Disclaimer - Primeval and all it's characters belong to someone else.
A/N - I'm indulging myself with another variation on the end of episode 2. Feedback is always appreciated.
'Thank you for looking after me.' The words echoed in Abby's mind as she leant her forehead on the glass, looking out over the bustle of the urban jungle.
Figures in suits dashedabout soundlessly. The odd, lost tourist among them, standing with cameras slung around their necks while peering in confusion at their guidebooks wondering why their current location looked nothing like Trafalgar Square.
She sighed, trying to banish the memory of a pair of blue eyes watching her warily.
He had meant the thank you, that much was obvious from his serious tone, but it was a detached feeling of gratitude. That dizzying intimacy shifting away like a mirage as Stephen retreated back into himself.
Gone was the arid humour and gentle warmth that had greeted her pronouncement that she had just started an insect study.
Gone too was the steely determination that had sent him back into the dark, dangerous tunnels to rescue his friend.
But most of all, gone was the fierce intensity with which he'd gazed at her, with excruciating pain lancing through his body. In those few moments she'd seen a little of the real Stephen Hart and known that she'd meant something to him.
She pushed back from the window trying to banish the image.
She was surprised to see Claudia standing next to her, with her back to the window and her arms folded across her chest.
Abby offered a slight smile of greeting which Claudia returned absently, staring at the sterile hospital corridor.
Claudia slowly seemed to recollect herself and asked, "You okay?"
Abby blinked, "I'm fine," before returning to stare out the window.
"He was lucid." Claudia stated baldly.
Abby's gaze snapped back round as she bit of the 'who' when she saw the civil servant's exasperated look.
"I know what someone is like when they're delirious - and Stephen wasn't." Claudia drummed her fingers against her arm as she spoke.
Abby was surprised by the coiled tension in the other woman's body.
"He won't tell me what Stephen said about her." Claudia continued.
Abby blinked again wondering if she was expected to respond or if Claudia was having the conversation with herself.
"Did he say anything about her in the ambulance?"
"Her?" Abby repeated in confusion.
"Her!" Claudia exclaimed, "Helen."
Abby's mouth formed an 'O' and she shook her head, "Stephen didn't say much of anything once we got in the ambulance." She swallowed, recalling the lurching journey through the streets of London clutching his hand as the convulsions took hold. She shivered in spite of herself.
Claudia seemed to suddenly notice her companion's discomfort and pale, strained face.
"He is okay, isn't he?" She asked in concern.
Abby nodded jerkily, her knuckles white as she gripped the window sill.
An assessing look passed over Claudia's face and she laid a hand lightly on Abby's arm, "He wasn't delirious. Whatever he said, he meant it." She laughed slightly at Abby's shocked expression, "Near death experiences have a way of focusing the mind."
"Didn't last though!" Abby muttered mutinously, her eyes closing as her forehead came to rest against the cool glass pane once more.
Claudia bit her lip as she watched, assessing for a moment before speaking, "Had his fingers burnt," she stated cryptically.
"What" Abby exclaimed.
"Stephen. Has trust issues." Claudia looked away.
"How d'you know?" Abby's hands were on her hips as she turned to face the other woman, bristling.
Claudia took a breath and then ploughed on, "Well, we've had to do some checking..." She trailed off as she saw Abby's face, "Come on you signed the Official Secrets Act and all those forms yourself! It's not as if we'd let just anyone run round around on this!"
Abby continued to glare, wondering what pithy little summaries of her own life Claudia and her creepy boss had come up with. She was also fighting a losing battle not to fish for more information, after a moment she cracked, "Why?"
Claudia eyed her for a moment, "Why the trust issues, I assume?" She paused and then continued at Abby's nod, "Got screwed over when he was at college. Very messy, never really got over it. Had relationships since then, but never lets them get too close. Stays detached."
Claudia looked straight at Abby, "He'd not succeeding at that with you."
Abby gaped at her for a moment, feeling torn between hope and denial.
The two women stood in silence for a minute or two, until they both turned in the direction of oncoming footsteps.
Claudia recognised the rumpled figure first and ran a hand through her hair and smoothed her immaculate skirt.
As Cutter drew level with them, she watched him with a mix of wariness and reluctant affection.
Cutter smiled at both of them, but focused his attention on Claudia, "How's he doing?"
"Better, he'd dropped off again when I left him a quarter of an hour ago." Abby said.
Cutter smiled his relief, "I'll go check up on him," He added, his eyes seeming to ask Claudia's permission before he turned on his heel and strode away.
Abby noticed that Claudia's eyes lingered on the retreating figure and she pondered speculatively.
"So?" She asked nodding in the direction the Professor had gone.
Claudia started guiltily and then shrugged.
Abby smiled slightly, "Well, he seems to like you..." She grinned at Claudia's vehement denial, feeling lighter herself.