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Title: In Hiding
Author: Viki (facing_the_wind
Recipient: alyse-Hope you like it, hun!
Prompt(s): My clever recipient requested picture prompts! I used two of the three she asked for: http://pics.livejournal.com/alyse/pic/000sz0ds and
http://pics.livejournal.com/alyse/pic/000t0pd8
Pairing(s), if any: Connor/Abby. Alyse also requested a gen fic with the two of them and Sarah and Jenny, so I added a good chunk of them.
Rating: PG-13, K+, whichever
Summary: After they lose their mentor, Connor and Abby both have a lot of thinking to do. And Lester sends them to just the right place to do it.
Warnings: Some swearing and the lightest bit of sexual reference
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. I am playing with them but I will clean up my toys when I'm all done. Also, a HUGE thanks to my emergency beta, Julia.



The fog was coming in and Abby had to focus her eyes in order to make it out to the pier without killing herself. As she neared the tip, however, she merely had to keep an eye on the dark shape at the end. She dropped next to Connor with little fanfare, letting her feet dangle over the edge to match his. They were still a good way from the water's top, even with the tide coming in.

They sat in silence for a few minutes before Abby leaned her head against Connor's shoulder. In turn, his head dropped, almost automatically, to rest on top of hers. "How'd you know I'd be here?" he asked, more out loud to the darkness than down to her.

"I know you," she answered with a tiny shrug of her shoulders. "This is where you came when Tom died. This is where you came when Stephen died. I just assumed."

At first, he didn't reply. She thought maybe she'd offended him, but he didn't pull away. She knew she could be too blunt. Abby didn't know how to deal with emotions well. Compared to her, Connor came off looking like a tender-hearted sap, and she knew sometimes it was difficult for him. But in his defense, he'd just suffered a trauma she couldn't even imagine. They'd all had to watch while Tom had died. And only Cutter had witnessed Stephen's death.

Connor had sat by Cutter's side, letting him be his support while he took his last few breaths. His last words were said to Connor. While they were all mourning, no one could feel it quite like Connor did. He handled it well enough on the outside. It was one of the things she loved about him. You truly had to know him to understand how deeply he felt.

"Easy to think out here," he finally spoke, his words whispered. "But easier not to. You can just listen to the sounds around you. Sometimes you can see some animals. If you're quiet. Just easier to not be bothered."

Abby paused. She hadn't really considered that he might want to be left alone. "I... Sorry. Do you want me to go?"

"No," Connor said simply, though he pulled away slightly. "No, don't. Just...stay with me a while?"

She'd never seen Connor so quiet, so she didn't argue. Not that she would have any. At that moment, she needed him as much, if not more, than he needed her.

***


The four of them watched Lester apprehensively. No one really knew what to say. They were gathered around the Anomaly Detection Device, looking antsy. Connor had it the worst, and Abby knew it. His gaze kept drifting to the place where he and Cutter had sat. Instinctively, her hand reached out to take his. His skin was cold and he was shaking slightly. She shot a worried look in Lester's direction.

"As you all know, we've faced an incredible security breach."

"No kidding," Connor whispered angrily under his breath, and Abby's grip on his hand tightened.
She was almost sure Lester had heard him, but to his credit he ignored him. Honestly, though, other than her? Most of them did. It was like no one knew what to say to him so they just...didn't.

"Currently, it's not safe for us all to remain here." As if on cue, he looked over his shoulder, as if expecting Helen or one of the clones to pop out at him. "I've arranged for the four of you," he looked at she, Connor, Sarah, and Jenny, "to investigate what we believe to be an international anomaly."

Maybe it was too generous. It felt like he was trying to make the terrifying week up to them. But he didn't get any complaints. Sarah actually looked enthusiastic. Jenny was smiling, and even Abby couldn't help a little glimmer of excitement. Connor, however, didn't speak a word. The exact opposite was true. He pulled his hand away from hers, crossed his arms in front of him, and looked Lester in the eye almost challengingly.

"Yes, Mr. Temple?" Lester asked, trying not to sound amused at Connor's tough guy display.

"What about the artifact?" he asked, his tone bordering between worried and angry. "Cutter died for that. What's going to keep it safe with all of us gone?"

Lester smirked a bit more openly. "And you think you could protect it if you were here?" he questioned. Before Connor could get himself sacked with a smart-alec answer, Lester nodded to his left, where Becker stood, gun at the ready as always. "Our security team will remain here while you're gone. They'll be going over procedures, ensuring additional safety measures, and yes, guarding the artifact."

Connor looked only slightly appeased as his gaze drifted back towards the same spot. It hurt Abby to watch, but with him pulling away, there was nothing she could do.

Fortunately, Jenny spoke up before things could get any worse. "So where is it we're going? And when? We might have had plans, you know."

It was impossible for them not to. Each of them snickered. Working for the ARC meant you didn't get much of a personal life. They'd all learned that the hard way. Even Lester chuckled appreciatively. Admittedly, they'd needed the ice breaker. "How does New Zealand sound?"

**


"Somehow, when he said New Zealand, I was expecting a four-star hotel. Housekeeping, room service, champagne buckets..."

Jenny was obviously less than pleased as they hiked the mountain. In her defense, Connor and Sarah didn't exactly look thrilled, either. Abby was the only one who looked like she fit into the outdoorsy roles they were playing, rucksacks strapped to their backs, boots tied on their feet, and dirty from head to toe.

"Toughen up, you babies," Abby called behind her, grinning at the glare she received from her coworkers. "At one with nature and all, right?"

That didn't seem to appease any of them. Finally, Abby stepped into a clearing. She dropped her bag to the ground and, taking her cue, the other three did so with a groan. Connor flopped to the ground less than gracefully. Jenny settled as primly as possible on a tree log. Sarah didn't quite sit, but rather leaned against a tree. This one, still standing. "Come on, you lot!" Abby protested, trying to sound playful when honestly, she was nearly as tired as they were. Kickboxing was great. Kickboxing was not hiking the mountains of New Zealand. "Jenny, the view is beautiful, don't you love it?" The older woman seemed to consider as Abby turned her gaze to her newer friend. "And Sarah, imagine the history steeped in these mountains. We could come across most anything here." When her eyes landed on Connor, she felt his eyes studying her intently. You can share my sleeping bag, seemed like the wrong prompt, even if it was likely to get him to finish the trip to the campsite. "And Connor, didn't you say The Lord of the Rings was filmed up here? Looks familiar to me."

They must have been the right words, because his eyes seemed to take on a bit of their old light as they looked around them. "You're right," he agreed, pulling himself to his feet. "I think that's where they started the hike to Rohan."

Abby beamed. Sometimes, knowing these people so well could be a burden, but most of the time, it just meant she had power. "Then let's get moving. We're only about an hour away from the site."

Her declaration was met with more groaning.

***


"Honestly? You've never been camping before?" Abby was pitching the pair of tents with Connor's assistance. Admittedly, this was one of the few times Jenny and Sarah were useless. They had sat in front of the second tent with instructions in front of them looking like they were reading ancient Greek. Actually, they looked a bit more confused than that. Sarah actually had a bit of knowledge of ancient Greek in her repretoire.

Jenny shot Abby a 'look'. Connor snickered into his shoulder, avoiding Abby's glare as he put the poles into the second tent. Abby had been surprised at Connor's helpfulness, but he explained that just because he didn't hike, didn't mean he didn't camp. And that was about the maximum of what he'd said all day. Ten words, a sentence or two at a time. Ordinarily, he would've been the one guiding them and babbling away about sleeping under the stars and the origins of the house. Today, though, and the flight over, too, Abby had been accompanied by a much quieter, subdued version of her flatmate. She'd hoped the time away from London would help him to heal, but so far, no luck.

Jenny reached for a pole to attempt to help with the tent but nearly put a hole in the canvas instead and Abby gently pried it out of her hand. "I've never been too thrilled with bugs. Or getting eaten by bears or wolves."

Despite the fact that she was wearing the same confused look on her face, Sarah giggled. "Seriously, Jen? You've faced down dinosaurs three times your size and you're afraid of a few insects?"

The look she received in response was nearly equal to the one she'd shot Abby.

"My family just never went," Sarah admitted. "And by the time I went away to school, I didn't exactly hang out with the outdoorsy types."

Abby grinned and gave a feigned, sarcastic gasp. "No! Really? You look so footie and lacrosse!"

As the girls had been bantering, Connor had finished one of the tents. Abby hadn't even noticed until he stepped over to the one she was working on. "Need a hand?" he asked, raising his word count for the day to about fifty.

"But my friends here are so helpful!" Her attempts at teasing were lost on him. He simply glanced back and forth between Jenny and Sarah and shrugged. "Suit yourself," he offered, his tone quiet. "I'm going to get some wood and get a fire going." Sixty-three words.

All three girls ended up watching him go, waiting till he'd slipped through the woods before they turned back to the tent.

"What's going on with him?" Sarah asked, confusion unrelated to the tent's directions written on her face.

Abby sighed heavily. It felt wrong to talk about him when Connor typically trusted her so deeply, but she couldn't help herself. She didn't know what to do for him. Maybe the others wouldn't either, but she needed to get it out. "Cutter," she admitted, easing the tent into place before wiping her hands and turning to face her friends. "All I can figure is, he's still in mourning. He's not himself anymore. I don't know how to help him."

Biting her lower lip, Jenny twisted the ends of her long brown ponytail. "It's a lot to deal with for anyone. You two knew him the longest, though. And he was there when..." She shuddered, despite the warm air, and Abby simply nodded. None of them could get the sight of Cutter lying limp in Connor's arms out of their heads.

"It's just that... Usually, he talks to me about these kinds of things. But he won't even put more than a sentence or two together anymore."

Sarah gave a small and somewhat bittersweet smile. "He needs time, Abby. Just make sure he knows you're there for him. You know him. When he's ready to talk, there'll be no stopping him."

"It just feels like more than that..." But a rustling in the trees behind them made all three of them jump. Instinctively, Abby made a grab for the shotgun Lester had insisted she carry and not Connor. Jenny and Sarah leaped to their feet and the group stared into the forest.

They held their breath, releasing a collective sigh when the tech-geek burst through the trees at full speed, his hand wrapped tightly around something white. "Guys! Look what I found!"

Abby set the gun back down and grinned. That was more like it.

***


"This is fantastic. I mean, really, it's brilliant." The bones Connor had found were spread out in front of him, and he carefully looked over each one. His laptop was out in front of them, entering the details into his dinosaur database to find a match.

It was late in the evening. The four of them had gone to the site where Connor had found the bones, gathering as many as they could find without extensive digging. The afternoon had been spent cleaning them and trying to decide their origins. Even once-squeamish Jenny seemed to enjoy the idea that they'd found something, even if it meant touching some poor, dead creature's bones.

Dinner had been simple and the second they'd finished, Connor had pulled out his laptop. But it was impossible to be angry or even annoyed when he wasn't only talking, but smiling again. Abby leaned over to read what he was pulling up on the computer program. The fact that she was practically in his lap to do so wasn't entirely lost on her. There was no denying how much growing up he'd done just in the last two years, and he had a much more commanding presence than he'd had when they met. That and all the time they'd spent together meant Abby felt drawn without question. She just didn't quite know what to do about it.

"Can you figure out what they are?" she asked, leaning against his arm as she watched him work.

Connor shook his head. "It's weird. I can point out certain characteristics, but nothing seems to match. I'm pretty sure this is a femur, but it looks too small to be this guy and too big to be this one." He pointed at the screen as he talked.

"And it could be this guy here, but he had feathers and this bone here," he said, pointing in front of him, "would have had a spot for quills and it doesn't."

While he rambled on, her attention wavered. She wasn't listening as well as she maybe should have, but it had been a long day, and she was tired, and he was incredibly comfortable. Sarah and Jenny had both already turned in, and it was just the two of them by the fire. She smiled up at him, watching the way his face lit up as he talked excitedly. At some point, he must have noticed, because he turned to her with a shy grin. "What?"

"Just good to see you smile again, s'all."

For a moment, Connor almost looked offended. A moment later, his face relaxed. "It's been hard. I know I haven't been the easiest to be around lately. I'm sorry."

Her heart broke for him, and she leaned up, pressing her lips tenderly to his cheek. The bashful expression on his face made her feel warm in the depths of her stomach. She should have felt guilty. He was more vulnerable than ever. But his smile was worth it. "I'll live. You've been through hell."

"We all have," he admitted, quietly. He closed the laptop and placed a tarp over the bones. There was a troubled look on his face, but he got to his feet and extended a hand down to her. "It's getting late and we have a big day tomorrow. You should be getting to bed."

"And you?" Her delicate eyebrows lifted, studying him with a sassy expression. Hands rested on her hips, and she had a vague idea of the picture she made. The way he was looking at her only increased that belief. Tilting her head slightly, she used the same look on him that had worked in many a pub back in school.

In her defense, though, the look he was giving her wasn't exactly innocent. There was a hungry look in his eyes that had nothing to do with the dried meat they'd been snacking on earlier. The fire made his eyes the color of caramel and just caught the dimple in his cheek. There was a flush to his face, and Abby couldn't help wondering what sorts of thoughts were going through his head.

But the moment was broken when he turned away and started walking towards the empty tent. "I'm going to bed, too. Obviously." He grinned over his shoulder, though, and gave a tiny jerk of his head. "Coming? Or are you sleeping in the girly tent. Eeew, earwigs!" he declared in a high-pitched imitation of Jenny.

Abby giggled and jogged ahead of him, ducking to crawl inside the other tent. "You tell me!" she called out, peeking from the flaps and waiting.

She'd already unrolled her sleeping back, but she pushed it just a bit closer to his. For warmth, she reasoned with herself. And for comfort, she had to admit. A strange country with wildlife they'd never seen, even in her time at the zoo, could be a bit threatening. By the time Connor climbed into his own bag, they were side by side, pressed together by her sudden need to cuddle.

"Night, Abbs," he whispered, lying on his side and facing her. And she realized instantly that, while once she would have found that a little creepy, now it had an air of sweetness to it.

Before she could talk herself out of it, she leaned forward, pressing her lips softly to his. "Night, Connor."

***


"Got everything? Water bottles? Compass? Gun, knife?" Abby was running down the checklist that had been issued for every venture away from the ARC. The group was splitting into pairs, and despite the fact that Connor seemed to refuse to even meet her eyes, she'd ended up with him. Partially because they'd ended up going by tent, but also because she worried about him. When Connor had his mind on something, he tended to zone out. Sarah or Jenny might not be as watchful and they'd find him at the bottom of a mountain hours later.

"We're set, Abby, would you stop panicking? This thing was reported two weeks ago, it's probably long gone by now. Lester just wanted us out of his hair while they put the place back together." Sarah grinned at them and Jenny gave a smothered giggle, always afraid to show she thought less of her boss. Abby had to roll her eyes, but what was worrisome was that Connor didn't even seem to hear the comment.

Oh, well. Not much she could do about that, now was there? "Then let's set off. You guys head south, we'll take the north. Once you've gone about a mile, turn east and we'll go west. We should meet at some point, but if we can't, just meet back here by sundown." Abby had to admit, she liked this leadership role. But in fairness, she'd been there the longest, with the exception of maybe Connor. And he wasn't exactly helpful at that point.

They set off, Jenny and Sarah chattering away, Abby with her much quieter companion. Apparently, the night before had been merely a brief pass of the mourning that had taken over him. She tried to get him talking, but it only worked in one word answers.

"Good weather for this. Hear it can get really hot out here."

"Yep."

"See the volcano over there? Think Lester sent us here just to get lavafied? Wouldn't put it past him."

"Nope."

"We can pretend we're hunting for the ring. I want to be Sam, though."

Finally, Connor rolled his eyes and let out a huff. "They weren't hunting for the ring, they were trying to get rid of it."

Abby grinned, and skipped ahead a few steps. "Got you to talk, though."

"Yep."

The grin fell from her face and she walked further, turning every few yards just to make sure she hadn't lost him. But no, he was there, just behind her, watching her closely. "Okay, just fess up. What's wrong?"

For a minute, she thought he wasn't going to answer. He just kept walking. She stopped and waited, arms crossed in front of her. Finally, he turned and faced her, anger flashing in his eyes. "Are we going to talk about this at all?" he asked in annoyance.

Her eyes widened, surprised at his tone. Sure, he hadn't actually been jovial lately, but he was usually sad or hurt. She'd rarely seen him angry at all, to be honest. "Um. What are you talking about?" she asked gently, afraid of riling him up further.

"You kissed me, Abby. Did it not occur to you that I might want to know why? Or what you were thinking or what you're thinking now, or anything?"

Panic set in. She hadn't forgotten the kiss from the night before, but rather she'd spent the first hour of the morning trying to convince herself that it didn't happen. For the life of her, Abby couldn't figure out why she had such a hard time coming to terms with how she felt for Connor. She knew she cared for him, and deeply. He was her best friend, someone she knew she could always count on. He was far from the creepy boy who'd tried too hard when they'd first met. She might even say she loved him, though she didn't entirely know what that meant or entailed.

But telling him that meant he'd want more. He'd want all of her, and she just wasn't sure she was ready for that with him, or anyone for that matter. Day in and day out, expecting to be with him all the time. And they already lived together. And worked together. It was a lot to ask, but she knew Connor wouldn't see it that way. He was going to see it as complete rejection and the thought made her instantly defensive. "It was just a goodnight kiss, Connor. It happens."

"Not with us, it doesn't," he protested, running a hand anxiously through his hair. "And...that's not fair. You know how I feel and if you didn't want... I mean, if that isn't what you meant, then..."

Sighing, he turned away and started walking again. "Oi! It's not like I proposed, Connor. Quit making such a big deal about it!"

It was too much and she knew it the second it had left her mouth. He spun around so fast he nearly fell over. "Excuse me? You have to be joking. You know better. I thought you knew me better." He was yelling now, and the once peaceful landscape around them seemed to be brimming with his anger as even the birds left the comfort of their trees to hit the skies. "I can accept that you don't want me, Abby, but I can't handle you toying with me! If you gave a damn about me, even a little, you'd not play with me like this!"

Abby heaved a frustrated sigh. "Connor, I don't know, okay? I don't...deal with these things well, I never have."

"Things? How is not wanting you to stomp all over my heart a thing? Dammit, I've never asked much of you. Not hurting me seemed an easy one."

Most of the fight was gone from his voice and he rubbed at his eyes. Without another word to her, he took off at a faster pace than he'd managed the entire day before. She swallowed hard before falling into step behind him. "Connor, I'm sorry," she said softly.

He didn't answer, and she wasn't really surprised. Not, at least, till he turned and faced her in surprise. "That's it!"

That...wasn't what she'd been expecting. Not at all. "What's it? What's what?"

"Something wasn't adding up. The bones. I think I wanted too much for them to be some sort of dinosaur, but they're not.

But there's not many mammals up here, either. The anomaly that opened...Abby, it's from the future!"

"How can you be sure?" she questioned, just grateful to have a change of subject.

He shook his head, pulling out the portable anomaly detector. "I can't be, not until we see it up close. But we know it can happen, right? And those bones are too fresh, so maybe something...y'know. Ate it."

"Well that's comforting," she grumbled, looking back to the campsite where they'd left the bones.

Now that they had a theory, they had to keep moving. Mostly because Connor was on a mission now and he couldn't be stopped. The rain clouds were building overhead, but he wouldn't hear of turning back.

When the rumble of thunder rolled overhead, she grabbed for his arm out of instinct. "Connor, I really think we should..."

She stopped suddenly because he did, meaning she smacked into his back. "What the hell!?" she blurted, but he was waving his hand at her frantically.

"Shhh," he urged, turning ever so slightly sideways to grab her waist. "Start backing up. Slowly. And don't make any noise."

At first, she thought he'd gone mad. And then she saw what he had, further in the distance. The creature was tall, at least the same size as Connor, maybe several inches taller. It was hard to tell from there. From where they stood, it looked like a lion standing on its hind legs. "What is it?" she whispered, backing away slowly.

"I think we just found the visitor from our anomaly." The creature seemed to pause in its steps and then turned in their direction. "Abby? Do me a favor...?" She looked at him anxiously and then felt his hand grip hers tightly. "Run!"

***


They were running as hard as they could manage, the large and bulky creature clambering behind them, not nearly far away enough for comfort. It didn't help that the thunder was increasing steadily. It just added to the ominous feeling that they were likely about to die.

Not that the particular feeling was exactly new, considering their line of work.

To be honest, they didn't even know if the animal behind them was dangerous or not. Frankly, though, Abby didn't really care. She didn't really want to take the chance and find out. It was charging them, and that was enough for her.

She never thought she'd be grateful for a bolt of lightning not far from her. The storm was literally on top of them by that point, and the lightning hit so close it threw their opponent to the ground. It didn't get up right away, and her animal loving instinct was to go check and see if it was okay. Her survival instinct, of course, begged to differ.

"Abby!" Connor called out. He was only a foot or so away from her, but the storm was growing and it was still hard to hear him over the rumbling thunder. "Over there!"

He was pointing in the direction of a crevice. Barely big enough to be called a cave, Abby wasn't even sure it would hold them both. But she knew the desperate look in Connor's eyes mirrored her own and she gave a short nod, running towards the edge of the mountain as quickly as she could.

The space was tiny. It was longer than it was wide, so they could go a meter or so back. Hopefully, the creature had lousy sense of smell. If it couldn't see them, they at least had a fighting chance.

The issue was, of course, that they were pressed together with no real room to sit comfortably. For the first few minutes, neither of them spoke. They took deep, gasping breaths, trying to recover from their mad dash to possibly save their lives. At some point, though, when no creature reached in with giant, swiping paws to kill them, Abby realized that Connor was pressed far too close to her deeply breathing chest not to realize it.

Flushing pink, she turned her body as best as she could. "Umm. So. What do you think that was?"

Connor was equally pink, though she didn't pause to think there could be an even...well, bigger reason for it. Well. Didn't pause for long, at least. "Future creature, I'd imagine," he began in his reasoning voice. "I can't remember any bipedal species from any previous era. Though it explains the bones. Looks like a descendant to the lion, probably eating anything it can find up here. If the anomaly opened two weeks ago..." he shrugged, then eased himself around her hip to get in the portion of the cave behind her. With the new amount of space, they were able to sit, though not exactly comfortably.

"So how do we get it back to its time?" Talking work was nice. It felt normal. And it didn't involve feelings.

Connor seemed to pick up on that as well. The brave man who'd just fought for their lives retreated inside of the scared university student coming to terms with how he felt for her. And how she didn't feel for him. "Don't know, yet. Guess we have to find where the anomaly opened and hope it does so again." His eyes were on the wall of the fissure, barely paying attention to her. He took a deep breath and shook his head. "Listen, Abby... I'm sorry. For snapping at you earlier. I could've lost you today, and nothing scares me more than that. If that's all I can have...I have to be okay with that."

She should have known it would come up. With a storm raging outside and an unidentified anomaly creature outside, there wasn't much else for them to do. But she couldn't bring herself to talk about it. Not yet. She slid over to the cave's entrance, peering out as the clouds finally opened up and began to pour. The lightning crashed over their heads and flickered through the darkened sky. She could see the volcano in the distance, but what she felt was Connor over her shoulder. His chest was pressed to her back and, despite their desperate running and sleeping in tents the night before, she found herself comforted by the scent of him. "That's Mount Taranaki," her human encyclopedia informed her. "Don't worry. It hasn't erupted since the 1700s. There's plenty of more active ones around here."

Abby gave a nervous little laugh, much more inspired by the fluttering his breath in her ear was causing in her stomach than any volcanic threats. "Oh? Doesn't that mean we're overdue for one and it could go at any moment?"

"I'll protect you," he reassured, and in that one moment, she knew he'd do anything physically possible to do just that.

She turned as best she could, ending up nearly in his lap. And then she was in his lap, straddling his legs in order to take his face in her hands. Her mouth found his far too easily, but she didn't argue. For once, she turned her mind off and let her heart do the thinking. Logically thinking Abby gave way to the woman Connor wanted her to be.

She felt the resistance in his kiss at first, but she didn't let him pull away. Instead, she let her hands travel to the thick hair, moistened by the sprinkles of rain they'd run through. Her heart was pounding and she could feel the blood in her ears but she just kept kissing him, opening her mouth under his, inviting him to take more.

For his part, Connor seemed to finally surrender and give in, sliding his hands tenderly up and down her back, and then not so tenderly when her lips moved to start tracing lines across his jaw and down to his neck. "Abby," he murmured, but it wasn't a plea for her to stop, so she didn't. She couldn't. A year's worth of emotions were pouring out in her kisses. He loved her. She knew he did. They'd been to hell and back together. And he'd never wavered, never once. He'd believed long after she'd stopped or turned cynical. It gave her hope that this could maybe work.

Finally, when she needed to stop or give up breathing completely, she pulled back, shifting just enough for them both to get a little more comfortable in the bit of space they had. "Hi," she whispered, grinning slightly.

But Connor, her sweet Connor, was more wary, and she couldn't possibly blame him. "I begged you not to do these sorts of things, Abby."

The majority of her body was instantly on the defensive but she took several long, slow breaths before she let herself answer. "I think I'm allowed to kiss the bloke I fancy. Especially when I know he fancies me, too." He opened his mouth to speak but she touched two fingertips to it to stop him. "I'm not perfect, Connor. I don't have the best track record in relationships. I don't want to hurt you, but I can't pretend that I'm going to be easy to get along with."

Connor gave a small, somewhat bashful laugh. "So then that won't be anything new."

She smacked him on the shoulder, but the gesture was playful. "I'm just saying that we're going to hit some bumps in the road. I may not be the girl you want me to be."

"Will you be Abby Maitland?" he asked, and pure love in his voice nearly tore her apart.

Leaning in, she kissed him softly. "'Fraid so."

She felt him smile against her lips. "Then you'll always be the girl I want you to be."

***


At some point they'd dozed off, after hours of talking and just as much kissing. When Abby woke, she took a minute to just be grateful she was alive. The storm had faded to a mere mist and the morning had dawned. And of course, they hadn't been clawed at and dragged out by some creature from the future. That was always a bonus.

But her second though on waking was that she was safe in Connor Temple's arms. The man who loved her and had promised to protect her was holding her snugly against him. She was, admittedly, fascinated at how well their bodies fit together. She couldn't help wondering how well they'd fit together in other ways, and Connor opened his eyes to find her blushing.

"Just what are you thinking, beautiful?" he said sweetly, and there was a flutter low in her stomach. She probably should have found it cheesy, but the sincerity in his voice touched her.

Tucking her face into the crook of his neck, she simply shook her head. "Thinking how lucky I am. And how I was an idiot for not knowing it for so long. That you were right there in front of me."

Connor laughed low and deep and she could feel the reverberation against her body. She had to admit, she liked that. "Hard to miss me, love, I'm pretty large."

Grinning, Abby simply leaned up, pressing a series of soft kisses to his lips. It didn't take long before he was kissing right back, first hesitantly, as if he believed she'd change her mind, and then eagerly. They didn't pull apart again until they heard voices in the distance.

"Jenny!" she gasped, and Connor looked at her with a wide grin. He slid out from under her and wiggled his way to his feet, using the wall for support. Twisting sideways, he reached down to help her up before easing out of the crack in the mountain.

He peered outside to see not just Jenny and Sarah, but Becker and several soldiers as well. "They've called in reinforcements," he said to her and she slipped up behind him to watch. "Guys, be careful!" he called. "There's a creature out there! We don't know what it is."

Becker burst out laughing, and he, Sarah, and Jenny came jogging over. Connor glanced over his shoulder at Abby with surprise before stepping out with her right behind him. "You guys were afraid of this?" Becker asked, and lumbering behind him was the lion creature, full mane billowing in the post-storm breeze, looking somewhat bewildered. "He probably just wanted to play with you."

Sarah couldn't even begin to hide her giggles. "What, did you see him and just take off?"

"You could've been sleeping in your uncomfortable sleeping bags last night, but noooo," Jenny added, grinning. "Had to send out the search party."

Connor and Abby gave each other sheepish glances. "So...how did you guys get here so fast?" he asked Becker. Abby had a hold of his arm and was ready to hide her face in it in humiliation.

That classic, girl-winning smile lit Becker's face. "We were already on our way. Lester realized about two hours after he put you lot on the plane that having you out here alone was a mistake."

"You two head back to camp," Jenny suggested, her tone somewhere between maternal and leader. "We've found the anomaly, we'll see this guy through it and meet you back there. You could probably do with a rest."

Her pink cheeks glowing, Abby slid her hand down Connor's arm to link their fingers together. "Looks like we missed all the fun," he said, but he smiled as she gave his hand a squeeze.

"Oh, I don't know about that," she told him, standing on her toes to kiss him firmly. "I think we managed quite a bit of fun on our own.”

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
alyse
Oct. 31st, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
EEEE!

The noise of glee I'm making is so high pitched only dogs can hear me now ::g::

This was adorable! And the lion creature! And the kissing in the cave!

Thank you :)
facing_the_wind
Oct. 31st, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
Is that why my dog keeps growling??

I'm glad you liked it. I was SO afraid it wasn't going to be done in time. Meep!! I kept trying to think of ideas I could work better but that darned camping trip grabbed me and refused to let go.
prehistoriccat
Oct. 31st, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
That was adorable!!!
facing_the_wind
Oct. 31st, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I'm glad it worked out. :)
evenstar_estel
Nov. 1st, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
That was splendid! It was angsty and sweet, sad and funny and all sorts of other lovely things. I'm delighted you set it in New Zealand as I've always wanted to visit, especially because of The Lord of the Rings! I'm always happy when Connor breaks down Abby's defences and get her to face herself and him and how good they can be for each other. Loved this!
facing_the_wind
Nov. 1st, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It kinda makes me giggle because originally I was going to send them to Sumatra, but I got to playing on a volcano website, MY inner LOTR fan popped out, channeled the LOTR fan in Connor, and it was downhill from there!

And I honestly can't WAIT to see how Connor finally gets through to her in s4. Abby NEEDS him, doesn't she see that??
dominique012
Nov. 1st, 2010 10:00 am (UTC)
Fantastic fic! :) Loved the way you wrote them - seemed very real and sweet and funny. Also, your description of their expedition was so well written, really worked so well. :)
facing_the_wind
Nov. 1st, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! Describing the picture in my head was the scariest part! Glad you think it worked. :)
deinonychus_1
Nov. 9th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
awwww. That was lovely, and so very them. Glad Connor stood up for himself with what he saw as Abby messing him around, and Abby finally figured out how she really felt.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )