The Five Times Abby Maitland Kissed Connor Temple
(and the one time he kissed her.)
Both of them had been scared out of their minds that day. She'd almost lost Jack because of her own stupid error. If she'd just been more careful with where she put her things, he wouldn't have found the anomaly in the first place. There'd have been no trip to the future, no danger, no fear.
They'd almost lost Becker. They'd thought that they had lost Becker. For awhile, they'd been sure of that – that Becker had given them his life, to save Jack's. Time had stopped. They'd lost too many. It was Becker's job – protect his life with their own, but somehow they'd never expected it. And even in coming back, he'd saved their lives again.
They'd thought that they'd lost Danny, too, when the futuristic evolutionary excuse for a human had attacked him. The ex-cop had survived that, but they'd feared it again when he'd blown up the area Jack had been in only moments before. He'd done it to stop the creatures. Abby, Connor, and Jack had run, but they weren't at all sure he was following. He had been. Thank God. They couldn't lose another.
And Connor – he'd thought that he'd lost her. It wasn't the first time he'd feared it had happened, and he knew deep in his stomach that it wouldn't be the last, but it always gave him pause. Was this all worth it, if she ended up dead? No. And he couldn't protect her, couldn't drag her away, because he wasn't that to her. He didn't have that right to ask her to run away from this nightmarish fantasy of a dream job. Seeing her so close to that creature's grasp had nearly stopped his heart.
But there'd been another type of loss that had hurt him, perhaps even deeper. There had been absolute hate in Abby Maitland's eyes when she'd said he hoped her brother would die. The brother he'd protected from her scorn, so she could see him as she always had. He knew how much she loved him. He was her brother, her only family. Connor had gotten Rex back, and let it be. It had been worth it just to see her smile. She hadn't needed to know it was him, even if he'd been kicked from the flat.
Even if he got yelled at.
And he'd do it all again.
He hadn't been asking for gratitude, but he got it anyway. Connor Temple hadn't been paying attention at first, when she stopped on the stairs and watched him until he questioned her. He hadn't understood what she was staring at him for.
She had told him, why she was staring, that she knew what he'd done – but he still didn't think of it as much. It was just what he'd always done. What he'd always do. Nothing was different about this day than any other, except in Abby's eyes. He'd done something this time to change it.
Or maybe it was a culmination of all the little things, all the ways she'd noticed him over the years and catalogued it in her mind until she was sure they were safe to look at, until she was sure he wouldn't leave her like all the men that she'd ever known, until she was sure that he wouldn't hurt her. Like Stephen had. Like her father had.
Their first kiss was an affirmation. A test of waters that both knew had been waded in quite some time ago without a kiss, a subconscious crossing of boundaries that switched the entire nature of the thing from platonic to not. And the not?
It felt good. To her. To him. She did the leaving because she couldn't stand to watch him walk away first, a secret smile on tingling lips at the hopeful, dazed expression left on his face.
Their first had been good, even if both feared there'd be no second.
Their second was in the past.
Not their past, but the past, millions of years ago among the creatures they studied and contained for a living. They would come to know it's every move, climate, nook and cranny in the months that followed, but in those first few days, when Connor couldn't walk and any thought of going to find Danny had been an impossibility, they'd sat in the tree and watched the creatures of the late cretaceous era in their own element.
It was in those early days, when they were worried and in need of something removed and outside of them, something that would continue without them, that they had watched the dinosaurs the most.
They were in need of comfort, too. Everything was surreal, so much different from seeing a dinosaur walking down the street in Central London. They'd become used to that. For them, that was real. Despite everything they'd seen and everything they knew, this wasn't. They were viewing the past, treading lightly so as not to change it, and maybe it was the sheer realness of it all that made it so unreal. Everything was removed from them, and yet they were such a part of it now. Just passing through, they reminded themselves. We're just passing through.
It was this thought that had initiated the kiss. With a group of herbivores below them, and more trees above, she leaned over the bruised, aching Connor, cupped his cheek with her hand, and kissed him.
It was shorter than the first, quick, even – just passing through, no impact on the future. Abby didn't even give him the chance to return it, just broke away and returned to leaning against the tree trunk she'd been using as support, high up in the branches.
Highly aware that she was being looked at as if she'd sprouted extra limbs or started eating tree bark, she asked, "How's the ankle?"
Their third kiss was stolen.
She hadn't been able to protect him this time. For all of her kickboxing, all of her experience, she hadn't been able. The rules were different here. They weren't the predators anymore, they were the prey. How could they protect themselves when everything was different?
The raptor had come out of nowhere. It appeared behind Connor simply as if it had been created in that moment, just to stand there. There hadn't been time for her to scream at Connor to move. She'd seen it all - the vicious way the creature had grabbed him from behind, the sound of him hitting the ground with a crack and a thud, and the scream she hadn't realized was her own until it burned in her throat.
For those seconds, everything seemed to move in slow motion, from the raptor appearing behind Connor to it knocking him to the ground. During it all, she couldn't move. She was frozen to the spot, powerless and afraid and unable to do a single thing. Just like she'd been with her father, whenever he'd hurt Jack. Before she'd found the courage to stand up to him. She'd paid for that. Maybe she'd pay for it now. She didn't care.
Abby had launched herself without another thought, a battle cry torn from her lips. She'd grabbed the closest, heaviest thing she could possibly find - some sort of log, though she didn't feel the weight. All that she could see was Connor's still form. It wasn't watching her. It was watching Connor, and it was moving closer.
And he wasn't moving at all.
She'd crashed the log into the raptor's head, all her strength behind that simple movement. Again, and again, until the beast had simply lain there, inanimate. Dead. She hadn't bothered going back to check for a pulse. Its eyes were open and glassy.
"Connor," She'd said, crouching down beside him. Though she knew she shouldn't, she turned him over so he wasn't lying on his stomach. Normally she'd have waited for medical assistance. There would be no medical assistance today. There were no ambulances in this era. Fear threaded its way through her stomach. She'd wiped away some of the blood on his forehead, dusted away wet leaves that clung to his face.
Abby had quietly run her fingers through his hair. It was longer than it had been three months ago. Three months, and they hadn't found Danny, or the anomaly. Three months of barely surviving in an era not meant for humans. "You can't do this to me, Conn." She'd moved her fingers across his scalp. His shirt had been cut in the back by the raptor. "I can't lose you." The words were a whispered confession. Three months of not letting the other one out of their sight. They were closer, now. How could they not be?
Connor Temple's eyelids had flickered, and she'd choked back a relieved sob. "You scared me," She'd stuttered, and he'd replied with a bewildered, "Your fingers are in me hair."
He was asleep now, after hours of trying to find a way to lie down carefully. He'd ended up on his back, resting his cheek against her backpack. Abby had bandaged him as carefully as she could, hushing him and apologizing in the same breath. Three cracked ribs - he'd blushed red when she'd run her fingers over his ribcage, and she'd chuckled - and long gashes from his shoulder to his hip. She'd bandaged those, covered him with her jacket, and told him to sleep. Their cave's entrance was just small enough. No raptors could get in. They'd had to crawl in themselves.
She leaned her head against the wall of the cave, sitting not more than an inch from Connor. "I thought you were dead," She whispered accusingly. Her words fell on deaf ears, but that was the only way she'd speak them. "You can't do that to me, Con." She chanced a look at his bruised face. He'd have looked peaceful if not for those bruises, if not for the way his mouth twitched downwards in pain every few seconds. "Oh Connor," She admonished in a breath, leaning over to brush away hairs that clung to his forehead with dirt and dried blood.
His lips twitched downwards in that way he had of trying not to show he was hurt. Even in sleep.
Her actions were disconnected from her mind. Abby's hand moved to cradle the left side of his face, her own eyes closing as she moved to press her lips to his for the third time, the second time in the past. It felt natural, like time had been waiting for them to catch up, and now that they had things would be alright. It wasn't as long as their first. He wasn't even conscious, and it felt as if she were stealing.
But as she leaned back against the wall, ready to take the watch for the night, they were both smiling.
Their fourth kiss was back in their own world. Five months, two weeks, and three days. That was how long they'd survived among the dinosaurs. They'd been what had come through the anomaly there, not the dinosaurs. The irony of it wasn't lost on either of them. Could they ever view anomalies the same way again? Neither was too sure that they could.
Connor, Abby, and Danny had crashed through the anomaly early that morning, where they had entered all those months ago. In the end, it had been Helen that had saved them. She must have dropped her anomaly device. Abby had found it in a pterodactyl's nest, among the creature's young. No wonder it had taken them so long to find it.
It had been by chance that they'd found the correct anomaly. Nothing had pointed them towards that one. It had simply been the one they'd gone through. What they'd seen there, though ... their leader was half-dead, dehydrated and starving. He hadn't had someone else to lean on, like they'd had. It had been all up to him to find his own food, his own water. He'd been injured when they'd found him - broken ankle, like Connor had had when he'd fallen out of a tree. Unlike Connor, Danny hadn't had Abby. The broken ankle meant he'd starved half to death. He wouldn't have survived much longer.
There hadn't been any time to waste with greetings and things. They'd found the future anomaly, and they'd gone through it, carrying a protesting Danny between them.
Despite it all, each knew the other was grinning when they'd crashed through that anomaly into the warehouse.
"Relax, Connor." Abby had turned her head to look at the flinching man. "It's an IV needle, not a fire poker." Despite the teasing, she'd hated to see him as he was. Back in the past, she hadn't noticed. But here, among healthy people, his condition was easy to see. The doctor - a pretty looking woman that Abby had immediately resented - had asked him to remove his shirt, and his ribs seemed to protrude painfully.
She had been oblivious to her own condition, which was much of the same.
"Oi!" Connor had glared at the doctor, and Abby had thought she'd felt some forbidden type of elation that he wasn't looking at her in an entirely different way. The woman had touched his sore ribs, and he was giving her an attempt at a dangerous glare. "Watch where you're sticking your fingers, yeah?"
Abby had yawned, exhaustion sinking in around the edges. "Leave her be, Connor. She's doing her job." She'd sunk down on her hospital bed, curled around a pillow. It was strange. She thought she'd missed beds and pillows. Only, she then realized she'd missed curling up next to Connor, huddled for warmth.
"Easy for you to say. You're done already." He'd retaliated, and she'd smiled against the pillow. They'd been allowed a joint hospital room, against hospital regulations. Good. She couldn't have stood it, otherwise. The lights were too bright and the noises were too loud. It smelled like antiseptic material. Lester had been the one to pull the strings for them. He hadn't even been able to hide it - he was happy they were back. When she had the energy, Abby would tease him on it. And perhaps buy him a tie.
Abby had turned on her side when he wasn't looking. Connor was grimacing at the doctor, but she'd known he was just as relieved as she was. They were back. Food. Beds. Warmth. Becker - stoic, action man Becker - had pulled Abby into a hug and laughed. Their group was whole again, after nearly half a year.
"Connor," she'd said once the doctor had left and the lights were out. Abby had been able to hear Becker's footsteps outside their door. She'd told him they didn't need it, but Becker wasn't in the mood to listen. There'd been nothing she could say to change his mind, but despite her asking Lester about it, he hadn't asked the soldier to stay. He'd waited for them for over five months. Letting him pace outside their hospital room door was the very least she could do. "Do you think Danny'll be alright?"
She'd listened for a moment. His breathing hadn't slow been enough for him to be asleep. "Are you alright?"
There'd been a rustle, and in the dim light she'd seen Connor looking at her. "Danny is Danny." He'd promised, and she'd nodded. "He'll pull through."
Abby had let go of a sigh. "You're right, of course." She hadn't been able to get the image of a skinny, unconscious, dying Danny Quinn from her mind. Abby had blinked, and her eyes had gone to the clock. 2:45 AM. The white haired woman hugged the pillow closer, and squeezed her eyes shut. No such luck. 3:03 AM. When had it gotten so late?
Oh, sod it. She'd grabbed the pole of her IV and tugged it with her, shuffling her bare feet along the cold floor. It'd almost come as a surprise to her that there were no branches or leaves or dirt for her feet to get caught on.
"Abby? What're you doing?"
"Shift over," She'd told him, and crawled in carefully underneath the covers. Relief had filled her chest instantly, and she'd curled herself carefully against his side, not wanting to jostle him. "I couldn't sleep." Abby had tilted her head upwards, blue eyes searching his face. "You don't mind, do you?"
He'd laughed softly, and then winced. "No. I don't mind."
Another impulse, it had never been on anything other than an impulse. Abby had touched his cheek gently, pulling his face towards her. He'd reacted with little resistance. She been close enough to feel the warmth of his skin, the way his breathing picked up and then stopped as she'd pressed her lips to his. It hadn't taken as long for him to kiss back this time, for one of his hands to cradle the back of her head, for her fingers to knot in his hair.
She'd slept pressed against him, like every other night for the past five months.
Only this time, it had been an entirely different type of necessity.
Their fifth kiss had been normal.
It had been the start of something and the end of something all at once, both of those things wrapped into one. They'd been shopping, of all things. That was what made it normal, almost. Except, nothing with them had ever been normal. They had been going shopping because if five months of not being in the present timeline didn't make everything in your kitchen spoiled, Abby didn't know what did.
They'd been in the frozen food aisle. She'd have thought that, coming back into a place where there were normal types of food and not bloody acorns to eat, she'd have wanted gourmet food.
But really, she'd found, she was tired of having to cook everything.
They'd decided on frozen food. At least for the time being, until one or both of them decided they wanted something else.
Abby had thought it might have something to do with just being so content in being back that it hadn't really mattered what they were eating. When they'd been in the past, both of them had talked about the things they'd missed most.
But it had been an unspoken rule that you didn't speak about the people, because that made things hopeless. Both of them had figured that speaking about the people they'd left behind would be the most painful. Conversations about people had come up in short bursts of desperation. In a way, they'd been saving those memories.
Making them more real.
But they'd found that, coming back, the things they'd talked about missing most hadn't really mattered. It had never really been about pizza or tea or Doctor Who. What it had been about, really, were the people – Becker and Danny and Lester and Rex and Sid and Nancy, because after all the time they'd been gone those three counted as people now, too.
It had been two weeks. Connor had been up and walking, if not gingerly with the cracked ribs that were still healing.
She'd been doing alright. But then again, she'd never really been worried about herself, cretaceous or otherwise.
It had been Danny they'd been worrying about the most that day. It had been the thought of Danny, still slipping in and out of consciousness after two weeks and dangerously underweight, that had kept Abigail Maitland and Connor Temple lying awake at night.
If he didn't survive, they knew something of themselves had been left in the cretaceous, too. They'd started this out together.
They would end it together, too. It wasn't really over if Danny didn't …
Abby had shaken her head.
"You don't want the frozen pizza, then?" Connor had asked, and it had taken a second for Abby to realize she'd actually been shaking her head and sort of answering his question to her. He'd been pushing the cart and she'd been following behind, quiet and thoughtful.
"No, Connor. I mean, yes. The pizza's fine."
He'd put the pizza back, anyway, because he'd turned to her instead.
"What about the …" She'd looked through the aisles for something suitable to say, just so he didn't see her eyes filling with tears. In the past few months, he'd gained the ability to see right through her. Really, she'd have expected nothing less. It would be impossible not to, after spending five months together.
But that hadn't meant she had to like it.
"We could leave." He'd said. "We could go to the hospital and …"
He'd trailed off at the look in her eyes.
"We need to finish this."
Because, she'd thought, what if Danny never woke up? Would they have to stay like this, still sort of stuck in the past and not moving forwards or backwards? They had to move on.
A sound had permeated the resulting silence between them.
"Connor," She'd said, nodding to his pocket. "Your mobile's ringing."
He'd shaken out of the way he was staring at her and reached into his pocket, pulling out the mobile phone.
"It's Becker." He'd said, holding out the phone between them. She'd leaned close, holding her breath. Neither of them had been back on duty yet, but he'd called every day so far with a play-by-play of anomalies.
"You have both of us, Becker."
Only, it hadn't been Becker. The voice that had answered them on the other end of the line had put both of their hearts at double speed.
"And what am I, chopped liver?"
The voice had been hoarse and just barely a whisper, but it was unmistakable.
Abby had choked back a cry and a laugh in the same second, before throwing her arms around Connor's neck and letting out a cry of joy. He'd been smiling and she'd been laughing, and he'd finally started laughing, too.
"We'll be right there." She'd never been sure which of them had said the words, really, only that they'd been spoken. Connor had snapped the phone shut, and half aware of what she was doing, she'd pulled this head close and kissed him on the lips.
Maybe it had been because she'd been so completely, blissfully, happy.
Maybe it had been because they were finally back.
Maybe it had been because the ordeal was finally done.
Or maybe – and she's pretty sure of this one – it had been because she loved him.
It's a Thursday. Abby is working in the kitchen, because they've finally grown tired of frozen foods after a mere three weeks of them. Danny's sitting on their couch and Becker is in their kitchen, and Lester is bringing wine over, too. Connor is sitting on the couch with Danny and they're discussing Doctor Who, and Becker is handing Abby ingredients for the pasta she's making.
Connor walks into the kitchen and leans against the counter. Abby raises her eyebrows and tells him not to burn himself on the pan because she really doesn't want to have to bring him to the hospital today.
Becker laughs, and Abby tells him that it's more likely than he thinks. Connor's still standing at the edge of the counter, shifting back and forth.
From the couch, Danny shouts, "Get it over with already, mate."
And he leans over, and kisses her, and Becker is pushing back the pan of sauce so it doesn't spill, unsuccessfully trying to hide his smile. Danny's all but clapping and complaining about how he doesn't have his camera, and Abby flips him off.
This one is anything but on impulse.
And it feels like the start of something.
For once, it's good.
And it's normal.
At least, it's normal for them.
I hope you've enjoyed this one. The process of writing it has been very much enjoyable, if not one of the longest oneshots I've ever written, and also the most amount of time I've ever devoted to one. If you've enjoyed your little adventure here - or even if you haven't - please click that little button and review, and make this poor author's day?