Disclaimer - Primeval and all its characters belong to someone else.
A/N - I like the new ITV show, Primeval, but felt a bit cheated with the way the scene in the hospital played out in episode 2, so I've decided to write an alternative version.
Abby hovered in the doorway as Claudia asked her questions.
She registered his self-deprecating assessment of his condition with relief, but she wasn't really listening to the words. Instead she just let the sound of Stephen's voice wash over her.
His voice changed when Claudia asked about Helen. His brows knotted together and he stared straight at Claudia his face filled with puzzlement.
He didn't remember.
As Claudia left, with an unsettled, dissatisfied expression on her face, Abby sidled in. She eased herself hesitantly into the chair by the bed, amazed to find herself feeling so awkward. She'd sat watching over him from this chair for hours, her hand straying to cool his feverish skin and push back the dark locks that clung to his sweat soaked forehead.
Now the prospect of touching him seemed a wild, inappropriate flight of fancy. Her eyes raked across his face and she licked her lips as she saw the expanse of toned skin visible between the unbuttoned edges of his shirt and the large bandage.
His blue eyes caught hers, gently curious.
"You don't remember anything then?" She blurted out.
Stephen shook his head, his attention seemingly still half on the book he was holding.
He gave an apologetic shrug.
Abby bit her lip, but she couldn't stop herself from pushing, "You don't remember what you said in the ambulance?"
Stephen tilted his head towards her slightly, his confusion obvious.
"I was pretty out of it." He said slowly watching her expression carefully, wishing he knew what it was that she wanted him to remember. All he could recall from the moment he'd been bitten was a series of fractured images and he was pretty sure the memory of Abby's cool palm resting on his forehead was a figment of his ever hopeful imagination.
"I just thought some of it might have stuck..." Abby said absently fiddling with edge of her top.
"Was it important?" He asked, willing her to say that it had been and to give him some hint of what he had said.
"Nah." Abby shook her head with a strained smile and sat back in the chair, her arms folded.
Stephen continued to stare at her, knowing that he'd upset her, but not knowing how. Or what to do about it.
He could feel her erecting a barrier between them and although he wanted nothing more than tear it down, he had no idea how to go about it. He glanced back back at his book, not knowing what to say and wishing, for the first time, that he was more like Connor who always seemed at ease with her.
As he stared at the page, he was suddenly assailed by an image of her leaning over him, her eyes glassy with worry. His entire body clenched as it remembered the searing pain, but his vision at the time had been filled with the sight of this white-haired angel and he suddenly knew that he had said something important.
He caught her gaze again and, his expression serious, he said, "Thank you for looking after me Abby."
Abby just stared, transfixed by the look in his eyes. Stephen always seemed so self-contained but, just for a moment, he was opening himself up.
Impulsively she reached across and gently took his free hand.
For a moment he hesitated, before lacing his fingers through hers and putting the book down.
Stephen allowed the breath he'd been holding out slowly as he looked down at their hands.
Then he met her eyes with a half smile.
God, she was beautiful. He thought as he took in her bright, sparkling gaze.
Stephen settled back against the pillows, slowly relaxing.