Genre: angst, action, and some sweetness
Spoilers: Season 5
Summary: This is part one of a Secret Santa fic for squirt12345 I'm afraid it got away from me a little bit and turned into something I hadn't quite intended. Muse would not be denied. I do hope you enjoy! Don't worry, I'll deliver on the other part of your request at the end. ;-) Trust the author. Prompts: Buying/Exchanging Presents, Unwanted guest(s), 'Special' gift, "Curiosity killed the cat."
A/N: Set after Connor confronts Abby for breaking into his lab. Oh, and it was Christmas time. Yeah. Go with it.
Connor opened the door to the flat cautiously, not sure of his welcome. He loved that Abby was his girlfriend. Since the day he’d first laid eyes on her, that was all he’d wanted. At first, it was just that she thought she was a stunner. Beautiful girl, great body, and bonus… she knew about anomalies and she was nicer to him than any other girl he’d tried to chat up. Usually once he opened his mouth, they lost interest. He had a talent for saying exactly the wrong thing. Abby was different. Well, perhaps not so different. He’d not been able to say the right things to her today. He wondered if she ever regretted meeting him. Her life would have been simpler.
He’d forced his way into her life, and like a stray dog, she’d let him stick around. At some point, she’d accepted him as a friend. She shared movie nights and pizza with him, but that was where she drew the line. There was a line. That much he knew for certain. He knew she didn’t feel the same. She’d said so often enough, even though sometimes she looked at him as if she just perhaps, maybe felt a little bit for him more than simple friendship. So he held onto hope, and for him it was enough to just be around her. He’d spent years trying to suss out a way past that wall she had around herself, and he’d finally managed it, thanks to a side trip to the Cretaceous. It was hard for him to regret it too much.
They were back home, and together, and he was back at the ARC again and working with his idol, Philip Burton. He should have all he ever wanted. He should be happy, but Abby… she didn’t get it. She didn’t understand what he was trying to do, how important his work was. She hated Philip, and he didn’t know what to do about it. The row they’d had today, well, it was a bad one. He’d asked her to trust him. She’d refused. It had hurt that she’d just looked at him as if he was a naïve child when he tried to explain it. He’d thought that she respected him enough to at least listen to him… believe in him. It was too much time apart, he reflected. They’d not had the time to just talk anymore.
Connor had so much he wanted to tell her. If she could just understand what he was trying to do, he’d probably not have come home to an empty flat. She’d likely assumed he’d be working late again and gone out to do some last minute shopping or something. It didn’t hardly feel like the holidays with the way he’d been working. Tomorrow, he’d be able to show Philip the anomaly creation machine, and then soon after, they’d all get some much needed days off.
Connor smiled as he looked down at the small box in his hand. He and Abby had something special though. He knew she’d get over it soon enough. Abby had a fierce temper, but she’d not stay angry for long. All she needed was for some time to cool off. Meanwhile, he’d bought something… well it was a big something, and he hoped that the gift along with a little time together through the holidays would help repair the damage done to their relationship. Since she was out, he could take the opportunity to find a hiding place secret enough to keep her from finding it.
They’d gotten used to sharing space to the point where they no longer had much his and hers, so it sounded like an easier task than it actually was. He finally settled on underneath the mattress. There was no reason for her to look there. He lifted the corner to slide the small box between the mattress and box spring. When her journal fell out, he wasn’t sure which surprised him more, the fact that it fell out whilst he was hiding her gift, or the fact that she felt she needed to hide it from him. It seemed she’d been hiding a lot from him lately. He’d bought her the journal to replace the one that had fallen into the fire in the Cretaceous. He’d never seen her use it, so he imagined he’d made a bad gift of it. The pages were full. Well, that was something.
It had fallen open, a rough sketch of him on one side of the page and Abby’s writing on the other. He’d never invade her privacy; it just wasn’t right. He fully intended to close the journal and put it back where he found it, when the phrase, I need to just tell him I’m finished with him, caught his eye. Once he saw it, he couldn’t look away.
He didn’t want to read it, and he knew he should stop, but he couldn’t help it.
I don’t want to let him go, but I have to. He’s not good for me. I should have never let him stay with me in the flat in the first place. I should have turned him away. Told him to grow up and find his own place to stay.
Connor flinched, tears rising in his eyes and blurring his vision. They were in a worse state than he thought. He figured they’d get through this once she saw that he was trying to do something so incredible… save so many lives, solve the world’s energy problems! If that didn’t make her proud of him, he didn’t know what could. He swallowed hard and read on. He needed to know the truth of how she really felt.
I always thought that together, him and me, we could take on anything. As long as we had each other, we could face anything and our first loyalty should always be to each other. I can see now that I was wrong. I might have felt that way, but he never did. I’m not as important to him as he is to me. It hurts, but it is just how it is. All that we have been through, all that time when it was just us, it meant nothing to him. I’ve been an idiot to not see that.
Connor shook his head violently, “No, Abby. You’ve got it all wrong. I’m doin’ all this to make things better. It don’t mean nothin’ if I’m without ya.”
He closed the journal gently. He wanted to throw it, but he'd spent his life ignoring such impulses. It was the most recent entry, dated today. Abby was going to be home any minute, and he didn’t quite know how he was going to face her. He had to sort himself out first. Figure out what he needed to say to make her understand that he loved her more than anything, and he’d do whatever it took to hold on to her. He passed a hand over his face and let out a deep sigh. Not back to his lab. Abby would find him there. He couldn’t stomach going to Cutter’s grave, not the way he was feeling. There was only one place he could think of to go.
The Forest of Dean hadn’t changed much in the past few years, but it had been so long since he’d gone there that he wasn’t sure he could find the proper spot again. He was certainly more confident moving about in the woods than he had been years before. He dodged branches and skirted thick patches of underbrush, and fairly quickly found himself back to the beginning, where it had all started. It had seemed so exciting at first. Back before he’d lost too many friends and too much of his innocence.
He lost track of time as he sat, back to a tree, and thought. He was a smart guy, but he felt stupid. He could invent machines that could date an anomaly, had developed theories that he knew were beyond many of his professors, hell, he could even tell a joke… but he couldn’t hold on to the best thing that had ever happened to him. It wasn’t like Abby to hide something like this from him. Why did she not tell him? Connor dropped his head to his knees and let out a soft sigh. Probably because he’d not listen. She’d tried today, and how well did that work?
He trusted her instincts. Always had done. She’d been genuinely convinced that it was dangerous to even tell him what she’d suspected. Perhaps he should do a little checking on his own, just so he could put her mind to rest. She’d see that he took her concerns seriously, and that might be enough to get her back. After all, if he got caught, his time at Prospero would be over, anomaly or no anomaly. Was it worth it? He thought about life without Abby… couldn’t. He couldn’t imagine it. It was worth it.
Abby would be wondering where he was, he reflected as he exited the cab. At least, he hoped she’d be wondering where he was. He hoped she still cared enough to wonder. No matter. If he could take care of this, then he could make things right between them. He swiped his key card to enter the main door of New Dawn, Philip’s offsite Prospero facility. If there was any information to be had, it would be there. The place was minimally staffed at the best of times. There were more security personnel than anyone else, and they wouldn’t question him. He was often found working far too late at night. The true danger would be in Philip realizing he’d been in his files. He’d be using his pass key to get into the building, and it would be a simple matter to connect the time that the files were accessed with the time that Connor Temple was in the building.
In short order, he’d hacked into Philip’s files; they were hardly protected. He couldn’t help but smirk as he did it. Connor was good, but part of it had to be that Philip believed New Dawn was safe. No one would dare to pry.
“No one but me,” he murmured.
He choked as he dug deeper and saw Helen Cutter on the screen, saw her words to Philip, saw the scope of his plans. According to his data, convergence would happen, just as Connor predicted, and he’d not planned to do a thing to mitigate the danger. People would die, because he was more concerned with getting his machine to work than saving lives. People would die, and it was written as a footnote. Abby had been right. He was following Helen’s orders. Connor had never been so furious in his life. He’d been used. He had to stop this. His fingers flew over the keyboard as he made his way through the system, looking for weaknesses. Prospero was not built upon his system, but that actually made it easier for him. He knew what he needed to do, as much as it pained him to do it.