Summary: Tag to episode 3.4. Picks up immediately from the end, with Connor and Abby.
Homeless and Helpless
Abby bounced out of the room, giddy that her brother was here; as soon as she was out of sight Connor straightened, groaning. He ached all over from the emergency stop earlier, and he could still feel the tickle of blood as it seeped down his neck, sticking to his collar.
Sid chirped up at him, and he smiled back. "Where are we going for our holiday then, huh Sid? Where do you fancy?" Connor paused, trying to think of someone who had a spare room who actually knew about the dinosaurs and wouldn't question him borrowing a room or couch with two displaced and active creatures. It was a very short list.
He bowed his head forwards in resignation; there was realistically only one place that he was likely to end up in, and it wasn't exactly restful. It certainly wasn't what he had planned on, tonight, a plan that had basically consisted of lying down and not moving again until everything stopped hurting, with maybe a celebratory drink for having finally cracked sealing the portals. He groaned again as Nancy hissed at Sid and then turned tail running between his legs, Sid flew after her nearly knocking him flying, only to come to a skidding halt as Abby appeared in the doorway with a holdall and a pet cage for the two.
"Connor!" She hissed quietly but fiercely. "Stop playing around, Jack doesn't know anything about them! Stay, you two." Needless to say they came to a halt obediently in front of her looking total pictures of innocence.
Abby threw the holdall at him, which he reflexively caught against his chest. "Go and pack what you need, I'll make sure these two get in the carrier without any more incidents." When he was a bit too slow to react she urged him on, "Connor!"
Connor grimaced and walked up the couple of steps to the kitchen and the rooms beyond it. Reaching his bed he sank down onto it in relief, nearly giving in to the urge to collapse backwards and block out the world for the next couple of hours. He could hear Jack in the shower humming badly to himself, and as he looked around the room trying to find the energy to start packing he saw what must have been Jack's gear already spread out in an untidy pile of the dresser. He pulled out his mobile, scrolling through the list of numbers on it looking for someone who might be willing to take him in. Four numbers in and he paused, swiping his free hand over his face, as he saw Cutter's name.
It was so tempting to press the call button and hear his voice on the answer phone message, but Cutter was gone now. Connor viciously stabbed the down button a few times, skipping the next few names; actually skipping a lot of names. He reached the emergency numbers and sighed as he scrolled through the list a second time. Surely there was someone on the list he thought might take pity on him. He crossed his fingers and dialled. "Hi, Sarah."
"Hey Connor, what's up?" He could hear music in the background, and giggling.
He rubbed his hand through his hair, hissing when the dried blood pulled against the wound. "Sarah, hi," he paused trying to think of the best way to ask for a bed that didn't make him sound homeless and desperate.
"You said that already, what's up?" Sarah answered. "I've got some friends over, so if it's about…you know…well maybe we should just discuss it at work." He heard someone calling Sarah's name in the background, and glasses clinking.
"You know what?" he sighed. "You're right. Sorry to have bothered you, I'll see you at work tomorrow."
"You sure?" Sarah replied, he heard her turning to one of her friends and in a muffled voice saying "It's just work."
"Yeah, I'm sure," he answered, "Have a good night." He hung the phone up and let it fall into his lap with a sigh. She had been his best hope.
He heard the shower door push open and levered himself off the bed with a groan; sitting had been a bad idea. If he had been stiff before, he felt as though he could hardly move now. He grabbed a couple of shirt and pants from the wardrobe, and took a couple of handfuls of underwear from the drawers, which was all he had time for before Jack entered the room.
"Hey mate," he said, seemingly uncaring that he was standing in front of a stranger wearing only a towel. "Thanks for letting me kip here, 'preciate it."
"Hey you're family," Connor replied, zipping up his holdall hoping that he had everything he needed, "Tops friends right? It's Abby's place anyway, she can let the room to whomever she wants."
He went into the bathroom, wincing at the faceful of steam, to grab his toothbrush and razor and whatever other toiletries were lying to hand, and so was unable to hear Jack's reply. He had a swift glance around, but couldn't think of anything he might have missed and stepped back out, fervently hoping that Jack was getting changed in the bedroom and not somewhere he might have to see. To his relief, despite the half-naked introduction, Jack seemed to be dressing in private, and only Abby was out there.
"Got everything?" she asked, slipping the squirming pet cage into his hand. "I really appreciate this, Connor."
He shifted his holdall over his right shoulder, hefting the cage in his left hand. "Hey, he's family Abby, it's cool."
She smiled up at him and then stood on tiptoes, hugging him and kissing him on the cheek. "Well, thanks again; have fun at your mates. Don't let those two get into any trouble."
"Me?" Connor feigned an injured look, "We'll have fun, won't we guys." Sid and Nancy chirruped as if in reply, and Abby grinned at them.
"Bye guys," she kissed her fingers and stuck them through the bars petting each one in turn. "Behave for Connor."
"Abby! Do you know where I put my hair gel?" Jack's voice echoed through the room.
Abby glanced towards the room and then looked back at Connor; she was already back-heeling towards the bedroom. "I've got to go deal with him," she pointed behind her in the direction the call had come from before waving at Connor. "Bye!"
She was soon out of sight, and Connor paused in the doorway before walking outside, shutting the front door behind him. "Bye."
He leant back against the door, wondering from whom he could beg a place to stay with Tom dead and Duncan in prison. He thought about phoning Caroline, but was unwilling to open up that can of worms again. Sighing, he dialled Jenny's number, crossing his fingers for luck.
"Connor? What's wrong?" She sounded tired and down.
"Hey Jenny, I've a favour to ask." Having bottled it with Sarah earlier he though he'd come right out and ask this time. "Don't suppose you've got a spare room I can borrow?" When he didn't hear anything back he carried on, "It'll only be for a night, Abby's brother is in town and…"
"Connor," he could hear the implicit no in her voice, and he levered himself off the door with a great deal of effort, and started walking stiffly in the direction of the ARC, fairy resigned to having to spend the night there. "I really need some space right now, I'm sorry. Is there anyone else you can try?"
"No biggie!" Connor said in a much lighter tone than he was really feeling. "Was just a thought, I'll ask someone else. It was a rough day today, you get some sleep, hey?" He hung up quickly before she could reply.
"Shit," he exclaimed, grimacing as the holdall slipped slightly down his arm when he lowered the phone. He readjusted it before calling the only person left on his list of possibilities, the least likely to agree to his plea and certainly the least friendly of them all.
Connor dialled the number, listening to it ring as he trudged slowly along; he didn't think it was a good idea to call for a taxi or get onto the tube with the two Diictodon squealing in the carrier. It swung violently in his hand as they moved again. "Settle down you two," he whispered, smiling sheepishly as he attracted a few odd stares from fellow pedestrians. "Pets huh?"
The ringing stopped abruptly and he heard an annoyed tone from the speaker, "What do you want?"
"Hey, Becker." Connor injected a cheerful tone in his voice, already suspecting what the answer would be, but hoping for the best anyway. "How much would I owe you for a room for the night?"
He heard a snort from the phone. "There's not enough money in the world for that to happen."
"Right," Connor shifted his holdall again, striving for a more comfortable position. His shoulder was already sore from the weight, his hand was cramping around the handle of the carrier, and his chest was sore from where he had been flung against the dashboard earlier in the day. What with the headache and the being homeless on top, it was turning out to be an awful day. All he could think of now was reaching the ARC and stretching out on the couch in the Recreation Room and sleeping. "Thanks for the help, man, really appreciate it." He hung up. At least it wasn't raining.
Twenty minutes later he really regretted that thought as the first drops struck the pavement around him, slowly at first but quickly gathering pace. "Fantastic." He lowered his head against the quickening downpour, making sure that Sid and Nancy's cage was sheltered from the rain, and trudged on, hoping that he'd get to the ARC before morning.