Summary: Abby/Connor hurt/comfort set just after the main events of 2x07.
A\N: Betaread by fififolle. This started out as an attempt at a primeval100 challenge and went over rather. ;)
Abby says sorry, pressing an icepack to his cheek. It was a strange comfort for his face to be as numb as he feels inside, thinking of the events of the day. Near apocalyptic, with heroics beyond anything they'd ever demonstrated before and worse consequences than they'd ever let into their imaginations.
She sits by his side, just out of view, and he realises she might well be shivering but he can't see well with the pack across his nose. In truth it doesn't hurt as much as she seems to think but he doesn't like to say, he's already tried and she wouldn't allow him to insist anything. Despite the fact it had been her elbow that caught him in the nose he didn't really blame her, it had been a total accident, he should have known better than to get between two women fighting.
Abby says sorry again and he resists the urge to snap at her. It's like a ritual, every five minutes or so she has to say it or else they'd have to talk about...that other thing. The thing they're both avoiding.
He doesn't know what's worse, the quiet lull between her outbursts or the fact she can't snap out of it. Ever since she first apologised when they got in and she saw the belated swelling, that's all he's heard her say. Sorry, over and over, sorry disguised, sorry for more than she will admit and just possibly for herself too. A slight anger wells inside as he remembers how hung up she was on Stephen – does she think this hits her harder than the rest of them?
He waits for the anger to subside, realising it's unreasonable, disrespectful too. Shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Probably shouldn't think ill of them either. Wasn't as if it was Stephen's fault Abby liked him, he hadn't shown any interest past his delirious confession, but Connor wished...things were different or something. But exactly what did he wish? That she hadn't cared so much, that she cared for him instead? No, neither of those were really things he could honestly wish for, if things weren't the way he wanted then they weren't meant to be – he believed in fate, things falling into place. All he could really wish for was that Abby wouldn't hurt so much, to be able to help her. Except both that and what had happened today seemed strange to consider in terms of fate, he didn't like to admit he couldn't make sense of this any more than she could.
There it was again. Putting down the icepack, he took off his jacket and slipped the warm woolly piece of clothing over Abby's shoulders. Hesitantly he followed that up with a comforting arm around her, hoping she wouldn't push him away but willing to accept it, anything to have the normal Abby back even for a moment, even if that risked inviting rejection.
He huddled next to her, not actually cold but giving pretence of it to make her feel better.
“I swear that icepack's still subzero. It's been out what half an hour an' all,” he said, glancing at his watch, “you should try it out. Must be punishment. Guess that's what I get for interfering. Shoulda let nature take its course, eh?”
Leaning closer into her, he whispered conspiratorially, “I know you would've won anyway.”
The response was another, “I'm sorry.”and he was about to tell her she was like a broken record, jokingly of course, though his patience was stretched a little too thin after the umpteenth time. Yet looking towards her he saw her staring back at him almost blankly, except for the small streams of tears visible on her pale face where her makeup had run.
He'd long ago accepted that one smile from her would brighten any day, and it was only lately he'd really appreciated there was no substitute for what you really wanted. The downside was the opposite had the reversed effect.
All he could say in return was a heartfelt, “I know,” and hug her tightly to his side. Relishing the feel of her head resting in the crook of his neck, he hoped there'd be a time he wasn't the simple comfort to her pain but instead the guy who made her happy – just as she did for him.