Characters/Pairing: Connor, Abby, Becker, Danny, Lester, Sarah (possible Abby/Connor later on)
Genre: Angst, hurt/comfort, violence.
Summary: The team get injured during a mission gone wrong, but Connor comes out of it with unforeseen side-effects.
Disclaimer: Primeval and it's characters belong to Impossible Pictures, no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Huge thanks to Alyse, for the beta. :- )
The darkness was everywhere, enveloping the room like a shroud. The air was so thick that you could almost reach out and touch it and it took a few moments for it to register in Connor's brain that the black shroud was actually smoke. He choked and gagged on fumes as he pushed himself to his knees, remembering seeing something on TV once about having to stay low during a fire.
Crawling along the floor, he tried desperately to recall what had happened - why he'd found himself in this situation - but his mind drew a blank. One thing he did know from his scrabbling around was that he wasn't any place familiar.
"Abby," he croaked, the effort of speech causing him to inhale more smoke. "Sarah, Danny, anyone?"
There was no response and Connor wasn't sure whether that was a good sign or a bad one. He felt around a bit more and it wasn't long before his hands came into contact with something soft and human-shaped. Whoever it was felt wet and sticky and when he brought his hands away, they were covered in blood. He fell back in shock, gasping for breath as bad memories assailed him from the last time he was in such a situation.
"Crap!" he cursed as he steeled himself to inspect the person more thoroughly.
As he squinted through the darkness and felt the face, it was clear that this person was male and also, as he checked his neck for a pulse, he was dead. Connor shuddered and pulled his hands away as though burned, desperately wiping the blood on his jeans.
He crawled on, searching for any of his team mates - or maybe an exit - and it wasn't long before he came across another body. This one was cold to the touch and it caused Connor to take deep lung-full's of thick, poisonous air. He coughed and spluttered, feeling his head spin from lack of oxygen; he realised that he'd have to get out of here quickly or it wouldn't be long before his fate matched that of the men he had found.
"Can anybody hear me?" he called out.
Connor noticed that his breathing was becoming a lot more laboured now - his chest felt tight and his lungs sounded crackly with every gasp.
"Got to get out of here," he mumbled to himself.
He'd not yet come across any fire, and he felt no intense heat. Connor began to wonder what it was that was causing this awful smog as he continued his journey along the soot covered floor. A sudden stabbing pain ripped through his left hand as it came into contact with something sharp and he cried out, lifting it carefully to inspect his injury. Warm liquid began to run down his arm and as he brought his hand closer, he saw a deep red gash half the length of his palm.
Connor's eyes went wide, stars appearing in front of them as he fought for consciousness. He'd never been good with blood - especially his own. Survival mode eventually kicked in and he pulled off his shirt, tearing a strip from it and wrapping it tightly around his hand. He had to keep going, had to find his friends and get the hell out of here - wherever 'here' was. It hurt to crawl now and he had to bring his injured hand up a few times to rest it. The extra strain began to show in his other limbs and they ached terribly.
There was a scuffling sound somewhere to his right and then a familiar voice called out.
"Abby, Connor, where are you?"
Oh, it was Becker, thank God! Connor pushed himself to his feet in his rush for safety - immediately regretting it when the thicker air hit him like a brick wall, causing him to sway and stumble forward. He tripped over something, falling face down, and screamed as he was met with the cold, dead eyes of one of Becker's men. His stare settled on the horrific gunshot wound to the soldier's head and he scrabbled about, trying desperately to get away and landing hard on his backside. He felt the bile rise to his throat as he emptied the contents of his stomach.
Becker finally reached his side, inspecting him for injuries and asking him questions - none of which Connor could make any sense of. Becker's mouth was moving, and sound was coming out, but all Connor could concentrate on was the blood: the blood; the death, and the carnage all around them.
"Connor!" Becker said sharply, snapping his fingers in front of his friend's face. "Come on, talk to me."
"Where . . . Where are the others?" he managed.
"Danny was already out when it blew, I managed to get Sarah out. Where's Abby?"
"Abby? I . . . "
Connor continued to stare blankly; the icy stares of the dead men etched into his mind.
"Come on, Connor, focus. You and Abby were together when the lab exploded."
"Exploded?" he repeated.
Flashbacks assailed him, of a smoke filled ARC, of fire and twisted metal, of Cutter . . .
Becker tried a slightly different tactic.
"Which direction did you come from?"
Connor blinked hard several times, clearing his dry throat.
"I . . ." He didn't finish, but pointed directly behind him.
Some of the smoke had cleared and the shadows of fallen men could be made out; Connor whimpered at the thought of so many lives lost.
"Come on, let's get you out of here," Becker said, hauling him to his feet.
"But what about Abby? We can't just leave her here."
He felt panic rise within him. He'd been focused solely on survival before but now he had Becker by his side, now he knew for certain that Abby wasn't safe, he felt sick again.
"I'll come back for her," Becker promised. "We need to get you out first, Connor - you're ready to keel over."
"No! Not without Abby!"
He fought against Becker, but both his weakness due to smoke inhalation, and the fact that Becker was physically stronger made it an unfair match. In the end, he slumped against his friend, allowing Becker to bear most of his weight as they made their way to the exit.
When they finally reached the fresh, cold air outside, Connor took deep breaths, filling his lungs. The sudden rush of oxygen made his head spin and he fell to his knees with a thud. Paramedics rushed forwards and took over from Becker, but Connor managed to grab his arm and pull him towards his face.
He saw Becker nod and run back in the direction of the smoking building. Connor stared at the large brick warehouse as the paramedics tended his wounds and gave him oxygen. Smoke filtered out through every window and door, and firemen were dousing every point of entry with some sort of foam. He couldn't remember entering the building at all and it seemed that the more time passed, the deeper his memories faded into the background. Connor finally allowed himself to relax; stars appeared in front of his eyes, and he closed them tight, letting the darkness take him over again.
It was warm - almost too warm - and Connor pushed at the scratchy sheets that covered him as he opened his eyes. The lights were bright, and he had to blink several times before he became accustomed to them. He looked around, taking in his surroundings; he was in a hospital bed it seemed. Everything was white or grey, and there was the strong odour of disinfectant in the room. Then he noticed something else - or rather - someone else. A woman was curled up asleep on a chair in the corner of the room. She had long dark hair and looked incredibly dirty. Connor wondered what on earth could have happened to him - to them - to have covered her in so much soot and ash.
A sudden wave of fear washed over him, and he felt sick. He couldn't explain it, didn't know why he was feeling this way. He took deep breaths, telling himself that it was going to be ok, but he had the distinct feeling that everything wasn't ok - that something was terribly wrong. He felt as though he'd forgotten something - let someone down. Connor leant over the bed just in time to empty the contents of his stomach onto the floor. Luckily, it seemed that he hadn't eaten for a while, and he reached over to the bedside cabinet with a shaky hand for the cup of water that sat there.
He heard a noise from behind him and turned to see the woman stirring from her nap.
He didn't reply - couldn't reply. His throat felt dry and sore and his heart pounded in his ears. When he finally did open his mouth, no sound came out and he slumped back onto the bed feeling exhausted, confused, and utterly miserable.
"Oh, you've been sick. Don't worry, I'll call the nurse to tell her you're awake, and then I'll get this cleaned up."
She disappeared into the corridor, and Connor found himself panicking at the thought of being left alone. He wanted the woman to come back again and talk to him soothingly like she had a moment ago. His breaths became more ragged, and he worked himself up to such a state that by the time the woman returned with a nurse in tow, he was hyperventilating.
"Connor, it's ok, breathe for me," the nurse said gently.
The dark haired woman took his hand and he immediately began to calm - his breathing slowly returning to normal.
"It's ok now, Conn, you're ok," she soothed. "You had us worried there for a second." She smiled warmly at him, and stroked his face.
Connor closed his eyes and relaxed into the pillow, letting sleep overtake him.
In his dreams, Connor could see guns - lots of guns. Men in uniforms were firing them, and people were being flung about as they were hit with flying bullets. He cried out as he felt one hit his arm, and looked down to see that, luckily, it had just grazed the skin there. Then a woman's voice called out his name from behind him - a petite blonde. She had blood oozing from a wound in her left shoulder, and her eyes went wide as she fell to the ground. He heard a loud crack, followed by a wave of hot air, which knocked him from his feet. Then the world went black.
Connor sat bolt upright on the bed, a strangled cry escaping his lips. The memory of his dream was physically painful, but it soon ebbed away into nothingness as he brought his breathing back under control. He found himself looking around for the kind woman from earlier, but she was gone. Instead, there was a tall man standing in the corner. He was immaculately dressed, in black trousers, and a grey shirt. He was clean-shaven, and his hair was slicked back into a no-nonsense style. Unlike the woman from before, his face was un-readable; no smile or look of concern. Connor found himself feeling ever-so-slightly afraid of him.
"You alright, Temple?" he asked.
Was he alright? He couldn't answer that question; he had no idea whether he was ok or not ok. Was he supposed to know who this man was? Was he supposed to know who the woman from earlier was? All he knew was that they both seemed familiar somehow, and despite the slight fear he felt of the man, he also felt strangely soothed by his presence.
Connor cleared his throat and tried to speak, but still no sound came out. He clenched his fists in frustration and thumped the bed.
"Easy," the man said, walking over to him. "You've been through a lot. The doctor said that inhaling all that smoke damaged your throat and lungs. Might be a while before we get to hear your wonderful techno-babble again." His lips finally curled into a smile.
Connor detected a hint of sarcasm, and frowned. He really was confused, and it scared the hell out of him. He found himself wondering where his mum was. Surely she should have been here by now. She'd be worried sick about him. He hated worrying his mum; she'd been through enough in her life without having to come and visit him in hospital because he'd somehow managed to get himself into trouble. Every muscle and bone in his body ached and he felt tired, despite knowing that he must have slept for most of the day. He closed his eyes, praying that his nightmares wouldn't return as he drifted off to sleep.
When Connor woke again, he was alone. The room was dark, and he felt around for the buzzer he knew had been by his bedside earlier. He pushed it several times, trying not to let his new found fear of the dark get the better of him, and taking deep breaths to calm his nerves.
Eventually, a male nurse came in, switching on the light and walking over to Connor.
"Is everything alright, Mr Temple?" he asked.
Connor opened his mouth to reply, and this time, he managed it.
"Dark," he said, his voice sounding rough and strained. "It was too dark."
"Ah, I see." The nurse pulled a blood-pressure monitor from a high shelf and rolled up Connor's sleeve before wrapping it around his upper arm. "How are you feeling?"
"Sore," he croaked.
The man nodded and pressed a button, the monitor whirring as the band around his arm inflated. Connor winced as the pressure increased, pinching his skin.
"Hmm, it's a little on the high side, but nothing to worry about. Probably just got yourself all worked up."
Connor liked hearing himself speak again, even if it did hurt to do so. Now he could communicate, ask what the hell was going on and why he was in the hospital.
"Your friend's just outside, I'll go tell him you're awake, shall I?"
"Yes. A Mr Quinn, I believe."
The nurse left him alone and a few seconds later, a tall, older looking man walked in. To Connor, he seemed almost scarier than his last visitor. There was a distinct aura of authority about him, and he had a slight swagger in his step.
"Mr Quinn?" Connor asked.
The man laughed, a deep, earthy chuckle as he walked over and patted Connor on the shoulder.
"Good one, Connor."
"Good one what?" Connor frowned.
"Connor, what are you going on about?"
Connor took a deep breath. Here was where he would finally be able to say it, voice his concerns out loud, and ask the questions he'd been longing to know the answer to.
"Am I supposed to know who you are?"
The other man looked shocked, just for a second. Then he shook his head, and smirked.
"C'mon mate, stop mucking about."
"I'm not. I don't . . . I don't know who you are - who any of you are. I'd like you to call my mum, please."