored frostings in smaller bowls. Shamrock
Connor laughs, and gives Hank a teasing look from the corner of his eye. "I'm not leaving for/ever/, Hank. Just during the day for work. I was actually hoping-" and he cuts off, uncertain. Hank waits for him, looks to the nurse expectantly,
Hank decides it's in his and Connor's best interest if they cut that line of
It's effective, though, because the kiss renders Connor absolutely speechless, his face aflame with red.
Connor blinks a few times, looking like a robot that's having trouble processing something, but he finally adjusts, tilts
"Cheeky bastard," Hank mutters, but leans in happily, more than willing to place another kiss right at the other corner of Connor's mouth. "That good enough for you?" he asks lightly, breath a
Hank makes a soft grunt of surprise, but hums into it, eyes slipping
"Brat," Hank mutters when they finally part a handful of moments later. Both of their faces are as red as the frosting Hank was working on, but there's a content warmth
Connor smiles teasingly, leans in to rest his head in the crook of Hank's neck. The younger man smells like nutmeg and spice with an underlying scent of coffee. Hank feels his lips smile against his skin, then hears Connor's words murmured in his
Hank starts a little at that, and can't help but think of the morning before. His face heats up a bit, "Uhm, but what about - the couch-?"
"I mean our first /real/ kiss, Hank. God," Connor chides, a hint of breathless laughter in
Hank can't help but feel a burst of uncertainty, and he grips Connor at the hip in a slight squeeze. "Was it, uhm, was it good enough for you?"
Connor gently presses his mouth to Hank's neck, right at his pulse where he can
Hank warms at the praise, tilts his head so he can place a kiss on Connor's cheek. "Don't know what I ever did to deserve you," he chokes, holds Connor closer at his hips.
God Connor's perfect.
They're interrupted by the timer of the stove going off, and Connor regretfully parts from Hank to pull the cookies from the oven. Hank's hands slide and tug lightly at Connor's hips, like he doesn't
Connor laughs as he does, the warmth of the stove heating the kitchen more as he opens the door, sliding the oven tray over and placing it on the stove.
"Looks good," Hank hums, the sweet aroma flooding them, and he can't help but sidle over so he can press
"Hey!" Connor admonishes when he catches on to what Hank's doing, smacking his hand, but not quick enough as Hank stuffs the cookie in his mouth. "Save some for the rest of us."
"Don't eat them all- Hank!" Connor scolds, but it's warm and light as Hank snags another one, but this time he holds it up to Connor's lips.
Connor's quick though, quicker than Hank gives him credit for, and as his lips close over the cookie, he manages to fix them over Hank's fingertips as well. He shifts the
"/Jesu/- Connor, /fuck/," Hanks groans, withdrawing his fingers while Connor just grins in that
"You asked for it," Connor says, and Hank just groans, pulling him in for another tight squeeze.
"Don't know how I'm gonna last the whole week without you."
"/Hank/," Connor laughs. "I'll be here in the evenings. You have work too,
"Mneh," Hank rumbles. "Still feels like forever."
Connor sighs, and Hank revels in the feel of Connor's abdomen expanding and lowering with his breath. "You'll be okay, Hank."
Hank takes his turn to sigh, and he squeezes Connor again to feel the younger man's frame
Connor huffs out a laugh. "A real one, this time?"
"Yeah, baby," Hank murmurs, and presses his nose into Connor's. "Gonna show you such a good time, do it the way I wanted to."
The two revel in their soft moment together, but then Connor shifts beneath Hank's grasp, and he lets him go. "Come on," Connor says, pressing a kiss to Hank's whiskery face. "Let's call Cole in
Those evenings together are some of the best Hank has ever had, making dinner and spending time with his
Of course, when Cole goes to bed, it leaves time for Hank and Connor to spend some extra time together.
This usually consists of them just lying together on the couch, talking quietly with Connor draped over Hank while he plays with Connor's hair. Just enjoying each
They never go further than a stray hand or two beneath the
"I want to wait," Connor says one night, straddled over Hank's thighs, feeling the mutual arousal between them.
Connor gives him an aching but loving look as he rocks his hips against Hanks, causing the other man to gasp and let out a subdued groan. Hank flies
"Being with you doing anything is special, Con." Hank trails his fingers down along Connor's jaw, smiling softly at
Connor looks a little nervous, and bites the corner of his lips. "You don't mind?"
Hank's other hand goes down to Connor's hip where he can slip his thumb beneath his
Connor releases a shaking breath, but winds himself forward so his whole torso is pressed to Hank and his mouth is at Hank's. With a slight tilt of the nurse's head, Hank gets the picture, and closes the distance so he can claim Connor
It's sweet and loving, everything Connor is, and he parts enough so his lips brush against Hank's as he says, "Thank you."
Hank sighs into him, lifts Connor's chin up with a crooked finger so he can steal another kiss. "Anything for you, sweetheart."
"So, Mr. Anderson," the judge says, crossing his hands in front of himself. "You're applying
"No, Your Honor," Hank says, standing with his hands clasped in front of him. He has his best suit on, and his palms are sweaty. "Cole
The Judge chuckles, "Very good. How is he doing?"
Hank recognizes the question, something people ask when they know your child has Something Medical going on. The Lieutenant gives a half-smile. "He's doing well, Your Honor. He has a nurse that goes to school with
"I bet, that's pretty convenient to have access to," the judge says pleasantly, then looks back to his papers. "It seems from your inspection of the home everything went fine. We have the records here from Stern Home and Health
"I can't take full credit for that - our nurse really helped with Cole to get that science grade up."
Across the aisle where Susan stands, she remains silent, stoic. When Hank glances her way, she doesn't even bother to look at him.
The judge chuckles.
The Judge turns Susan's way, who stands crisply in a pressed suit and skirt, colored a deep maroon. Her lawyer, a thin, dark-skinned man Hank knows Markus is friends with, clears his throat, and speaks on her behalf. "Ms. Benton has chosen to
The courthouse floor opens up and swallows Hank whole. Or perhaps the ground flips him upside down. Either way a swoop of breath escapes Hank, and he almost loses his balance as the reality of
He turns disbelieving, yet ultimately grateful eyes Susan's way, horribly confused. This time she does turn, something thoughtful and subdued in her green eyes. Hank stares at her oddly, questioning, but lets himself focus on what the judge is saying
And just like that. Cole is his.
Hank gasps softly as the reality of it all sinks
It doesn't look like she's going to approach
"Do you mind if I- I mean I'm just wondering-"
"What changed my mind?" she guesses for him.
Hank doesn't say anything, but his silence is enough as she shrugs tightly, averts her eyes to her feet as she mutters. "It was that damn nurse."
Susan sighs. "I was at the pharmacy right before closing, you know, the one on Main Street? I was getting some pills for my migraines."
Hank doesn't know how this connects, but nods along anyway.
"It was weird I was at there at that
Hank isn't sure he's crazy about where this is going.
Susan, unaware of Hank's building uncertainty, goes on, "I wasn't really sure what to do, so I just waited, and when I listened, I realized I recognized Connor's voice. But
In a very un-Susan like movement, she twists her hands together. "He sounded different, though. More, controlled, maybe? But like he didn't have any emotion. It was weird. But he was telling whoever was crying that it was going to
It comes on Hank suddenly, in a rush of memory accompanied by the smell of popcorn and the feeling of a pinkie intertwined with his own in a dark theater.
"Connor has a twin brother," he says.
Susan nods, and looks ashamed. "I
"He said 'I'm scared that I can't be there for Cole'."
Susan shrugs a little with one shoulder. "I- I didn't realize he - that he cared that much for Cole. That he didn't
"Connor's the real deal," Hank chokes
"I believe you, now," she says, and crosses her arms a bit defensively, but keeps her eyes low as she shifts back and forth. Susan seems to consider something, and Hank wonders if she's going to say
But Hank from a year ago didn't have Connor, didn't have the nurse's gentle comfort, or reassuring forgiveness, or unfathomable love. And he finds,
"Thank you," she says, soft. "I don't- I know I don't
Hank nods, and feels like the conversation is coming to a close. He shifts where he stands, and looks back up when Susan asks, "Did you - did you by any chance happen to get back in touch with Connor? I'm not trying to-" she looks unsure for a
Hank decides it can't harm for her to know now, so he nods, careful, "Yeah, he uh, we just got back in touch last week."
Evident relief passes over Susan's face, and she sighs. "Good. I'm glad.
Pensive, Hank waits for her to continue. "What did he-" Hank clears his throat. "What about it?"
Something warm passes over Susan's face. "He kept saying 'I love him." She looks at Hank with an off-handed
Hank sucks his lips in, face starting to warm, his heart pounding. "..Oh," he says, taking this in and fighting the dopey grin trying to make its way up his face. "He -he said that?"
"Yeah, so, I'm glad you two found each other
Hank breathes, sighs out, and nods, "Yeah, me too. He's a great guy."
"Yeah, you two seem to do well together."
"Yeah, we do."
Quiet befalls them again, and Hank knows this time that their conversation really is ending, because Hank makes a slight step back. "I better
"Alright. Well, tell him I love him for me?"
Susan clears her throat. "And -uh- Hank?"
He looks up at her, and for the first time in a long while, sees genuine sincerity in the depths of her lovely forest-green
Hank offers the flicker of a smile, and nods. "Yeah, I will. And Susan?" She blinks, matches his gaze. "I- uh. Want you to know. I forgive you.
Her eyes honest-to-God flicker with tears, and she nods, biting the bottom of her lip. "Thank you, Hank. That means a lot to me."
And now? Hank just can't wait to get home to his family.
"Honey?? I'm ho-ome~!" Connor calls playfully as he steps through the doors
"CONNOR!" Cole cries, making a beeline for the nurse as he collides with him. Connor lets out an 'oof!' of air, laughing as he goes to wrap the boy
"Hey buddy!" he says with the biggest smile.
"Geez, /I/ don't even get welcomed home that happily," Hank teases his son with a grin where he stands in the kitchen.
"You're not /Connor/" Cole says, this explanation seemingly enough as he tugs the nurse further into
Connor's voice is warm, "You bet, kiddo. Just let me say hi to your dad first."
Hank isn't turned towards Connor, but he feels his face warm as he bites his lip to
Cole voices his complaint, "You said hi to him when you came /in/ though!" Though there's no real bite to his words.
Connor laughs. "Just a second, Cole. How about you go get it ready for me to see, and I'll come after I finish talking with your father?"
"You got it."
Hank turns in time to see his son run down the hall with Sumo drawn after him from the excitement in the house. Connor still has his back turned to Hank,
It's when Connor is turning when Hank makes his move, and he swoops in to wrap the nurse up in his arms,
Connor makes a surprised but pleased sound, melting into Hank's touch as he curls his arms around Hank's neck. The RN hums with pleasure, deepening the kiss and playing
"For giving you your- what?" Connor echoes, blinking with confusion. "What do
"I had that hearing for custody of Cole with Susan today," Hank says, still kissing as much of Connor as he can.
"Oh! You didn't tell me," Connor says. There's no heat in his words. "Did it go okay?" He tilts his neck obligingly for more kisses, which Hank is quick
Hank smiles, moves his mouth to Connor's ear. "Full custody."
Connor gasps, tilts back to gape at Hank. "Seriously? Full custody? But-" He looks adorably confused. Hank's chest warms. "How?" is all he asks.
"Susan had a change of heart," Hank says with a shrug.
Hank laughs, squeezes Connor. "Tell me about it."
"How did - what made her change her mind?"
At that question, Hank grins, lets his forehead fall forward to touch Connor's. "You did," he says.
Thank you to all readers - both new and old; getting the notifs of your likes and comments truly sparks joy - wouldn't have the motivation without you all🧡🥭
He draws a blank, and Hank kisses him to bring him back. "She heard you - when you
"The pharmacy, with my bro- . .. ther." Connor holds the confusion, and Hank can pinpoint the exact moment clarity passes over him as his eyes widen and his brows arch high above his forehead. "Oh! Ohhh." Connor turns a delightful shade
Hank secures his hold of Connor. "She heard you saying how much you cared about Cole, how scared you were that you couldn't be there for him. She felt guilty."
Connor looks somewhat charmed by Hank's words. But the nurse's expression shifts
Hank can /see/ the wheels in Connor's mind turning as he tries to piece together what Hank could possibly be talking about. He sees it dawn on him,
"Got something to say back to you," Hank murrs, feels the bit of fear rise up in his chest as he does. He attempts to swallow it down. He wonders if Con can hear his heart
"What - what is it?" The slight bump of Connor's adam's apple rises from swallowing. Hank thinks that if he were to feel for Connor's pulse, that his heart would be beating faster, too.
Hank's hands shake, but he steels himself and places a sure kiss to
Reminds himself he can do this.
That it's worth it.
That it will /be okay./
"..Hank?" Connor trembles beneath Hank's hands, concerned by the prolonged quiet.
"I love you too."
Hank is so dizzy with anxiety he almost misses the uptake of Connor's gasp and the sensation of
"Oh," Connor sighs out, weak, more emotion in that one 'oh' than Hank could ever describe. "Oh-oh, Hank-" He grasps at Hank's back, arms suddenly tightening so he can turn his face and kiss Hank's whiskery face with searing
Hank's breath catches, the declaration splitting him in two as tears spill at once down his face. He can't believe it, it doesn't seem real. How could he ever have the chance to love again,
But he's laughing, his heart so, so light, and he doesn't fight Connor as the nurse pulls him forward for another kiss.
Connor's kisses are fervent, wanting and affirming. He says over and over again, "I love you, I
Hank staggers at the confession, but he melts into the kiss with Connor held in his arms. "Making up for lost time?" he asks with a
"Absolutely," Connor says, not even joking as he kisses, nips, and lightly sucks along Hank's neck. He stops at what Hank thinks must be his pulse point, and very softly bites at the soft and pliant skin there.
Hank can't stop his eyelashes from fluttering, a
Hank laughs more openly, holds his palm to Connor's face. "You remember that /you're/ the one who wanted to wait for Friday,
"Ughh I /hate/ when past me screws me over," Connor grumbles, but there's a lightness accompanied by the wanting in his tone and voice, and Hank knows he's calmed the beast for now.
But there's nothing wrong with indulging every once in a while.
"Come here, you," he
"Can't wait for Friday," Connor hums, thoroughly content as he rests his forehead to Hank's, a slight smile lining his lips.
There's a slight brush of Connor's hair to Hank's face as he tilts his head, "Have we actually talked about what we want to /do/ on Friday? I mean-"
Hank and Connor part at the sound of the phone,
Connor says he'll go to catch up on Cole and his diorama, but Hank hardly hears, his mind and finger frozen over the phone where he can read the Caller ID.
Stern Home and Health.
He accepts it, holds his phone to his ear. "You've got Hank Anderson here."
"Lieutenant Anderson," comes a smooth voice; it sends a tremor along Hank's arms. Amanda. "I apologize for the
Hank can't help the stress that rises and crests in him. He pulls his hand down his face, "Yeah, yeah. That's- What can I do for you?"
"It's about Kara. And, well, it's about Connor."
His heart pounds. Fear clogs his throat
A sigh from Amanda - she's not pleased about something. "Due to some. . . recent developments here at Stern Home and Health, we've chosen to reinstate Connor Arkait as your primary nurse for Cole, so he can work for you full time. He and Kara will switch
At the end of the hall, Connor lingers, Cole draped over his shoulders as he looks questioningly at Hank. Concern draws his brow when he sees the mess of emotions Hank sends back.
Elation - confusion - wariness? What happened? What changed?
"What - how
"I'm not at liberty to discuss the lengths to which this has become allowed," Amanda
"Was it Susan?" Connor lifts his head, drawn to attention by the mention of Hank's ex. He tries to wave Connor's worry away with a hand. Susan is the only factor he can think of that might have this
"I told you, Lieutenant. I am not at liberty to discuss the circumstances of it with you." She huffs out a breath - an unusual display of emotion from someone like Amanda, and she continues. "I trust you'll make Connor
Hank is still struggling to play catch-up with what he's hearing. "So wait," he says. "Connor isn't going to get fired if he's with me?"
Amanda does that huff again. "Quite the opposite, Lieutenant Anderson. If Connor is open to switching with Kara, he would
Disbelief is beginning to grow into joy, and Hank cups a hand over his mouth. "I just can't
Amanda plows on, clearly ready to be done with the conversation. "As long as your and Connor's relationship does not interfere with Cole's well-being in any way related to his diagnosis, we should have no issue."
Hank is quiet from the other end, fully
After a beat of silence, Amanda persists, "Will any of that be an issue for you, Lieutenant Anderson?"
"No," he gapes, words choking in his throat. "No, that's - that's more than suitable."
"I trust you'll inform Connor of the
She's presumptuous, but correct. Hank tries to hide any embarrassment from his tone, and levels his voice with a bit of professionalism. "Yes, I'll let him know."
"Very good." There's a pause of about 3 seconds between them, and Amanda leaves Hank with, "You two
"Who was that?" Connor asks, shifting Cole and hiking him further up his back, the kid's arms locked around Connor's neck.
Hank lowers his phone, reeling from the call. He turns to look at
He doesn't answer Connor's question, and instead clears his throat to address Cole. "Hey, Cole."
The boy turns bright blue eyes to his dad, curious and uncharacteristically quiet in the face of the tension in the
"How would you feel if Connor took over as your nurse again?" The nurse in question widens his eyes but doesn't say anything.
Cole's response is immediate, and a wide grin splits his face. "I'd love it!"
"Well, you're in luck
Connor's mouth drops, and he almost loses his grip on Cole from the shock. "Wh-What?" he asks, barely heard over Cole's excited cries of joy at the news. "Hank are
"Serious as a heart attack, Connor." Hank grins, love thrumming deep in him as he puts his phone away to approach Connor. "So, whadaya say? Willing to make the switch over, work for us full-time?"
Connor laughs, and it's a shaky, wet thing, like hes on the verge of crying. "Well how can I say no to
Cole cheers in victory, but all Hank and Connor have is eyes for each other.
Hank knows they'll talk more about it later, try to brainstorm why Amanda would just give this gift to them.
But for now, they'll just enjoy the victory of their moment.
cw for character having an anxiety attack and talk of unwanted attention from Local Gross Gym Teacher Todd Williams
Hank can't believe how slow the week is going. It's like one day just goes on and on like time is moving forward while he's kept in one place for hours on end. He wishes time
He spends the day at work as he usually does. Investigate a crime scene there, fill out paperwork here, and get jeered at by Reed during intervals in between.
All of it is business-as-usual, and he manages to keep his cool with thoughts of Connor.
Connor sends pictures of them from school and texts Hank with constant updates on how the day is going and how Cole's seizures are
Hank's heart warms from every picture to see his boys smiling and together again.
God, he'd do anything for them.
It's getting closer to 2, and it causes Hank's nerves to turn on edge. Because then that means there's only one hour left of school. And that means
He loves them so much it makes him want to cry sometimes.
God, if Reed ever heard him say something like that, he'd never let it down.
Hank is neck-high in paperwork when his phone rings. Still a bit keyed up,
This can only go one of two ways. It's either a scam call, or it's the school.
Hank's heart pounding in his chest /hurts/, his fear only spikes when he sees the caller ID with Connor's warm and smiling face beaming at him.
Shit, fuck God it /has/ to be a Big One, maybe he had to call 911 god when did Con text him last-?!!?
A hitch in breath.
Crying. Oh god oh god-
"Hank," the voice cracks. Another sniffle, a choked voice, hurt. "Can you come pick me up?"
"Connor?" Hank says. He hasn't even
Hank waves the onlookers off, and turns to speak into the phone. "What's
"Cole's fine," Connor chokes. His voice breaks on another hitched sob. "Kara came to take over for me until school is over. Can you just - can you please-" He sobs again, but even to Hank's ears he can hear how it's muffled, like Connor has a hand pressed over
Hank's already halfway out the precinct, jacket in arm and keys in his other hand, fumbling a little in his urgency. "Yeah - shit, okay. What's happened? You're still at the school, right?"
"I'm in Kara's car. In the
A fear, different but no less powerful than the one he feels for Cole rattles around in Hank's heart. "Okay, I'm leaving work right now, baby. I'm coming, I'm coming Are you hurt? Are you-
There's a small sniffle. Hank hangs onto every sound as he clutches his cell tight.
"I need /you/, Hank," Connor whimpers. "I'm not hurt. Please, Hank. Honey, I- I'm sorry, I just-"
Hank's heart throbs, feels like someone just punched a
"Alright just hang on, Con, I'm coming." Hank's started his car, has already pulled out of the driveway. His voice quakes.
"Can you stay
Hank nods, realizes Connor can't see him, and answers, "Yeah, of course, sweetie. I might not be able to really answer since I'm driving but I won't hang up."
Connor lets out a soft, "Okay," and goes back to his quiet.
Doesn't bother to text Fowler he left work early today. Doesn't matter. All he can think of and fret over is Connor, waiting curled up in someone else's car, for some reason /terrified/ and incapacitated.
Hank doesn't want to press
"Can you keep talking, Hank?" Connor asks after a couple of minutes over the phone. "I just want to hear the sound of your voice."
Connor huffs out a breath of air, like he was holding it in. "Anything, Hank."
So Hank talks.
Talks about his day, how much he loves getting the texts and updates from Connor about how he and Cole are doing. Talks about
"I just realized something," Hank says at one point.
Connor's voice has softened over the phone, steadied by Hank's voice. "What?" he asks, a hint of a laugh in his voice, hardly there. Hank's knot of
"We haven't actually talked about where we want to go on Friday."
"Oh," Connor's voice chimes, pleasantly, finally distracted. "I, um, actually- There's an art exhibit Friday night. A friend of mine is displaying some of his work there. I
Eh, it's not Hank's usual scene, but Hank could be cleaning toilets with Connor and it'd be the best thing ever if it meant spending more one on one time with him.
Hank can't see it but he hears the smile in Connor's voice. "Yeah, I'd like that. I think he would too." A hushed breath of laughter. "Especially since /you're/ the one that suggested it."
Hank's heart warms, and he makes a turn into the
Connor's voice drops some of it's levity. "Okay."
The school comes into view, and Hank turns into the long parking lot. There's still some time before school gets
"Let me know when to stop - can't tell what car you're in," Hank says.
"I see you. Here is good."
Hank hits the breaks, scanning the parked cars for Connor. He sees movement from the corner of
Hank places his wide palm across Connor's shaking hands, stilling them. "Hey, hey, Con, baby. I've got it, okay? Let me do it."
He buckles Connor in for him, takes a moment to look Connor over. Nothing bleeding, nothing plainly broken,
There's a kind of madness in Connor's eyes. A restless beast Hank recognizes only after years of being on the force and fighting with it himself. Something that can swallow anyone whole.
And a fucking bad one
Connor's slouched down far in his chair, arms crossed over his chest unconsciously for a sense of security. He looks at Hank blankly, confused. Then he looks a tinge embarrassed, and it dawns on Hank what he really meant.
"Oh, /that/ home," he
The thought, the idea of- and Connor's already just. . . /accepted/ the fact that being with Hank is home now, it just-
Oh god it makes Hank jittery with joy. He
"Is that okay?" Connor asks, hesitant from the other side of the car.
Hank's heart is about to burst, and he immediately reaches across the vehicle to latch his hand over Connor's as he begins to drive. "Baby that's /absolutely/ okay. I just - I can't believe you-"
"Well, yeah," Connor mumbles, a little abashed. "I mean, that's where you are, that's where Cole is.." He pales slightly. "I hope that's not too forward-"
"God, I love you,
The nurse's face crumples at
"Almost there, baby, almost home," he says.
Connor nods, and Hank can't help but feel a little bad for causing his (boyfriend? lover?..partner?)
Still, their hands don't part the entire way back.
"You want to talk about what happened?" Hank asks as they walk through the front door.
Sumo hurries over to greet
"Um, in a little
"Sure thing, honey," Hank rumbles. He gently rests his hand at Connor's shoulder as he passes, letting him know he's there. "I'm gonna call the neighbors so they can pick up Cole. Do you want them to watch him for a little while?"
Connor shakes his head,
"No rush, love." Hank bends to kiss the crown of Connor's head; he tilts his head up into the kiss. "Take as much time as you need. I'm here, okay?"
"Thanks, Hank," Connor murmurs, tears in his eyes.
"Everything okay, Hank?" Rose asked.
"Yeah, it's fine. My uh, my partner had an emergency and needed to be picked
"Well I hope he feels better," she says sympathetically from the other end, and Hank knows she's sincere. "But yeah, we'll pick up Cole for you."
"Thanks Rosie. You're a godsend."
Hank returns from his bedroom to see Connor sitting on the couch, holding a pillow tight to his chest and ramrod straight like a robot.
Hank makes sure Connor is present in the moment as he approaches, bends to kiss the back of his
"I- Do you have any clothes I can change out of? Just something big, comfortable? Softer the better."
"You got it."
v. tired, about to pass out. will update tomorrow morning as i can - but i have a late work night tomorrow to 10:30 pm so do not expect me to update then xD
thank you all so much for continuing to read! so validating to find other people that love indulging in this fluff 🧡🥭
Hank pulls out the softest, warmest hoodie he has - an old navy blue DPD sweater, and a pair of old, black, baggy sweats. Neither of them will fit on Connor in the slightest, but he ensures the sweats at least have a drawstring Connor can tighten.
Connor takes the clothes
The hoodie absolutely swallows his frame, and he has the hood up over his head like it's a protective helmet. The sweats hang off his hips, the drawstring long and low from being pulled so tight. Near Connor's feet, he's rolled up
Hank leans against the back of the couch, heart aching at the sad, pained look in Connor's eyes. He wants to sweep his love into his arms, hold and protect him from whatever set Connor off. He wants to crush whatever made that
He waits. "What do you need, Con?" he asks, fighting every protective instinct in him that just wants to /embrace/ him.
It's slight, but Hank sees the tremble beneath the hooded sweater. Connor's voice comes out soft in his request. "Hold me?"
Connor immediately curls into Hank's embrace, tension melting away when Hank secures his arms around his lithe frame.
"I've got you,
Connor whimpers at Hank's words, attempting to nestle even closer as he curls his arms up against Hank's chest.
Hank manages to move them to the couch, angling himself on the wide
Connor nods, lets
"I thought so," he says affectionately, moves the finger playing with his hair to drift lovingly down his cheekbone to stop at the tip of his chin. "Let me know what else I can
"Okay," Connor says, soft.
"And I'm here if you need to talk, okay? Anything." Hank softly kisses Connor's brow. "Anything, baby."
Connor nods, wriggles a bit to get comfortable under Hank, and whispers, "Okay, Hank."
They lay like that on the couch for
It's comforting for Hank as much as it is for Connor. The assurance that his love is here, that he's okay, that Hank is there to keep him safe.
(cw for mentions of past sexual trauma - not gonna go into intricate details or anything but just so you guys know)
"The, uh, the gym teacher made a pass at me."
Hank's brain is a bit fuzzy from curling up
Connor nods weakly, and Hank can see how close to the edge Connor is to
Hank can't recall even knowing what this asshole looks like, but anger curdles in his gut toward this man for causing Connor to
"He tried to ask me out, er-" Connor's brow knits together. "More of a demand."
Hank clenches his hand at Connor's neck, a betrayal of his anger.
Frustration and something like anxiety causes Hank to hold tighter to Connor.
It's enough to stir a soft and affectionate laugh from Connor, who reaches to thread his fingers through
Hank's heart swells, but he nuzzles deeper into Connor, fits his head into the crook between his head and his shoulders at his neck. "Still," he grumbled. Kisses the line of his throat. "Would have kicked
"I don't doubt," Connor murmurs, draws quiet again.
Connor breathes in, "I told him I had a boyfriend, that I wasn't interested, that it wasn't professional - but he just kept-" He inhales hard. Hank shifts his weight more onto Connor, like he
"He kept saying how much better he was than whatever guy I was with, said he could 'really put that ass to use'." Connor's face twists in disgust. Hank hides his anger in
Connor's neck. The nurse goes a bit still under Hank, and his voice quiets. "Then he grabbed my ass, tried to push me up against the wall, and I-" Connor's breath hitches, "I didn't know what to do at first. Hank I just /froze/ an-"
Somewhere along the lines Connor has started crying, and he clings to Hank. "I pushed him away and got out before he
Hank holds tight to Connor. Tries to appease the tears by kissing his every part of his face. Brushes comforting lips to
It doesn't work.
..But it helps.
"I'm okay," Connor says. Hank feels like he assuredly Is Not, but lets him go on. "I'm okay." And
"So I got away after that," Connor says. "Called Kara to have her come take over for me." He wipes his nose with the sleeve of
"I'm so sorry, Connor," Hank murmurs, weak. "So sorry this happened, sorry I couldn't be there for you - god I can't wait to kick his ass." Hank grasps at Connor desperately, rage and sorrow churning
Connor clings just as hard to him, and the two take comfort in each other, murmuring words of assurance that the other is all right. Connor insists there's nothing for Hank to apologize for, and it
"You can go after him if you want," Connor says to Hank a little while later, when his tears have staved in the face of their loving embrace. "I don't want him to do anything like that to someone else,
"Oh you bet I'm gonna go after him," Hank growls, marks Connor's neck with his teeth and lips. "Gonna make sure you're never gonna have to be near that bastard again."
Connor whimpers under Hank's growling, wraps his
"No problem, babe," Hank murmurs, kisses
The nurse's smile is gentle, loving, and the pair find themselves content in each other's arms.
Cole arrives some time later with Kara, who takes on her role as a nurse right back to Connor, ensuring he's okay, though she knows he's
"Do you think you'd be able to go with school tomorrow for me?" Connor asks her quietly. "I just think I- I don't know if-"
"It's fine, Connor. I can cover tomorrow for you," she says with a gentle smile. Hank thanks her again for looking out for Con,
And Kara just looks at Hank, and smiles. "Oh, don't worry about Todd. If he tries anything I'll just beat his ass."
"Guess that means we get tomorrow all to ourselves," Hank says to Connor
Hank draws a finger gently down one side of Connor's face, who closes his eyes blissfully at the touch. "Will you be all right going out tomorrow like we planned?"
There's nothing short of adoration in Connor's eyes
Hank's smile is soft; he pulls Connor in at the waist. "Good," he says. "Been looking forward to treating you."
Connor smiles, all signs of pain gone.
thread continued here!