Spoiler: Series 1-4
Genre: romance, hurt/comfort
Summary: This is in honor of my friend prehistoriccat.
Years Gone By
“How long? Two years? I see. No. Not right now, I… I have to go.”
Connor moved to hang up the telephone, but missed the cradle, dropping the receiver to the floor. Abby watched as his face paled beneath his Cretaceous tan, turning his skin a sickly green. Something was terribly wrong. They’d hardly been back home twenty-four hours, and their homecoming had been so far removed from the idealistic dreams they’d clung to whilst trapped in the past as to be laughable. First off, they’d been sacked, then they’d found out that they were also homeless. Being allowed to use the company apartment was hardly any sort of recompense. At this point, Abby had thought that things couldn’t be much worse. She’d thought a call to Connor’s beloved mum would cheer him up. According to Connor, she was akin to a saint if a little overprotective. Privately, Abby thought Rose Temple was supremely overprotective, but also the sweetest woman she’d ever met.
Perhaps they could even go for a short visit. Do something nice in the midst of all that had gone wrong. It might serve to soften the blow that Connor had gone so long without speaking with her, or even telling her why he’d gone without saying goodbye. He’d hated the thought that she might worry for him. The ARC had worked out a cover story that Connor had been on a top secret archeological dig, a big government project in a remote village. Although he knew she would have been worried about his safety in a third world country, he’d been glad she’d been told something plausible. It was the best way to explain why he hadn’t even rung her.
Abby placed the phone on the cradle, “What is it?”
Connor just shook his head, “She’s gone.”
Abby’s brow furrowed, “Not home? But who was that on the phone?”
He shook his head again, his lips trembling before he pressed them together, “Uncle Donovan, her brother. Said I was six weeks too late.”
“Not… What do you mean, Connor?” she asked, afraid for the answer, “Connor? What’s happened?”
He just shook his head and sat himself on the bed, one hand pressed to his stomach, “I wasn’t there. She was asking for me, I’m sure of it. What must of she thought? That I wouldn’t come to see her before she…” he choked, tears rising in his eyes. He looked up to meet Abby’s concerned gaze, “before she died.”
“Oh, Connor… I’m sorry,” she managed.
She was terrible with this sort of thing. She never knew what to say. Nothing would be adequate; nothing would take away the pain. She fell to her knees in front of him, enfolded him in her arms and held him close, “I’m sorry.”
Connor had adored his mother, and his mother had adored him right back. She thought it might be weird the first time she’d met Connor’s mum, but Abby had been treated as if she was long lost daughter. At that time she and Connor had just been mates; she hadn’t quite known how to take it. She’d never known that kind of maternal love in foster care. Seeing Connor and his mother together had brought home how much she’d missed out on. If she ever became a mum, she hoped she was half the one that Rose Temple was. Hot tears fell down her cheeks, and she realized she wasn’t just giving Connor comfort, but taking it. Rose had looked past the clothes and the make-up and her tough façade and accepted her just as she was.
Connor clung to her as he let the tears flow, bitter and full of regret. His mum had been fighting for two years, and she hadn’t even told him she was sick. If he’d known, he would have… well, he wasn’t sure what he would have done, but he felt like he should have done something. Moved home, or something.
“I should’ve been there. She’d not understand why I wasn’t there.”
Abby pulled away and cupped his face in her hands, “She knew. She knew how much you loved her, and that if you could have been with her, you would have been.” She stared deep into his dark brown eyes, willing him to believe the truth of it.
Connor nodded, finally. Abby was right. His mum probably would have forgiven him anything. He wiped his eyes, and then thumbed a tear off Abby’s cheek, “She sacrificed so much to get me to Uni. I just wish I could have paid it back somehow. I wanted to take care of her. “
“You loved her, Connor. That’s all she ever needed. She was so proud of you. She told me you’d grown up to be a good man, like your father.”
“She said… she said I was a good man? That she was proud of me?”
Abby nodded, “You know she was.”
His face twisted, “God, I’ll miss her. I’ll miss her so much.”
Abby pulled him close again, “Me too, but she’ll always be with you. She’s in your heart.”
Connor kissed the top of her hair, “She is,” he pulled her up to sit next to him, “She used to take me to feed the geese. One took a nip at my finger, and she beat it back with her handbag! She told it to leave her boy alone, or it would be our next meal…”
They sat together for hours watching the sun track trough the sky as Connor told her stories from the memories of his childhood. By the end of it, his voice had gone rough and raspy, but he was smiling through his tears. He’d remember the good, as she’d want him to.
He looked out the window, into the cloudy sky, “I love you, Mum.”