A/N: As with Please, Please Don't Leave Me, this has spoilers for all of series 3, so if you haven't seen it and you don't want the ending spoiled for you, don't read this.
On the other hand, if you are reading this you've probably already read Please, Please Don't Leave Me (if you haven't, go and do so now, because this will completely confuse you otherwise!) and therefore are already fully aware of this.
Hope you enjoy it. Do let me know what you think. I'm the worlds greatest cynic and I'm writing something that's actually out-and-out romance, not a rom-com, for once, so you see that tiny dot away over there on the horizon? Yep, that's my comfort zone for writing. Way out of it now. All feedback much appreciated!
Sequel to Please, Please Don't Leave Me
It took Abby a week before she could prise Connor away from Tom's room in the medical wing and persuade him to come back to the flat. It wasn't worry for Tom: the baby boy was fit and healthy, just quarantined until they could make sure this immune system hadn't been compromised by his early life in the Cretaceous. It was the fact he hadn't spoken to anyone other than Lester and a few of the medical staff.
Every day, Abby had gone down there to visit her baby and feed him. The medical staff had set up a room just a few doors down with a full sized hospital bed for her to sleep on. She hadn't been back to the flat. Sarah had assured her that her pets were all being well looked after. They didn't need her presence. Tom did. That part of her life was simple. If only she could say the same for the rest of it.
Connor had refused to go home, either to her flat or to Lester's. The nursing staff saw no reason for him to have a room made up in the medical wing. They were trying to persuade him to go home too. Instead, he had stayed. Whenever Abby went to Tom's room, Connor was there, sitting, sleeping or eating in the armchair by the incubator. He never spoke to her, even when she tried to speak to him. He listened to her, at least for a while, but spent most of his time sitting staring at the tiny life in the incubator, deep in thought.
Abby hated it when he was like this. She'd seen him go silent on her twice before: first when the original Tom died, then when Cutter passed away. He had come out of it eventually in both cases, but mostly because he had work to do. Now he had none. In the one month of this timeline that they had been gone, Lester had found a new computer expert and Sarah had taken over use of Connor's database of creatures. It wasn't like they were out of a job: Lester had said they were as much a part of the team as ever, they just had the luxury option of time off for a change now. Sometimes, time off wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Every day, after feeding Tom, she had tried to talk to him. She had started by pleading with him to talk to her, but that got her nowhere. Then she had tried reminding him of all the time they had spent together in the cave in the Cretaceous. That got closed eyes and a frown. She had moved on to the mundane minutiae of life in the ARC. That didn't get much of a reaction, but nothing at all was better than the look of intense pain that crossed his features every time she tried to talk about something more personal, so she stuck with it.
When the nursing staff told her that Tom was clear to go home and she could start packing up his things, she realised something more drastic had to be done. She must have spent half an hour at least standing outside the door to her son's room, trying to work out what she would say and do. In the end, none of it helped. All of her plans had gone flying out the window as soon she opened the door.
He had been standing there, not sitting in the chair as usual, by the incubator, watching Tom try and catch Connor's much larger hand with his two small, chubby ones. When the tiny fingers finally grabbed hold of something more solid than air, Abby saw a smile flit across Connor's face. She caught her breath, feeling tears threaten at her eyes. What had she done to deserve the love of this man? And how had she so callously managed to throw it away?
She crossed the room in seconds, grabbing his head with both hands and pulling his face down to hers to kiss him. At first he tried to pull away from her, but she wasn't letting go, not this time. If words didn't work, then maybe actions would. Eventually she felt his free arm slide around her waist and took a chance on deepening the kiss, letting one hand slide down to his chest while the other still tangled in his hair.
When they finally broke apart, both breathing heavily, she kept her fingers locked in his hair and his shirt, not wanting to let him slip away from her.
"I love you, Connor Temple," she whispered, her eyes closed and her forehead pressed against his. "Please, please don't leave me. Please come home."
So here they were.
Abby looked up at the various levels of the flat. Somehow, she had expected something to be different, but it was just the same. The only thing that had changed was her. A chirping echoed from the rafters above her and she looked up to see Rex swooping down towards them. The lizard landed on a nearby table and chirped an enthusiastic greeting, before turning its head on one side and scrutinising the bundle in Abby's arms with interest.
Abby cast a glance at Connor, setting up the second hand pram that they had been given by one of the medical staff at the ARC. In true Connor style, it took him three goes before he managed to secure the simple mechanism of the pram. If it had been more complicated, he'd have managed it in half the time! Abby watched as he placed the baby basket atop the pram mechanism and stood back, hands ready to catch it should it collapse. It didn't. He filled the basket with its mattress and blankets, easing the hood of the basket down and sucking a finger that had got trapped in the catch.
Abby bit her lip and tried not to giggle. They were still on such thin ice that she dreaded anything that might start showing the cracks. Instead, she walked over and placed Tom down in the blankets, trying not to look too much like she was getting ready to catch him should the extra weight cause the aged contraption to collapse. She was just letting out a long breath when Rex fluttered over and landed heavily on the side of the pram, hopping down into the basket and examining Tom more closely. Abby's controlled sigh came out as a gust of air and she watched the mechanism for any signs of movement. None. Good. She felt Connor come up beside her.
"How do we explain to him that he's not a toy?" Connor whispered in her ear.
"Rex or Tom?" Abby replied, watching the lizard duck to avoid Tom's hands.
"Well, both, I suppose," Connor chuckled.
Abby smiled. It was the first time she'd heard any sign of amusement in his voice since he had found out the truth about the identity of Tom's father. She leaned back into him and felt an arm snake round her waist. She wanted to turn round and bury herself in him, never let him go, but she forced herself not to. That would be too much, too soon. If this was going to work, she had to take a step back and let him take things at his own pace.
"I'd better start moving my stuff back up to my room," said Connor, pulling away from her.
Abby sighed and shivered, her back feeling cold now without him there. She hadn't really expected him to come back to her bed that very night, but it was still painful to face the reality of it. Apart from the week in the ARC medical wing, where she could kid herself that everything was normal and fine between them, this would be the first night they had spent apart in a whole year.
She glanced down at the baby basket, still resting securely on the pram mechanism. Both Tom and Rex were now peacefully sleeping, Rex curled up in the blankets by Tom's side. Abby smiled, fished around for a baby monitor in the bag of second hand accoutrements gathered from the ARC medical staff, and Lester. Placing one on the table by the pram, she clipped the other to her belt and headed up the stairs to find Connor. Maybe it wasn't the right time to talk things through, but she had to try. If he didn't want to talk about it, she'd give him space. If he did, on the other hand, she would have to be as brutally honest as she could be. There could be no more secrets between them. Not now.