wildforce71: Connor, Lester and Abby, looking very hot (Primeval)
[personal profile] wildforce71
So this is technically the epilogue to a fic I'm struggling madly with. It stands alone, though, so it was suggested that I post it to give myself a boost.

Fandom: Primeval. In case you can't tell, this is set immediately after ep 4.1




When he thinks about it, later, Becker is surprised it hadn’t happened earlier.

The first debrief, though necessarily broad, takes almost two hours. There’ll be more indepth discussions later, focusing on specific aspects of the missing year, but for now they need only the bare bones of the story. Connor and Abby take turns, one picking up smoothly from the other.

Burton has vanished at some point, after effusively praising both of them and promising to study the debrief records very closely, but Matt is still listening, leaning against the glass wall of Lester’s office. Lester himself is being very businesslike, running through their statements, clarifying particulars as needed.

Becker is watching them. Connor keeps glancing up, looking from him to Matt and back. Abby is focused on Lester, but every minute or so she glances at the door. It doesn’t interrupt them; they keep talking smoothly.

They’re on guard, Becker thinks. Glancing at Matt, he catches the barest nod. So he’s noticed too. It’s strange to think they’d need to be on guard here, but they’ve been gone a year, after all. He knows what living in a war zone is like, how hard it is to leave it behind sometimes.

“Well, I think that’ll do for now.” Lester finishes whatever he’s writing, closing the folder.

“So what now?” Abby asks, glancing at the door again. Beside her, Connor looks from him to Matt and back to Lester, suddenly tense.

“Now you’ll both report to Medical,” Lester says briskly. “After that, Captain Becker will take you to the flat, where you will both take a few days to relax before we see about...”

“About the jobs we don’t have anymore?” Connor says bitterly. Abby touches his arm and he grimaces, slumping down in his chair.

“Yes, well. We’ll worry about that after tomorrow’s debriefs.” Lester clears his throat. “Jess?”

Jess, who’s been wandering in and out to offer drinks and snacks and gaze adoringly at Connor, comes to the doorway. “Yes?”

“Make sure the flat is ready, won’t you?”

“Yes sir.”

“Check the food, too,” Becker adds, and Connor swivels to study him. “Nothing too rich.” Catching Connor’s eye, he raises a questioning eyebrow.

“Long as there’s coffee, mate.”

“He tried to grow his own,” Abby confides.

“Didn’t work out so well?” Matt asks.

Both jump – Matt hasn’t spoken since the debrief started – and Abby spins to look at him. Matt raises one hand apologetically, careful not to move. “Sorry.”

“It didn’t work out too well,” Connor agrees, touching Abby’s arm to get her focused on him again. She relaxes, slowly, still watching Matt suspiciously but no longer on a knife edge.

Lester catches Becker’s eye and he nods. “Let’s go, guys.” He doesn’t move until after he’s spoken.

Connor and Abby don’t talk much as they head for Medical, both busy taking in everything around them. Becker leads the way without looking back; Matt follows along behind, providing explanations for the various changes when Abby asks him. Becker hasn’t really noticed how many procedures had changed in the past year, though he should; most are a direct result of either Connor and Abby’s last mission, or the disastrous rescue attempts it prompted.

Medical isn’t quite ready when they get there, so they chat awkwardly a little more. Becker is almost relieved when a nurse appears and says briskly, “Abby? This way.”

Connor moves with her without seeming to think about it, but the nurse stops him at the door. “We’re not ready for you yet. You’ll have to wait out here.”

“What?” Connor says blankly. “No.” At the same time, Abby says, “He can come in with me.”

“No, he can’t,” the nurse says firmly. “Come on.”

Connor shakes his head, taking another step forward. “I’m going with her.”

“No, you’re—“

“Can I make a suggestion?” Matt asks, voice mild. Connor half-turns to watch him; one hand is locked on Abby’s sleeve. Looking at the nurse, Matt continues, “You have privacy curtains? Use those, and leave the door open. Connor can stand right here with us and keep talking to Abby.”

Becker shifts position, casually resting one hand on his gun, and the nurse sighs. “It’s against regs...”

“Just this once.” Matt’s voice is still mild. “Special circumstances, and all.”

The doctor appears from inside the room, taking in the group with no surprise. “Miss Maitland? Your bed’s ready, this way.” He gestures to a bed partially surrounded by privacy screens. “This won’t take long.”

Abby glances at Connor, who lets go of her with an obvious effort. She follows the doctor towards the bed, and he pulls the screen across, blocking their view.

“Abby?” Connor says immediately.

“Yep,” she answers. He sags in relief as the doctor starts a verbal examination.

Connor turns, putting his back to the wall by the door. Catching Matt’s eye, he mouths ‘thank you.’ Matt dismisses it with a wave and a shrug.

“Where’s Rex?” Abby calls, hissing in a breath. Connor tenses but doesn’t move.

“Down in Acquisitions,” Becker says. To Connor, he adds, “Sid and Nancy, too. Lester brought them in a while after...” He trails off, and Connor nods tiredly.

“Better leave them there until we figure something out,” he says absently. Abby hisses again, a long, drawn-in sound, and he twists to look inside.

“Sorry, I know that’s cold,” the doctor says calmly. “Deep breaths, please.”

“Connor, let me get you something to drink,” Becker says softly. Both Connor and Abby have refused to take anything so far, apparently suspicious of anything they haven’t gathered themselves.

“Yeah,” Connor says absently, still listening, and then shakes his head. “Yeah. Thanks, mate.”

“I’ll go,” Matt says, pushing off the wall.

“No,” Connor says sharply, but the look he gives Becker is pleading.

Becker nods, glancing at Matt. “Come on.” To Connor, he adds, “Wait for us. Here, Connor.” Connor salutes weakly and he nods, turning.

He can hear Matt behind him, but he doesn’t stop until they’re two corridors away. “Sorry,” he offers.

Matt shrugs. “It’s understandable. I should make myself scarce, yeah?”

Becker shakes his head, making the decision on the spur of the moment. “No. Come back with me.”

“Becker, I don’t mind, they’re traumatised...”

“They’ll need to get to know you sometime.” Becker turns, heading for the nearest break room.

“You do see it,” Matt says quietly, lingering in the doorway. “Abby’s ready to kill someone, and Connor isn’t far behind.”

“Yes.” Becker takes a couple of bottles of water and two cereal bars, tossing the bars to Matt. “We can’t blame them. A year in the Cretaceous, you or I’d be jumpy too.”

“Mmm.” Matt pushes off the doorframe, heading back towards Medical.

Connor is standing exactly where they left him, halfway through describing the meal he’s planning on having when they get out. Becker slips past him, sticking one hand around the privacy screen with the bottle of water.

Someone takes it from him, and the doctor says, “Please tell Mr Temple that if he eats anything he’s been describing, he’ll be violently ill.”

“He doesn’t care, it’s all about the food,” Abby tells him. She sounds tired. Whatever has been keeping them upright is obviously wearing off, and he thinks culture shock is probably setting in. “Thanks, Becker.”

“There’s cereal bars?” he offers.

“When I’m done, thanks.”

Becker retreats to the corridor, giving the second bottle to Connor. He checks the seal before opening it, grimacing apologetically at Becker. Matt offers him one of the bars; he takes it, nibbling at it unenthusiastically.

The doctor appears around the edge of the privacy screen. “We’re almost done,” he says before Connor can speak. “I need to ask Miss Maitland some personal questions, though. Is it alright if I shut the door?”

Becker silently blesses Lester for getting them this particular doctor.

“Connor?” Abby calls, voice high.

“How long’ll it take?” Connor asks quietly.

“Only a few minutes. I’m sorry, I really can’t let you in.”

“They’ve been living together for a year,” Matt points out. “There can’t be many secrets.”

“I’m sorry. Doctor-patient privilege. I can’t let him listen to this.”

“It’s alright, Matt.” Connor nods, raising his voice. “I’ll be in in a minute, Abs! Just play nice with the doctor. No breaking his finger.”

One time, that was one time! And you were asking for it!”

The doctor smiles, taking a step backwards. “Three minutes, I promise. Then we’ll be ready for you.”

Connor nods again, watching as the door closes. Leaning against the wall, he slides down it, pulling his knees up and burying his face in his arms.

Becker crouches beside him, watching. “Connor?”

“I didn’t think about you,” Connor tells his knees. “Not after a while. I thought about Stephen, and Professor Cutter. Captain Ryan. That was safe. I’m never going to see them again anyway.”

Becker shifts, looking at Matt, who takes a couple of steps away. If Connor sees the movement, he doesn’t react, still talking in that strange, flat tone. “I thought about the ARC, a bit. About the work. Not about the people. I couldn’t...it wasn’t ever...” He pulls in a breath, saying in a rush “I couldn’t think about here and live there, I’d have gone insane.”

Becker touches his shoulder; when Connor doesn’t react he grips it lightly, trying to give him something to ground himself with. “It’s alright,” he says gently. This is it, he thinks. Connor’s remarkable strength is used up, and he’s going to break.

Connor sobs once, but then the doctor opens the door and he scrambles to his feet, scrubbing his face with the back of his hand. The move makes him seem ridiculously young, despite the beard and long hair. “Is she alright?”

“She’s fine, absolutely fine. I took some blood to run a couple of tests, but I don’t foresee any problems. Go on in, you can have a couple of minutes before I start your exam.”

Connor is gone on the word and the doctor turns to Becker. “She really does seem fine. I mean, considering. No long term effects that I can see at the moment.”

“Thank you, Dr...”

“Westphall,” he says cheerfully. “Ready for round two?”

Abby seems even jumpier than Connor when she steps out of the room. Becker reminds himself that she’s just had a medical exam, something that could unsettle anyone at the best of times. Matt offers her the second cereal bar and she takes it without hesitation, studying it for a moment before opening the package.

“I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.”

“Matt, Anderson.”

“Matt Anderson,” she repeats softly. “And how long have you been here, Matt Anderson?”

“A while now.”

“A while now. Isn’t that cosy.”

Behind the privacy partition, Dr Westphall clears his throat. “Ready, Connor? Good. Tell me, your report says you were injured when you went through the Anomaly, can...”

“Not when we went through,” Connor corrects him, voice steady. “A little later. We had to set off a stun grenade. I caught the edge of the blast and fell out of a tree.”

“How far?”

“Maybe eight feet?” His voice rises questioningly.

“Eight’s about right,” Abby agrees.

Becker listens, though he knows the basics, as Connor details the results of the fall; bruises, muscle strain, sprained ankle. Dr Westphall listens, hmm’ing along.

“Any lasting effects?”

“Apart from a fear of trees?”

“That must have been hard,” Matt says, drowning out Westphall’s next words. “Trying to survive the Cretaceous with him injured like that.”

“It wasn’t for long,” Abby says distantly. “Muscles heal pretty fast. Least he didn’t break anything.”

“Aye, there’s that.”

Becker catches her eye. “You should drink some more.”

Abby glances at the half-full bottle in her hand. “I’ll be sick. We didn’t have very much to drink, we had to boil everything. Took a long time.”

“Well, as soon as you can.”

“Yeah, I will. Connor? How you doing?”

“Fine.” Connor’s voice is flat, but he does seem to be alright.

“We’re nearly done,” Dr Westphall says absently. “Breathe in, Connor.”

Abby glances around, finding the nearest chair and dragging it next to the door. Curling into the seat, she tilts her head, clearly focusing on Connor.

Matt tugs his jacket off suddenly, offering it to her. “You look cold,” he explains when she blinks at it.

“Hmm,” she agrees, draping the jacket around her shoulders. “It was warmer there, I think. Haven’t really had time to think about it until now.”

Dr Westphall comes to the door, waiting until she looks up to speak. “I need to close the door now. It’ll just take a couple of minutes.”

Abby nods, fiddling with her water bottle. Westphall closes the door.

Matt tries conversation a couple of times, but Abby is curt and monosyllabic and he gives up. Becker waits patiently. Behind the door, Connor and Westphall talk quietly. It’s taking longer than it did for Abby, and Becker isn’t sure why that seems surprising.

Abby scrambles to her feet suddenly, knocking her chair over in her hurry. Before Becker can stop her she’s through the door, knocking the privacy screen aside. Connor pauses in mid-motion, jumper held in front of his chest.

“Alright?” he asks Abby.

She searches his face before nodding, one hand on his arm. “Yeah. Sorry.”

“I think we’re done anyway.” Glancing at Westphall, he says, “No, I haven’t.”

“Right. That’s everything, then.” Westphall starts writing on the chart. “You can finish getting dressed.”

Connor nods, pulling the top on. Becker very carefully does not wince as the scars and bruises littering his chest come into view. Thankfully, most seem relatively minor.

Abby is glaring at him when he shifts his gaze, and he shrugs apologetically.

“You’re both good to go,” Westphall says briskly. “Be very careful what you eat, especially you, Connor. No ice cream sundaes just yet.”

“Especially Connor?” Matt repeats.

“I was sick a couple of weeks ago. Food poisoning.”

“I told you they weren’t oysters,” Abby reminds him.

“They were molluscs. I wasn’t expecting pearls, I just wanted something different.”

“Well, I trust you’ve learned your lesson on that,” Westphall says briskly. “Make sure to drink plenty, and you might find it easier to eat little and often – that’s fine, too. Whatever seems best to you.”

“What about the blood tests?” Becker asks. “When will the results be in?”

“Day after tomorrow.” He smiles absently at Connor and Abby, turning away.

Matt clears his throat, offering Abby his jacket again – she must have dropped it in her hurry to get to Connor’s side. Becker glances at Connor questioningly, but he shakes his head. “No, I’m fine, thanks. Can we go?”

“I’ll check with Jess, make sure the flat’s ready,” Matt offers.

“Does it have a bed?”

“Yes...”

“Then it’s ready.”

“There might still be people there,” Matt explains, already walking away.

“We do remember how to talk to people,” Abby says darkly. Connor glances at her and she subsides, pressed against him.

“So, Connor,” Becker says, mostly to fill the silence. “Are you going to keep...?” He gestures vaguely near his own chin.

Connor grins, rubbing a hand through his beard. “You don’t like it?”

“I’m not sure,” he says honestly. “It’s a bit...”

“Mad caveman?” Connor says brightly. “Evil scientist?”

“I like it,” Abby says. “It makes you look rugged.”

“It makes you look older,” Becker says quietly.

They wait in silence for Matt’s return.

Jess confirms the flat is empty. She’s had it stocked with the basics; Becker smiles at the huge fruit bowl on the kitchen table. He gives them a quick tour of the place, careful to point out the bath and the bed.

“I can stay,” he offers. “If you want someone around. Fill you in on the last year.”

Connor glances at Abby. “Actually, mate, I think we’re just going to crash. Not the best company.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Go home, Becker,” Abby says quietly.

“I’ll come back tomorrow, collect you for your debrief.”

“Thanks,” Connor agrees. “See you then.”

Becker nods, letting himself out of the flat and closing the door gently. Behind him, there are voices for several moments before Connor starts murmuring reassurances and Abby starts crying.

Becker slips into parade rest without really thinking about it. The fractured remains of his team are behind this door, and if the only thing he can give them is privacy then he’ll make sure nothing disturbs them until they’re ready. He’s honestly surprised it took them this long to break, but he’ll give them what time he can to start putting themselves back together.

He lost them once.

He’s not going to let it happen again.

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