Connor instantly regretted waking up the very second he opened his eyes. Insurmountable pain stabbed from his optical units into his processor.
He squeezed his eyes closed in an attempt to relieve the white-hot agony that pierced his head, but to no avail.
He pressed his hands against his face as pressure began to mount just behind his optical units. His auditory processors worked in hyperdrive, heightening every sound to an alarmingly loud volume.
For a moment, Connor couldn’t tell where he was or how he had gotten there.
Shrouded in the blackness of his vision and the overwhelming input from his auditory units, he simply lay there, overcome with the incredible amount of pain in his head.
After a few minutes of agony, the pain began to lessen ever so slightly. Connor became aware of the fact that he was lying on something, and that he was very warm.
Reaching his hands out, he felt the sheets and the blanket of the bed he had come to occupy in Hank’s home.
He didn’t remember ever going to bed.
He didn’t remember ever leaving the bar.
Vague, clouded memories of hearty laughs, blue beverages, and a girl with worn-out sneakers. He and Hank laughing until they were in tears.
As Connor sorted through clouded memories, he heard a soft knock at the door, which was followed by the sound of scratching paws and a sudden weight on his chest.
A cold, wet nose searched Connor’s face, and a hot tongue caused him to grimace.
“Hey, Sumo,” he said. His voice came out as a croak, though Connor had detected no irregularities with his vocal unit.
A gruff but sincere voice pierced the otherwise silent air. “Mornin’, Connor. You look like shit.”
Connor opened his eyes, and turning his head, he was met with a disheveled-looking Lieutenant Anderson.
He was wearing the same clothes they had gone to the bar in, and he had dark circles under his eyes. Other than that, he looked surprisingly better than he usually did after a night of drinking.
“The same could be said for you, Lieutenant,” Connor retorted, pushing the heavy St. Bernard off of him with little difficulty.
Sumo was content to lay his head down beside Connor’s, looking at him with big, loving eyes.
Connor placed his hands on the bed beside him and sat up.
“I wouldn’t do that -” Hank started, but Connor had already stood up.
A sudden wave of dizziness passed over Connor, his vision suddenly swimming with dark spots. He closed his eyes, hoping the dizziness would subside, but was made aware of another sensation.
An odd pressure began building in Connor’s stomach as the dizziness only got worse. Before Connor could question what was happening, a warning flashed in his vision.
WARNING: Unequal distribution of Thirium detected. Thirium purge commencing in 00:00:09.23.
Oh, shit, Connor thought as he raced past Hank and out of the room.
The dizziness only increased tenfold at his sudden movement, but he knew what was about to happen - and knew that Hank sure as hell wouldn’t want it on his floor.
Pushing open the door to the bathroom down the hall, Connor hardly had time to think before a torrent of Thirium poured from his lips.
Bending over the toilet, Connor could only close his eyes and wait for the retching to stop.
After what seemed like an eternity, Connor rested his head against the crook of his arm as the nausea - or at least, the android version of such an experience - finally, mercifully, subsided.
After flushing the ungodly amount of Thirium down the drain, Connor sat back with his head in his hands.
Thirium volume at 86.9%.
He ignored the warning as he still felt as if the waves of dizziness were only increasing.
A hand was on his shoulder, and Connor opened his eyes slightly to see Hank staring down at him with a small smirk.
“What’s wrong with me, Lieutenant?” Connor asked, his voice sounding far more hoarse than before.
The smirk increased to a full grin as Hank began to chuckle.
“You, my friend, are hungover.”
Connor squeezed his eyes shut again, the memories of Hank’s hangovers flooding his mind.
No wonder he’s an ass when he’s hungover, he thought to himself.
This is awful.
Peering up at the Lieutenant, Connor asked, “How much did I have to drink last night?”
“Way too much for a first-time, pal. Way too much,” Hank laughed, helping Connor to his feet.
- - - - -
The pain in Connor’s head had finally subsided to a dull ache between his eyes as he sat with Hank at the kitchen table.
He had replenished some of the Thirium he had lost, which allowed his healing program to begin its work.
He found himself disliking the fact that he couldn’t remember anything after a certain point last night.
As a superior model type, his processors should have been able to store away vital pieces of information without regard to his state of inebriation.
Never thought I’d have to say that, Connor thought.
He turned to face the Lieutenant.
“I don’t think I like being drunk, Hank.”
Hank laughed as he set down his mug of coffee. “Oh yeah? Bet you won’t do that again, huh?”
Connor didn’t appreciate his chiding tone, but looked down to the table in defeat.
“At least not to that extreme.”
Hank looked at the young android seated next to him, and smiled in spite of himself.
Connor, who was always so well-put together, looked like genuine shit. The usual neatness of his appearance was gone, replaced with a rumpled uniform and unkempt hair.
Hank found himself surprised that the android’s hair was actually vaguely curly. It was odd to see so human a quality in someone who always looked the part of a machine.
Dark circles surrounded his brown eyes, and their usual sharpness was reduced to a vague, dull impression of the previous night.
The LED in his temple hadn’t stopped cycling in a golden hue since the events of the morning had transpired.
Hank was always surprised with just how human Connor could really be.
He pulled himself out of his thoughts when he realized that Connor was looking at him questioningly.
“What are you looking at, Lieutenant?”
Hank smirked again, pulling his eyes away from Connor to look into the depths of his coffee mug.
“What did you think of Natalie?” He asked, changing the subject.
Memories of blue eyes and a sunshine laugh filled Connor’s mind, and he smiled softly.
“I think I’d like to get to know her a little better. She seems nice.” He paused.
“She’s very pretty.”
Hank laughed. “I knew you’d like her. You two have a lot in common, come to think of it.”
Connor looked up to face Hank. “How do you know her so well?”
Hank’s smile fell a little, and he looked back to the surface of the table. He seemed to be staring intently at something that sat right in front of him, though nothing was there.
He sighed, leaning forward to set his arms on the table, and looked at Connor. His tone was serious.
“That’s a long story, Connor. A very, very long story.”
Connor waited patiently for him to continue. After a few minutes, Hank sighed.
“Look, she had a shitty childhood. Her dad got mixed up in some bad stuff, so she kind of grew up without any parental figure to look up to. I helped her out for a while.
” He paused, and looked at Connor. “There’s a lot to her story. A lot more than either one of us would expect. It isn’t my place to tell - not yet, anyways.”
Realizing the conversation was over, Connor leaned back into his seat, somewhat disappointed. He had wanted to know more about the mysterious girl at the bar.
He supposed the time would come eventually.