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me: mentions paci/fic rim once me a few days later: hankcon pacrim au where they’re not jaeger pilots they’re the k-science division. connor’s the math prodigy who spends most of his time arguing with hank, who studies kaiju biology. they “hate” each other and argue constantly
no matter how much fowler gets on them to get along. anyways i’m gonna write a thread for real when i get home but this is the basics and they’re definitely drift compatible and it’s killing me
“Dr. Anderson, I swear to god if I walk into this room and find some kind of kaiju entrails on my desk there -” Connor cuts out his tirade at the sound of Anderson’s snickering. He knows it’s pointless, now, to even threaten to fight him.
The last time the two had nearly come to blows Connor had ended up with a trip to the infirmary from falling flat onto his face, smashing his glasses and leaving a small scar on his temple.
At least Dr. Anderson had felt bad about that.
Connor hadn’t had to see something disgusting, like kaiju tonsils or eyeballs, for nearly a week after.
It had been the most productive week of Connor’s life.
He missed that little reprieve of peaceful silence.
He’d even been able to level with Anderson about his theories on the origination of the kaiju. He’d thought maybe they could even become friends. But that, like everything else, passed in the blink of an eye.
Now, they were right back at square one. There was something slimy on Connor’s desk and Anderson was snickering. What was the point of even trying to work? Why did he even show up to their shared lab most days?
He knew why.
He was the only one in the world that could accurately predict when the Breach would open.
Connor chose, instead of starting the fight, to use a pool stick that had been snapped in half and push the kaiju mite off the edge of his desk, sacrificing his stapler in the battle.
Anderson is there the second before it hits the ground to catch the mite and the stapler.
“Hey!” he yells, gruff voice still carrying a bit of that playful energy his snickers had before, “Watch the merchandise. Can’t just pick one of these up at the corner store, Connor."
"It’s Dr. Arkait to you, especially when you stick entrails on my side of the lab!” Connor exclaims. He's always tried his best to keep at least a semblance of professionalism in his lab, no matter how much Anderson wanted to turn it into some kind of playground.
The next step to the routine is to try to start working, and wait for Anderson to make some sort of biting remark. Then the argument begins, and it takes Connor another twenty minutes to start up calculations.
Today is different.
Instead of starting a fight, a loud pop song that Connor recognizes as Mar iah C arey blasts throughout the lab, and Anderson mutters, “Shit,” before picking it up with the clipped greeting of, “What do you want?”
If Connor was interested in Anderson’s life at all, maybe he’d listen to the call. Or at least half of it. If he was, he’d hear an argument about when, exactly, Anderson’s son Cole was supposed to visit.
That was if he was interested.
He definitely wasn’t.
Connor keeps writing the numbers, trying his best to solve a mystery through the equations. He tries to lose himself in it, even trying to convince himself he’s happy for the momentary peace but… Something’s off.
Anderson never gets silent when he’s upset. He tends to blast metal music and end up elbow-deep in a kaiju stomach the second he’s upset.
Connor realizes he doesn’t enjoy the silence as much as he normally does.
When he turns around from his blackboard just to check on him, he finds that Anderson had slipped out of the lab sometime when he was working.
Connor sighs, and turns back to his work.
He never finds his focus that afternoon, instead he double checks yesterday's numbers.
He hopes Anderson will return tomorrow and be back to normal. No, wait. He doesn’t. Connor reminds himself that the peace and quiet is what he always wants, that he wishes to be left alone with his thoughts. He's always been a solitary creature, defying that twin stereotype.
He can't get onto that train of thought now. He should focus on when the breach will open. He’s starting to think that there's going to be a double event in the next three months. Just finding the date will help everyone.
Who knows how many lives could be saved with a warning?
Connor turns off Anderson’s terminal screen as he leaves the lab, double checking that all of his samples are properly stored.He figures it’s the least he can do in return for the quiet afternoon. It has nothing to do with the worry about his colleague that sits in his gut.
The next day Connor arrives to the lab and instead of slime on his desk, there’s a child in his chair. His mind races, trying to figure out how a child got onto this level. There’s no way he’s got clearance, and it’s been a while since he's has seen a child prodigy on base.
(Once upon a time, Connor had been the whiz kid that graduated high school at eleven. And if that wasn’t the biggest thing that fucked him over socially, he was also cast out by his own brothers. It’d been solitude from age twelve onwards.)
“Um, hi?” Connor starts, stepping forward towards his desk cautiously, “Not to be rude, but how did you get in here?” He looks down, “And please tell me you’re not drawing on my reports.” he adds on, the tone definitely rude now, despite his last statement.
The boy looks up at him with wide blue eyes that look so familiar and, before Connor can even put that together, Anderson enters the lab, “I got your hot chocolate, Cole. Extra marshmallows and everything,” He freezes when he notices Connor in the lab.
“Shit - Sorry, Connor -”
“Dr. Arkait,” Connor corrects, cutting into Anderson’s apology. It’s rude but, to be fair, Anderson has let his child color with crayons near his very important reports.
This was the fate of the world, to Connor. His lab wasn't a daycare.
“Sorry, Connor. I didn’t think you’d be in today, since you’re scheduled to be off. Cole here had to come visit a bit early, his other dad had to go on a business trip this weekend.”
Before Connor can respond to that, the kid cuts in.
“Dad? Can you show me the kaiju stuff now?” Cole asks, standing from the desk and, thankfully, taking his coloring book and markers along with him.
“Sure, Cole, let’s go see what cool stuff I’ve got.”
Connor does not want to know what Anderson's definition of "cool stuff" is.
It takes Connor a few seconds to really process the scene. Anderson, a full-fledged parent. That’s not something he really expected, even if he’d heard a ton of phone calls that confirmed it in hindsight.
The kid was the spitting image of him, with the blonde curls that Anderson had sported in his youth, if the Facebook Connor had stalked before they became colleagues was anything to go by.
Plus, the coloring book Cole had been working on was full of childish Kaiju drawings, so it seems the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.
Connor stares at them for a few more moments, as Hank pulls out the bits that are less disgusting to show off to his son.
He’s… disgustingly charmed.
He hopes the feeling passes soon.
It’s four in the morning but Connor knows the next event’s date. He hasn’t slept in two days, he’s running on caffeine and adrenaline from nearly falling off his ladder, but he knows. He knows and he can warn the Captain.
Anderson must have had some sort of breakthrough, too. He was still here even if his son had headed off to bed hours ago.
But who cares? Connor knew.
He figured it out, and he could - could help people. He could save the world, or something like that.
He was getting way ahead of himself. He’d meant to jump up from his seat but he’d moved. Maybe the sleep deprivation was finally getting to him.
He took another long sip of the coffee in front of him, finally finding the energy to stand and make his way towards the door. He’s almost there, coaching himself inside his head to seem normal, when he runs right into something solid.
Next thing he knows, he’s flat on his back, staring at the ceiling of the Shatterdome.
“Jesus - Connor, are you okay?” Anderson asks, offering up his hand to and helping Connor up.
“Dr. Arkait,” Connor chokes out, realizing he’s basically glitching out in real life.
“You can’t call me Connor, you’re not my friend. You keep… Putting gross stuff on my desk, like it’s kindergarten.” Connor feels the unexplained desire to stick his tongue out at the end of that. He’s not sure if he does, but Anderson’s eyebrows rise anyways.
“How long’s it been since you slept?” Anderson asks, as Connor’s form slumps into his side once he’s upright.
“I don’t know. Two days, maybe? What day is it now?”
Connor’s eyes are trying to close. Anderson is… warm. He’s so warm. His eyes start to slide closed. Connor just wants to cuddle up to him and -
His eyes snap open as he remembers why he stood up in the first place.
“I have to find the Captain! I’ve figured it out!”
“You should sleep first, the Captain won’t like seeing you in this state.” Connor grumbles. Anderson’s right, of course. The goddamn bastard.
Connor gets the feeling that if he tries to fight Anderson on this, he’ll end up manhandled onto the couch in the middle of their lab.
As nice of a wet dream that would be, he doesn’t want to face the humiliation of that in the waking world, so he goes willingly when Anderson leads him there. He’s lost all control of his mouth, apparently, because the next thing he blurts out is, “You’re warm.”
Anderson chuckles, a low rumbling sound.
“Am I?” he asks, teasing Connor again with his tone.
“Why do you hate me?” he blurts out. He can’t control the words anymore.
If he wasn’t half asleep, he’d see the anguished look on Anderson’s face.
He’d hear Anderson’s soft words as he finds a blanket for him.
“I never hated you.”
Connor drifts into the waking world slowly. He’s warm, unusually so as he often kicks all the blankets off himself when the Shatterdome is this hot.
It takes him just a second to realize he’s not in his quarters, the thing he’s lying on is far too lumpy to be his own bed.
His eyes snap open, and he sits straight up, realizing he’s still in the lab. Anderson’s staring at him from his workstation, a stupid smile across his stupid handsome face. His stupid tooth gap is not endearing, either.
Connor shakes his head to get rid of his sleepy thoughts.
“Finally back to the world of the living?” Anderson asks, the grin never leaving his face.
“How long have I been asleep?” He asks, rubbing at his eyes and letting out another yawn.
“Approximately ten hours. I was going to wake you up but Cole said it’d be rude. Plus, you looked like you needed the sleep. Two days, Connor, really?”
Connor doesn’t correct him on his name this time, instead his mind races, finally catching up with him. Oh, god.
“Oh my god, what - what time is it?” Connor’s voice is panicked, when he realizes that ten hours means they’ll only have… three hours to prepare.
“It’s 2 PM, why?”
Connor jumps up, wobbly on his feet.
“Call Fowler now, please. We have to the word out. There’ll be a double event in less than four hours.” He says, a bit of terror in his usually calm voice. His legs carry him towards his desk, and he rifles through the pages that he needs to find his numbers that prove it.
If his algorithm is right, there’s going to be destruction on a scale they haven’t seen since... San Francisco. Before they knew what they were doing.
“What? You can’t be serious! There’s no way your calculations are correct - the last Kaiju made landfall two weeks ago!”
“Just call him!” Connor practically screams, “God damn it, Dr. Anderson, this isn’t time for an ego trip! I’ve got these numbers and they’ve never been wrong before!”
Anderson quiets. He seems to get the severity of the situation, as he makes the call to Fowler quickly.
It’s only then that Connor realizes there’s no mop of blonde curls running around, and Anderson’s not said a thing since he made the call.
“Cole is on the mainland.” Anderson says, when Connor looks at him, “And I can’t get through to Ben.”
Connor’s blood runs cold.
Fowler arrives to a total mess.
Hank’s workstation has been turned into some kind of satellite, and Connor is standing on his ladder near the top trying his hardest to add… a piece of tinfoil.... to it.
Sometimes, he doesn’t even want to ask.
Hank had just called, a sharp edge to his voice, to say that Arkait had figured something out that was urgent. As long as this had nothing to do with Anderson’s new theory of drifting with the kaiju brain, he would listen.
No way was he going to let the lead kaiju biologist fry his goddamn brain over a theory, especially not with his son on base.
“I’m going to ask politely: What the fuck is going on here?”
Hank opens his mouth, but Connor speaks first, “This is all my fault, if I hadn’t gone to sleep last night he wouldn’t be on the mainland!”
Connor seems to forget that the Captain really has no clue what’s going on, and that he's skipped all the context for the situation.
Fowler pointedly watches the gears turn in Connor’s head, and looks at his watch.
“Oh, god! There’s going to be a double event in less than three hours, I’m sure of it. My math is never wrong, and even Dr. Anderson agrees my numbers are correct -”
“I think if I’m checking your work you can at least call me by my name.” Anderson interjects, but Connor ignores him in favor of throwing Captain Fowler an exasperated look.
"That would be unprofessional, Dr. Anderson and you kn-" Fowler clears his throat, stopping the argument.
“You’ve got to get the pilots to positions, Fowler, if my calculations are right… We’re going to have category three kaiju to take down today.” Connor finishes, and Fowler just stares.
“And why are you building this… satellite?” he asks, as Connor wavers on the top step.
Hank cuts in this time, “My son - He’s on the mainland. With Ben Collins, who won’t answer his fucking phone. And, to top it all off, we're suddenly in a dead cell zone. It was all Connor's idea."
"It's Dr. Arkait!" Connor shouts, jumping off the last few rungs of his ladder.
"It's Dr. Arkait," Hank replies in a mocking tone, "Do you even now how dumb you sound? We've been working together for six years!"
"Well at least I understand professionalism in the workplace!"
Fowler clears his throat, shooting angry looks at the two of them.
Fowler nods, finally happy to have their attention, “I’ll try to get a message to him, he’ll be needed, too. If you’re right. Can't be down a technician if there's an event.”
Fowler stresses the ‘if’.
“I’m always right, Captain.” Connor responds, cocky and unafraid, for once.
Hank’s phone on speaker starts to ring, instead of sending them straight to voicemail.
Fowler shakes his head and starts his walk back to the control room, putting out a message to his pilots.
He can hear Connor scream in frustration as the call rings through, no answer.
The call doesn’t go through. Again and again they get no answer, and Anderson leaves frantic voicemail after frantic voicemail on Collins’ phone.
Connor grabs his coat off the rack and opens the door.
“Come on, let’s go.” He says.
“What?” Hank asks.
“My brother flies helicopters upstairs. He’ll take us to the mainland if we’re quick - we can find Cole and get to a shelter, it’ll be okay.” Connor grabs Anderson’s jacket off the rack.
Then Anderson’s arm, dragging him away from their makeshift cell tower.
“We’ve got to be quick, Silas is going to want to argue.” Connor doesn't leave any room for questions, his voice stern. Connor just keeps a solid hold on his arm, dragging Anderson to the elevators. He pushes the button for the hangar and prays that they're fast enough.
Connor wants to shout again in frustration, as he watches the numbers climb far too slowly.
He checks his watch and realizes that they’ve got 30 minutes to the double event. And there's no way his numbers are wrong. Sweat beads on his forehead, anxiety creeping up his spine.
They should be getting the first readings in the control center soon, then they’ll confirm them and start a counterstrike within five minutes.
Which means, Connor has just under seven minutes to convince his twin brother to help them and not laugh them off the hangar floor.
God, he wishes Nines hadn’t become a jaeger pilot and had stuck with piloting helicopters, he’d always been the more reasonable sibling. But no, he just had to be the big hero.
Connor always thought it had something to do with the youngest feeling inadequate.
(Connor was the golden boy, always praised for being so goddamn brilliant and talented. Silas was always the wild card, never disappointing with tales of his misadventures. Nines was always responsible, a perfect mold that could do no wrong.)
The elevators read 65, 66 and Connor looks at Anderson. “Listen, you’ve probably not met my brother because he, and I quote, ‘won’t come near any nerds,’ but don’t panic. Yes, he’s my identical twin. Yes, he’s pretty much the worst. Yes, he’s going to get us to the mainland."
Connor sighs, "He’ll put up a fight but he always lets up.”
He breathes through his nose, steeling himself for a fight.
Anderson’s wide eyes steel his nerves. He has to do this.
There's no other options left.
God, he wished he could ask anyone else.
Here goes nothing, he thinks as the elevator dings on the 75th floor, and the doors slide open to the hangar. There’s one man there, and Connor stalks right up to him.
“Silas, I’m cashing in last Thanksgiving’s favor,” Connor starts, as Silas stands, staring at him blankly.
“What favor? I don’t ever let you do things for me. It’s usually Nines’ job dealing with your high strung bullshit,” Silas’ voice trails off and he groans, remembering how Connor faked an asthma attack to sneak his (now ex-) boyfriend out of the Arkait household.
“What do you need?” he asks, now sounding totally bored. He eyes Anderson, looking him up and down, and smirks, “And where’d you find this snack?”
Connor groans, setting his glare on his brother. Thankfully, Anderson ignores Silas. That's a nice change of pace.
“I found him in my lab. We work together. We need a ride to the mainland," Connor watches as Silas stares at Anderson for way too long. He taps his foot on the ground, more anxious than impatient, "Can you give us a lift or not? It's time sensitive.”
“Yeah, sure, don’t get too bent out of shape about it. Why’re you headed there? And where, on the mainland?”
Connor pales, turning to face Anderson.
Anderson's pale and looks terribly nervous, his stocky build pulled into itself, making him seem so much smaller than usual.
Anderson's got his phone up to his ear, listening to dial tones that go nowhere.
“Dr. Anderson, where were they supposed to go?” Connor demands, trying to shake Hank out of the terrified state he’s been floating in since Connor announced his findings.
“The - The aquarium. And the park around it. So, we’ll need to get to the closest spot to the aquarium.” Anderson says, his voice quiet and the words barely tumbling out without him getting choked up.
Connor turns to Silas, who nods as he opens the door to his helicopter.
“Takeoff in 2 minutes. Buckle up, the atmosphere’s a little mean today. And thanks for flying Arkait Air: We hate you and please don’t ask for favors again.”
He would really make a terrible flight attendant, Connor thinks, as the helicopter lurches into motion.
The event sirens begin just as they're cleared for takeoff.
Connor reaches out to grab something to steady himself after a bit of turbulence, Silas' loud laughter only serving to make him more nervous.
He doesn't let go of Anderson's hand until they reach the mainland.
Silas screams every curse word ever invented at Connor as he practically shoves them off his copter, angry that he was left out of the loop and has to rush back towards the island.
But at least he’d let them onto the mainland without outright decking Connor.
Maybe it was the twin telepathy that made him realize how important this is. Who knows?
"Fuck you Connor! I'm never doing shit for you ever again!" Silas screams, the last thing Connor can hear over the sounds of the rotors, but definitely not the last disparaging thing he says.
“Come on, Anderson,” Connor grits out, flipping off the helicopter as Silas flies away. “The aquarium is this way, we’ve got to find them quick.”
They run, because it’s all Connor can think to do. They sprint one behind the other, and when they arrive Connor skids to a stop.
The woman at the front desk is a bottle blonde who looks bored with her life.
“I need to use your PA system,” He demands, the second the woman’s eyes meet his. Connor leaves no room for questions, flashing a PPDC identification card to prove their authority, "Right now."
(It would probably help if Connor didn’t look like a manic college professor on day four of a weeklong binge, if Anderson didn’t look like a mad scientist who hadn't left a lab in months. Connor was pretty sure there was a bit of kaiju brain on his shoulder, but he ignores it.)
Anderson doesn’t wait for the response, instead grabbing the PA system and pushing down the button.
His frantic voice fills the room, but he’s toned it down enough, “Cole Anderson and Ben Collins, please meet your party at the front desk.”
The desperation sits in his voice.
“I could’ve said that,” the girl snaps at them, but Connor just ignores her, looking everywhere for the mess of golden curls that should, eventually, make their way over here.
Hopefully, before the news of the kaiju gets to the shore.
Connor’s nerves are more shot than they’ve ever been. He needs a smoke more than he has in his entire life.
Anderson looks terrified, still, his gaze never wavering from the entrance to the building that Cole should be coming out of any second.
The alarm blares in the building, signaling that there’s an incoming attack, and people begin to move towards the shelters, the place emptying out quickly.
Anderson vaults himself onto the desk, ignoring the angry shout from the secretary. He scans he crowd for a few moments.
“Ben!” He shouts, waving his arms like a crazy person, and Connor can see him too.
Ben, with Cole perched on his shoulders.
Anderson’s so relieved he doesn’t hear the screams from outside the building.
Outside of the aquarium there is chaos.
Connor holds on to Anderson’s hand, letting himself be guided. His body cries out from terror and exhaustion, but he can’t give up now. They’ve made it this far, they can’t just quit when they’re so close to safety.
The jaeger is huge.
It's terrifying up close.
Even worse when Connor knows his brother is piloting it, risking his life to save this city. He cautions a glance at the robot and remembers the long nights spent coding the defense protocols with Nines’ input, and he suddenly wants to cry.
He loses his grip on Anderson for just a moment.
He’s violently ripped from the fugue state he was in when the bright blue eyes cross into his field of vision. Cole sits on his hip, looking scared and staring right at him.
“Connor!” Anderson yells.
Connor doesn’t correct him.
“Come on, if we’re fast, I know of a shelter we can hide out at until things are safe again.”
Instinctively, Connor trusts Anderson to get him to safety.
They’ve known each other for the better part of a decade, Connor thinks he’d trust Anderson with his life.
The difference one week can make is jarring.
Which he’s about to do. He takes the scientist’s hand once again, and they move in the opposite direction of the crowd.
They move as quickly as possible. It takes another twenty minutes, but finally they arrive at a rundown warehouse. Anderson immediately begins banging on the side door, screaming at someone to let them in.
When the door swings open, Connor finds a familiar face inside.
He’d worked with Anderson for years, until the PPDC had let go of all non-essential staff. Gary had been let go pretty quickly alongside Josh from Connor's side of the lab, and Connor had been devastated to let them go.
They were good scientists. Connor trusted them.
He always used to keep Anderson in check, and it was a good few years in the lab.
Connor hadn’t thought Anderson had kept close to Gary at all.
Lord knows he'd fallen out of contact with Josh just months after they split up. He was pretty sure Josh was teaching again.
“You're early.” Gary says, sounding a little dazed and a lot freaked out.
“Cole was at the aquarium, Connor and I rushed over, blah blah blah… You don't need the full rundown, do you really?” Anderson’s words are impatient, he’s been pushed to his limits today.
“Do you have the equipment ready? And can Cole, Connor and Ben stay in your shelter?” Anderson finishes out, and Gary nods.
Connor looks up, confused.
Gary leads them towards the basement that's been fitted out as an attack shelter.
Connor keeps his eyes trained on Anderson.
“What -” He starts, when he thinks that it's safe, but Anderson’s hand comes up and he silences Connor with a look.
The shelter is small, but nice. Definitely safer than the mass shelters that most people in the city hide away from monsters in. Connor is glad that Cole is here.
“Anderson - What do you mean, just me, Cole and Ben?” Connor asks, the second Cole is truly distracted.
Anderson hasn’t even bothered to sit down. Connor knows in his gut that he’s not staying in this shelter through the attack. That terrifies him.
"What stupid thing are you doing to do, Hank?" Connor asks, not even noticing that he's let the other's first name slip.
"What could be so stupid you don't want your son to hear anything about it?" He demands, pushing his pointer finger into Anderson's chest, tone accusing.
"I've got an experiment to run," Anderson answers, as if that makes anything clearer, and Connor can feel the frustration and anger boiling to the surface.
"What - What the fuck, Anderson? What kind of experiment requires secrecy like this, where you can't even tell me?"
Connor's breathing calms down as soon as he gets the words out, as he stares into blue eyes that seem to hurt as much as Connor is.
"It's - Connor, you'd never let me do it if you knew. You can tell me I'm an idiot, but I have to do it. It's the endgame for all of my research."
Hank's voice is steady, but Connor can see through the cracks. His eyes read the terror and regret, and he stares at him for a few more moments.
"I'm coming with you," Connor announces, "Whatever it is, you need someone with a decent head on their shoulders to supervise."
Hank huffs out a laugh, "And when has that ever been you?"
Connor grins, "I'm always the level-headed one."
He looks at Hank, returning to the seriousness of their conversation just moments ago, "We're partners. You'll have to tell me what you're going to do, eventually."
Hank looks, searching Connor's face for traces of hesitation or regret. He finds neither.
Connor stares him down for a long time, the silence stretching until finally Connor has to break it, before they miss whatever window Hank needs.
"Anderson, I swear to god. If you don't tell me I'm going to handcuff you to the radiator down there, like one of those crime novels you love so much."
"Promise?" Hank asks, planting a smirk on his face. Connor groans.
"You're the worst, Dr. Anderson." Connor says, as Gary finally joins them.
"I think if we're going to be in the drift together, you may as well call me by my first name, Dr. Arkait." Hank states, casually.
"We're going to what?"
“Listen, Bug, I’ll be back before you know it.” Hank says, hugging his son.
Connor watches on and feels the tears pricking behind his eyelids.
He can’t believe he’s a part of this mission.
But he's convinced, if he didn’t go - Hank would get himself killed. There’s no doubt.
Connor sighs as Hank finally manages to escape Cole's grip on him, and the boy makes his dad pinky promise to be safe.
Connor’s chest hurts even more at that.
But he doesn’t expect the little carbon copy of Hank to turn to him next.
“Dr. Arkait - you have to promise, too.” Cole says, a little gap between his teeth that’s oh so familiar. Connor leans down to his level and links their fingers, sealing the promise.
“You can call me Connor,” He says, his voice a stage whisper. Hank lets out a snort behind him.
Plus, it gets a laugh from Cole, “Dad said we had to call you Dr. Arkait, ‘cause you hate your name.” Connor looks at Hank, who’s smiling at them.
“Come on,” Hank says, “We’ve got to go or we’ll miss our window.” Connor follows him into the chaos of the city under attack.
The city looks like a scene out of a cheesy apocalypse movie. Connor remembers watching them with his brothers when they were young, as he'd always been scared of the actual real world consequences they had.
Godzilla wasn’t real then, but Connor worried nonetheless.
Maybe it was a premonition. Maybe it’s just coincidence.
He doesn’t have the time to unpack that as he and Hank move straight into the line of fire, ducking into alleyways and building lobbies.
He sees Nines’ Jaeger nearby, big and covered in paint, signaling their kill count.
The closer they get the more nervous he is about this whole half-cocked “plan” that Hank had suggested. Connor had already expressed his disappointment multiple times, shouting at Hank and trying to get him to see the light.
But Hank wouldn't be swayed, too set in his theory.
How the hell were they meant to make it all the way to the front lines without being killed, meet with some random, skeevy guy that Hank had been in touch with, get their hands on a secondary brain of a kaiju and then drift with it before it's fully dead?
It would be fucking ridiculous of a plan, even without the most obvious plot hole.
There’s no way he and Hank are drift compatible.
Nines has explained to Connor how he and Gavin had found out about their compatibility. They had been at odds from the start. With a few sessions, they mirrored the other, moving in harmony.
It boiled down to a cheesy romance novel-esque line that Connor still held over Nines.
Nines was the flash of lightning and Gavin was the thunder that followed.
It was so disgustingly sappy, Connor had probably gagged when he first heard it.
There was a spark there, Nines had explained, and it burned into a wildfire by the time they were in the drift together.
Connor had never felt that with Hank.
That spark, like Nines described over and over again, was missing. He’d never seen them as puzzle pieces that fit together, or anything like that.
They were colleagues who differed too much to even go a day without a shouting match.
But Connor couldn’t let Hank get himself killed out here, so he’d tagged along.
Like the impulsive idiot he never let himself be before. He follows Hank mindlessly, too lost in his own mind to notice the reality of their current surroundings.
“Connor, watch out!” Hank shouts, pulling him into the next alleyway as debris falls in the spot he was just standing in.
They’re chest to chest, Connor pressed against Hank, closer than they’d been since Hank had carried Connor to the couch.
Connor can’t control his own body as he leans into Hank’s touch for just a moment before jumping away from him.
“Oh my god!” Connor yells, as he finally comes back into himself. He’s shaking, he realizes, his body slowly catching up to his racing mind.
There’s a deafening noise moving nearer to them, and Hank grips Connor and maneuvers him to the back of the alley, trapping Connor against the wall with his weight.
Connor knows the sound of a jaeger walking, but the other noise is unfamiliar.
Even so, he knows it's a kaiju.
Hank’s hand comes up to cover Connor’s mouth, muffling his surprised yelp as they’re hidden behind the dumpster.
For just a second, Connor is thrown back to the one weird dream he’d had about Hank just a few weeks ago where they were in a similar position -
The kaiju comes into view and cuts off all rational thought. Connor would gasp if he could suck in a breath, but the creature steals it away. It's bright blue and so much bigger than Connor ever imagined they would be. Nines wasn’t joking when he said they were nightmare fuel.
Hank pushes Connor with a little more force into the wall, and Connor allows it, his body shivering as if he were freezing, terror stopping the blood in his veins.
That bit of movement seems to catch the attention of the creature, and suddenly there’s translucent spikes moving towards them.
They remind Connor of the microscope images of snowflakes, jutting out into beautiful patterns that mesmerize him.
Hank’s weight is gone just moments later, as he stands in the middle of the alley, staring down the kaiju's appendage head-on, distracting the monster.
The glow lights up Hank’s features, and he looks more serious than Connor has ever seen him.
Connor can tell he’s cataloguing every detail into his memory, studying a creature that could, at any second, snap and kill him.
Even though they could kill him, Hank still loves these creatures.
Connor can understand that just a bit more, his eyes never leaving the blue glow.
The lights dance closer and Connor's heart stops when it’s just a meter away from Hank's body.
Connor wants to scream.
The sound of a jaeger’s fist hitting the kaiju kicks causes a flurry of motion, the appendage retracting and the battle beginning at the mouth of the alley.
Connor can’t even hear the fight over the rush of his own heartbeat in his ears. He stares at Hank’s shocked face, and then bursts into angry tears that he hadn't expected at all.
“You goddamn bastard!” Connor screams.
He launches himself from the spot where he’d been pressed into the wall and manuvers back into Hank’s arms.
Hank, somehow, manages to snap out of his daze enough to catch him.
“You could have fucking died, Hank, why the hell would you do that?”
Connor keeps screaming into his face, as Hank continues to look like he's a million miles away.
“I promised your son that you’d come back to him. I swore to him, and you just - you just jumped right in front of the most dangerous thing on Earth! I can’t believe your bullshit!”
Hank, finally seeming to regain the movement of his own body, grips the back of Connor’s head and pulls him into a tight hug. A hug that feels like it's a lifeline, something grounding them to real life.
Connor never wants to leave the safety of that embrace.
“Shut up,” Hank rasps out, “Just - shut up.” He says, holding onto Connor as the sounds move away from them. They stand there, hearing the battle continue, and breathe.
In and out, as one.
There's a harmony to it. Like they don't even have to try to be on the same exact page.
Connor won’t allow the hug to end, too focused on the fact that they’re alive and unharmed.
Hank leans back and wipes the tears off Connor's cheeks.
Connor thinks he might feel that spark Nines was talking about.
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