Disclaimer: I do not own Primeval in any way, shape, or form. But I do own the Frisbee. :)
Author's Note: This is Part 2 of the Reality Check Series, but it can be read on it's own. After Abby and Connor got back they never real dealt with the issue of Sarah's death, so I decided to give Abby a chance to do that. Originally this was two separate one-shots, but I decided to combine them into one. Hence it being a little longer than my usual one-shots. Enjoy!
*****This fic is dedicated to Whirlwind421, GBx, Logan the Awesome, Cooper101, and phoebenpiper for reviewing "Reality Check". Thanks a million!*****
"He looks like a big dog," Sarah said, trying not to laugh.
The Dracorex came running back towards them, the Frisbee clutched tightly between his teeth. He slowed to a halt just before he ran them over.
"Good boy," Abby said, smiling. She took the Frisbee from the Dracorex and he backed up a bit, wagging his tail eagerly. Abby tossed the Frisbee across the large enclosure and the huge lizard took off after it.
"Does he have a name yet?" Sarah asked.
"No. If I name him, Lester might actually realize he's staying."
"Well I think he deserves a name," Sarah said. She took the Frisbee from the Dracorex and threw it. "How about... Draco?"
"Draco?" Abby asked. "Really?"
"It's short for Dracorex," Sarah said. Further along the enclosure the Dracorex leapt into the air and caught the Frisbee in his teeth.
"Does that make you a Malfoy fan?" Abby asked.
"It might," Sarah said vaguely.
Abby took the Frisbee from the Dracorex and threw it again. The creature ran after it looking for all the world like an oversized dog with scales.
"And here I was thinking you liked men with darker hair," Abby said, trying not to smile. Sarah made a face at her, and Abby burst out laughing.
"Becker and I are friends," Sarah said. "That's all."
"Sure, sure," Abby said, grinning.
Sarah opened her mouth to reply and was cut short by the alarm going off.
"Anomaly alert," Abby said. She turned and took the Frisbee from the Dracorex. "Sorry, mate. We'll have to finish this later."
She and Sarah ran to the door, ready to meet the newest threat.
X X X X X X X X X X
13 months later...
Abby shut the locker room door behind her and started into the hall, buttoning up the top button on her shirt. The team was going out to lunch in about fifteen minutes, and she had thought it wise to change clothes so she didn't smell like mammoth. Now she was headed to Lester's office. She had a few things she needed to ask him, and it looked like she might have just enough time before-
Abby turned to find Becker running down the hall after her. He slowed down as he reached her.
"Everything alright?" Abby asked.
"Yeah, everything's fine. I, uhm... There's a crew cleaning out some stuff downstairs, and..." He looked extremely uncomfortable. "After Sarah died, we boxed up most of her things. She didn't have any family left to claim it. All her work has been filed, but there's a box of her personal things that we just put downstairs. They were going to take it into storage, but I thought you might want to go through it first... I sent it over to the menagerie, in case there's anything you want. Let me know when you're finished and I'll have the rest moved."
"Thanks," Abby said softly. Becker nodded and headed back down the hall. Abby glanced at her watch. She still had fifteen minutes.
She turned around and headed to the menagerie.
X X X X X X X X X X
The box had been set on a table near the mammoth enclosure. "Sarah Page" had been scrawled across the side with a black marker. Abby hesitated, staring at the box. In the three weeks they had been back, she'd hardly had time to even process Sarah's death. There was always another anomaly, another crisis, another creature. And when she finally collapsed on her bed at night, she was far too tired. The changes in the ARC had made it a little easier to accept her absence, but now that she was staring at the box she found that there was quite a large hole in her chest.
It was time to let her go.
Abby went over to the table and took a deep breath before carefully opening the box. Folded up at the very top of the large box was Sarah's favorite tan jacket. There was a coffee stain on the end of the left sleeve that had never quite come out. Sid and Nancy had run between Sarah's legs when she was getting coffee one morning, and the mug's contents had gone everywhere. Some had gotten on the jacket, but most of it had gone all over Becker. Cutter and Abby had laughed so hard they almost cried. Abby smiled, remembering the shocked look on Becker's face and the horror written all over Sarah's. Jenny had joked to Sarah later that there were much easier ways of getting a man's attention. Sarah had just rolled her eyes.
Beneath the shirt was a hodgepodge of all things Sarah. It was as if someone had somehow managed to cram her entire life into one box. Her favorite coffee mug was there. There were a few of her Egyptology books, and an old notebook from a college archeology course. Most of the margins were full of sketches and doodles, the vast majority of them showing creative ways of killing her professor. Carefully preserved in a plastic baggy was a fragment of pottery that Sarah had dug up somewhere and secretly kept for herself. There was a small candle holder in the shape of Anubis, and a painting of a Chinese dragon that had hung on her wall.
"Abby? Are you coming? Everyone's waiting."
Abby turned around to see Jess standing in the doorway of the menagerie. Fifteen minutes had come and gone. She looked from Jess to the box, and then back again.
"Can I take a rain check?" Abby asked. Jess looked at the name on the box and nodded.
"Sure. Okay. Well... See you later."
As soon as the door shut Abby turned back to the box. She reached in and pulled out a clumsily-made flower pot painted a nice shade of red. Sarah's one and only attempt at pottery. It looked like a kindergartener's. A piece of laminated paper was unrolled to reveal a world map covered in large dots marking all the places Sarah had wanted to go. There were three matching journals chronicling Sarah's life from the beginning of college right up until the day before she died. All of the team members' phone numbers were written on the inside cover of the last one, along with Abby and Jenny's addresses. Her old scarf was also there: a nice blue-green one that Sarah had always admired but never actually found the time to wear. There was a small wooden box with a beautifully carved lid that held a few keepsakes from her dead parents. It also held one of Cutter's favorite pens and a letter Sarah had written to him after his death.
And then there was the camera. Aside from archaeology, Sarah's greatest passion had been photography. Her camera was a beautiful one that any photographer would have admired. The pictures that came out of it even more so. Sarah had been an incredible photographer. There was a thick album in the box along with a stack of pictures that had been taken off her walls and rubber-banded together. On the very top of the stack was a picture of them all at a restaurant. Jenny was at the head of the table, with Cutter, Lester, and Becker on one side and Sarah, Abby, and Connor on the other. It had been Jenny's birthday, and the dinner had been a surprise party. She had been trying to keep it quiet, and they had all pretended to have forgotten. All except for Sarah, who had talked Jenny into going out for dinner with her. When they finally arrived, the whole team was there. Sarah had handed a waiter her camera and they had all crammed down on one end of the table for a picture. Everyone was laughing and smiling. Even Lester looked optimistic. It had been one of the best evenings of the year. A week later to the day Cutter had been shot.
Abby began to flip through the album, looking at all the pictures. Sarah had often amused herself by taking pictures around the ARC. There was one of Becker with an expression on his face making it very clear that he had only let her take the picture because he knew she wouldn't leave him alone until he did. Another showed Abby and Jenny grinning as though Sarah had only just missed hearing the funniest joke in the world. In one Connor had looked up from the Anomaly Detector to find the camera in his face, and his eyes and mouth were wide open. It made Abby laugh. There were so many. Abby playing Frisbee with the Dracorex. Lester shouting orders, completely unaware that Cutter was making a face at him a few steps back. Jenny showing off a new dress. Sid and Nancy curled up in the bottom of a box they had chewed their way into. Danny with Rex on his shoulder. Jenny and Cutter smiling at some secret joke, their hands on the table just barely touching. Sarah had captured everything. People, creatures, events. Some of the pictures were more artistic, and others were intended to capture a specific moment. New Year's Eve was there. Someone had managed to cram a party hat onto Lester's head, and he was glaring at the camera while Abby and Connor blew plastic horns behind him. The Christmas party was chronicled in perfect detail, including a picture of Becker sitting on the couch with a shiny red bow in his hair and his hands holding up a pair of pink fluffy slippers he had ended up with during the game. Beside him, Jenny looked about to die laughing. Mistletoe had been hung over the door, and Sarah had gotten a shot of Abby kissing a very red Cutter on the cheek. There was also a hilarious trick shot of Rex back at the ARC with his mouth open. Lester was standing across the room, and the camera angle made it look as if Rex was biting his head off.
The album was huge, but Abby made sure to look at every picture. This she would have to take home. It was too beautiful not too. Everything was there, right up until the day Abby, Connor, and Danny had disappeared. There were no pictures from the month between that day and the day Sarah had died. It seemed she had thrown herself into her research, trying to find a way to bring them back. The last picture in the album was of them all the day before it happened. For some reason Sarah had insisted on a picture. Danny was standing in the middle with one arm around Abby, and one around Sarah. Connor and Becker were on either side of them. Lester had been the one taking it. He had said something just before that they all found funny, because they were all laughing. Abby couldn't quite remember what he had said, but she did remember that he had been completely unable to fathom why they found it so amusing, which had only made them laugh harder.
Abby felt tears welling in her eyes. That was probably the last picture ever taken of Sarah Page, and it might turn out to be the last of Danny Quinn. First Stephen, then Cutter, then Jenny, and now Sarah and maybe even Danny...
A piece of paper tucked behind the picture caught her eye, and she pulled it out. It was a note written in Sarah's handwriting.
Dear Abby, Connor, and Danny:
We haven't given up on you yet. Lester and Becker are doing everything they can. I've been studying Helen's journal, and I think I've figured out what she wanted. To destroy humanity. But we're still here, so I guess that means you've stopped her. Tomorrow Becker and I are going to go back through the future anomaly and try one more time to find your trail. We found a machine that I think may be supposed to control anomalies somehow. It won't work right now, but I think I've finally figured out how to fix it. If I'm right, then we should see you again soon. Hang on. We're coming, I promise. I love you all.
It was dated the day before she died.
Abby stared at the note as the pieces began to fall in to place. Sarah and Becker had gone to the future to try and find them, and instead the creatures had killed her. She had died trying to bring them home.
Trying to hold back her tears, Abby turned back to the box. Something at the very bottom caught her eye. She reached in to the box and pulled it out, carefully not to disturb the rest of the things still in the box. She knew what it was the moment she touched it, but it wasn't until she pulled it out and saw it that a small tear ran down her cheek.
It was the Frisbee.
They had played Frisbee with the Dracorex for the final time the morning before their disappearance. She had barely talked to Sarah after that. They had gotten back late that night, and then between the anomaly and the crisis with Helen there simply hadn't been time. She and Connor and Danny had charged through the future anomaly with guns blazing, completely focused in stopping Helen. It had never even occurred to Abby that it might be last time she saw the others, that now was the moment to tell them how much she cared, to say good-bye, just in case. If she had known...
Tears began to run down Abby's face. Connor was pretty much her best friend, but Sarah had been like her sister. They had told each other everything. They had been able to hold entire conversations just by looking at each other. They had joked and talked and shared. Sarah had been the only other person who took any interest in the Dracorex. Lester had called them "partners in crime". And now Sarah was gone.
Abby didn't even try to stop the tears. She picked up Sarah's jacket and pressed it to her face. Even after a year in a box, it still smelled like Sarah. Abby buried her face in it as the tears ran down her face.
The menagerie door swung open, and Abby jerked her head up. Jess was standing there, holding a paper bag and a cup.
"Abby? I brought you some lunch..." Jess trailed off, her cheeriness dying as she saw the tears on Abby's face. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah," Abby said, quickly wiping at her face. "I'm fine. Uhm... Thanks for bringing me lunch."
"Are you sure you're alright?" Jess said, setting the bag and cup on the table. Abby nodded and looked away. Jess paused a moment, obviously unsure of what to say. Finally she settled for, "I'm sorry."
Abby nodded and wiped her cheek.
"I read her file," Jess said a bit awkwardly. "She sounds like an incredible person. I wish I could have met her."
"You would've liked her," Abby said, her voice scratchy. "She was a good friend..." Tears began to run down her face again. She tried to fight them off, but to no avail. Instead she pressed her face into her hands in an effort to hide them. Jess stood there awkwardly, completely unsure of what to do.
"Abby?" she asked. She got no response. Not knowing what else to do, Jess sat down beside Abby and hugged her. After a moment Abby shifted so she could wrap her arms around Jess and bury her face in her shoulder.
Abby cried for several minutes. Jess had no idea what to do (she had never been very good at comforting), so she simply held her and waited for the tears to stop. Gradually they began to slow, and soon Abby was only sniffling. Finally she pulled away and wiped her face.
"Sorry," she said, a bit embarrassed. "I got your shirt all wet."
"It's fine," Jess said. "It'll wash." Abby nodded. "Besides, it's perfectly natural to cry after losing a close friend."
"Jess, I, uhm..." Abby fidgeted with the end of her shirt, trying to get the words out. "I'd really appreciate if you didn't... you know..."
"I won't tell anybody," Jess said quickly.
"Thanks," Abby said. She looked back at all of Sarah's things on the table and sighed.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Jess asked. Abby opened her mouth to say that she would be fine, but then her eyes landed on the Frisbee. She paused a moment.
"Actually, there might be..." She picked up the Frisbee and stood up, grabbing Jess' hand. "Come on. I want to show you something."
X X X X X X X X X X
"Abby, are you sure about this?" Jess asked, her voice shaking slightly.
"He won't hurt you," Abby said. She unlocked the door to the Dracorex's enclosure and then turned to look at Jess. "I promise."
Jess hesitated and then nodded stiffly, but she still looked absolutely petrified. Abby stepped into the enclosure and motioned for Jess to follow. After another hesitation Jess stepped in after her.
The Dracorex appeared from the array of plants and eagerly bounded over to them. Jess quickly began to back up.
"Abby?" she called, the fear evident in her voice.
"It's alright," Abby said. She reached out her hand and patted the creature's long nose. "Hey, boy. I brought someone to meet you."
She motioned at Jess with her head. The Dracorex swung around and studied Jess, who was now firmly plastered to the wall. The creature tilted his head curiously and sniffed the air before stepping over to her.
"Abby!" Jess cried.
"It's alright," Abby repeated. "He won't hurt you."
Jess held her breath as the Dracorex stopped right in front of her and sniffed.
"Let him smell your hand," Abby instructed. Jess slowly stretched out her hand, but quickly pulled it back when the Dracorex snorted.
"Are you sure?" she asked shakily. Abby nodded.
Very slowly Jess brought her hand back up . The Dracorex sniffed it for a moment with interest. Curiosity slowly began to win out, and after a moment of hesitation Jess slowly reached out a bit further until her hand made contact with the Dracorex's nose. The creature didn't move.
"See?" Abby said.
Jess carefully patted the creature's nose as her fear slowly began to fade.
"Look what I've got," Abby said, letting the Dracorex see the Frisbee she had been holding behind her back. Immediately the creature ran over to her, his tail wagging furiously. Abby threw the Frisbee and he took off after it.
"He looks like a big dog," Jess said as the Dracorex leaped up and caught the Frisbee between his teeth. He came running back and stopped in front of Abby.
"Not so scary now, are you?" Abby asked, taking the Frisbee from him. She threw it again, and once more he took off.
Jess' fear had faded almost completely, and she slowly came over to stand by Abby.
"Does he have a name?" she asked.
"Draco," Abby said. "It was Sarah's idea."
"That's cute," Jess said.
This time the Dracorex bounded over to Jess, brandishing the Frisbee.
"What do I do?" Jess asked, backing up a bit.
"Just take it," Abby said. "He won't bite you."
Very slowly Jess reached up and wrapped her fingers around the edge of the Frisbee. Immediately the Dracorex let go and backed up, wagging his tail eagerly in anticipation of a throw. Jess looked down in surprise at the Frisbee, and then at the scaly monster before her acting for all the world like a large dog. She drew back her arm and let the Frisbee fly. The Dracorex took off after it. A tentative smile touched Jess' face and quickly grew bigger when the Dracorex brought the Frisbee back.
"Good boy," she said, taking the offered Frisbee.
X X X X X X X X X X
They stayed for almost an hour before Becker finally radioed asking where they were. As they left the enclosure, Abby heard Jess promise the Dracorex that she would be back the next day. It made her smile.
Jess shut the door behind them, and then stopped to stare at the Dracorex through the glass.
"Coming?" Abby asked. Jess nodded, but she didn't move.
"I think I understand now," Jess said slowly. "I understand why you care so much for them. They're not really as scary as they look."
Abby stepped back over to the glass and together they watched the Dracorex run in and out among the plants.
"We should probably go before Becker sends out a search party," Abby said finally. Jess nodded. Together the two of them turned and headed out of the menagerie.
X X X X X X X X X X
Reality Check: Sarah was gone, and nothing could change that. But fate had a funny way of bringing things back, even if it wasn't always in the expected way. Maybe, just maybe, Jess would turn out to be a good friend after all.
So, how was it? PLEASE review! Otherwise I'll be forced to send my ninjas after you. :)
I have some ideas for more Primeval one-shots, so keep an eye out for those!