Summary: Tag for episode 2x02 – Connor/Caroline - here's that drink they mentioned.
Spoilers: Up to Episode 2x02
A\N: Betaread by fififolle and rodlox. Fic brought to you by the train journey to Pegasus 3.
Caroline links her arm around his as she leads him to the pub. Funny, because he's pretty sure he was the one who suggested a drink – but he doesn't care, it's nice to meet someone eager, straightforward and who likes sci-fi. How rare is that? Truth is, it's damn rare, in fact it's never happened to him and meeting her at the video store like that comes across almost like some strange Bruce Almighty-esque miracle...not that he specifically believes in God. A girl like Caroline liking him might be a good reason to start perhaps? Or that could be taking the appreciation of this one spectacular occurrence too far.
Caroline's been asking questions non-stop on the walk, so it's amazing he's able to answer them in between his crazy manic stream of thoughts. He snaps out of it properly as they slink into the bar. It's not a pub, more upmarket, though he's not about to complain about her choice, in fact he's sold on it when he sees nachos on the menu.
He's halfway through the plate – meant to be share but she's got fish and chips herself – and in the middle of a rant about why remakes always fall short of originals, when he realises this is a date. He hasn't had a date for years, and that's if you count multiple dances at a school disco as one. It's not like it's slipped his mind this is a date, just it really hit him – here he is having it.
He gulps, swallowing the beer before he chokes at the crushing fear of reality crashing down on him. Here he is bumbling through it but what are you meant to do on a date? All Abby's coaching had got stuck at the meeting and/or chatting up stage since she'd never thought he'd got the hang of it.
“Connor? Are you alright?”
He looks at Caroline, trying desperately to remember she likes him already.
“Er, yeah...fine. Um, I guess you're wondering about the goo, right?”
“I didn't like to ask but now that you mention it it is a bit weird. I'm sure there's an amusing story behind it though.” She takes a sip of her wine and then smiles brightly, waiting for him to explain. Not angry at him, but happy – she wants to hear him talk. It's such an unfamiliar feeling, knowing that a girl, a woman is actually interested in what he has to say in any way that's not strictly academic or asking for directions. He distantly remembers it, there was a time when his mum could bear to listen to him speak too, without telling him to shut up after a minute or two of his musings. Was bloody brilliant come to think of it, Caroline must really like him to a) politely not ask about the mysterious stench or anything, and b) be genuinely interested in his ramblings, not just about this but about anything. So he smiled back, feeling more confident suddenly, and then the smile faltered.
He can't tell her the truth. It would be the most awesome story and maybe he could tell it and she'll laugh like it's a joke...but no, Lester would have him gutted if it got out. Besides, the last time his friends and his “job” mixed it hadn't turned out well – he couldn't stand a repeat of something like that. The one major frustration over this is that Caroline would get it. She'd understand him; giggle at his comparisons, go “eww” and “oooh” in the right places. She'd love it, eat it right up and fate strikes there because he can't say a word about it. Whereas he can go over it with Abby, ad nauseum, if he wants to risk a whack on the head for all the in-jokes, but of course Abby'd only laugh at him and tell him to get over it - you're alive aren't you? Now what about the washing up?
So he lies. Lamest excuse ever - charity wrestling in jelly. He embellishes with how they saved money on the jelly by buying the worst flavours, all the ones no one wanted that don't sell well, and makes up an excuse about how after a few hours in the sun it smelled rank. No explanation for why that counts as urgent work or why he didn't change before or after it all, but she smiles at him again, head resting against her palm and doesn't look too bored. That's all he could hope for really. Except maybe for an alternate universe where he described the afternoon's adventure in all it's gloriously gory and action packed details, but in this universe, this Connor is neither stupid or brave enough to.