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Mistletoe And Whine by alyse [Reviews - 4]
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Category: Primeval > Het > Abby/Connor
Characters: Abby Maitland, Connor Temple, Rex
Rating: PG
Genres: Friendship, Romance
Warnings: None

Summary: In life, there's always a time for planning and a time for being spontaneous. But sometimes plans go awry.



Story Notes:
Written as a treat for Cadhla for Yuletide 2009, who wanted Primeval and Abby/Connor. I hope you enjoy it, Cadhla, and Merry Yule!

Many thanks to A for the beta.

Spoilers: Set in Series 3, but no major spoilers except for something that happens between Abby and Connor in 3.08


In life, there was always a time for planning and a time for being spontaneous. Abby had always favoured the latter - it made life exciting, anyway, and she seldom regretted the results as much as she regretted missed opportunities. She supposed, in some way, she'd got that adventurous spirit from her parents. It wasn't for nothing that she'd spent her youth travelling around from one place to another. If it hadn't been for that, she'd never have visited the Galapagos Islands, never have become a Lizard Girl.

Never have become involved in the Anomaly Project. And any regrets she had about that were few and far between.

She regretted Connor. No. She regretted the way she'd treated Connor, the way she'd blown, hot and cold, never quite sure what - or who - she wanted. Maybe she even regretted the fact that she'd slotted him ever so neatly into that box called 'friend' at first rather than taking him seriously; once he was in there, it took her a while to realise he was misfiled. The regrets she had about Stephen were of a whole different kind.

But there was no use in dwelling on mistakes she'd made or the few regrets she had. It was time for action, and that was right up her street.

Hence the planning.

Connor, she was beginning to realise, wouldn't make the first move. Maybe that was because she'd shot him down so many times that he'd finally learnt to keep his head below the parapet. Maybe it was because he was all talk and no trousers.

Maybe it was because he was genuinely that clueless, completely stuck about what to do next, even after she'd kissed him. But surely even Connor couldn't be that slow on the uptake? Whatever the reason, it meant that whatever happened next was left to her.

Good job she was the action half of their duo.

Even so, given that she was dealing with Connor she kept it simple, doing something so clear, that represented such a golden opportunity, that not even Connor could miss it. And if he did - well, it would be down to her again. She was getting used to that.

Of course, the thing she should have remembered about plans was that they never went smoothly. Not for her. There was a reason she tended to stick with the spontaneous.

Still. At least when Rex decided that he was going to vomit on them from a height, he missed her. Connor's shoes weren't quite that lucky.

"Oh, Rex. Mate," Connor said while she simply stood there and stared, half caught between laughter and horror. "Thanks."

The worry ended up beating both of her first reactions to the finish line. "Rex," she called. "Hey, are you okay?"

He peered down at her miserably from his perch at the top of the stairs and she hurried up to him, pushing her way past Connor, who was still staring at his shoes and grumbling under his breath. "Hey." Rex shivered a little under her soothing hand, still looking distinctly unhappy, but his temperature felt good and his colour didn't seem off. Of course, then he threw up again, and this time a little of it splashed onto her shoes as well as the floor.

"I'll take that as a no, then," she said, grimly. Rex chirruped, butting her hand with his head.

"What on earth has he been eating?" asked Connor, making it up the stairs and grimacing. "Whatever it is, it's really disgusting."

Eating. Oh, crap. Her heart sank as she scanned the ceiling, looking for the small bunch of greenery she'd hung there earlier, back when she'd had plans. She found it; it was rather more ragged than she remembered.

"Oh, Rex."

She was so bloody stupid.

"It's the mistletoe," she said, the fear and the misery clear in her voice. "He's eaten the mistletoe."

Connor blinked at her, the thoughts that crossed his mind - and his face - too rapid for her to follow. "Okay," he said as she stroked her fingers along Rex's frill comfortingly. "So what do we do?"

She paused, thinking rapidly. "We can't take him to the vet's," she said. "I mean, they'll never buy he's whatever exotic species name I make up or try to pass him off as. And the ARC doesn't have a proper vet yet, no matter how many times I try to talk Lester into it."

"So it's down to you."

"Yes." The thought wasn't a comforting one. "And it's my fault."

"Hey." When she didn't respond immediately, he said it again, still gently. "Hey. It's not your fault. He's going to be fine, okay?"

She breathed in raggedly, blinking her eyes rapidly. "Okay."

"So what do we do first?"

He sounded so confident, like he never doubted for a second that Rex would be fine, that she'd make sure he was fine, and now she had to blink for an entirely different reason. But he touched her arm, just gently, and it steadied her.

"Emetic," she said and he snorted, glancing around.

"Don't think that's going to be a problem, actually."

"Other than that... I'm not sure. Observation, usually, I think."

He nodded, his dark eyes serious. "Look, why don't you sit with him for a while?" Another grimace as he looked at his shoes, and then at hers. "I'll clean this up."

"Thanks, Connor." The smile she gave him was genuine, in spite of her worry. "I just can't believe I could be so stupid."

He looked around and spotted the bunch she'd hung over the kitchen counter, right where they had breakfast every morning and a cup of tea every evening. "That it?"

"Yeah."

He gave her a strange little look, before walking over to hook it down and bring it across to her, turning it over and over in his fingers. "It looks nibbled at, but not much more than that. How much more was there?"

"Not much more than that," she said, unconsciously echoing his words.

"So... exactly how poisonous is it?"

She looked at him blankly, unable to answer him. She knew enough to know that it shouldn't be in horse feed, and that was about it.

"I mean... birds eat it, don't they?"

"I... think so."

"Well, I know Rex isn't a bird, but birds and dinosaurs... well." It was sweet of him to try and reassure her but it didn't ease the guilt. "Look... just stay there with him, and I'll go and find out."

"How?" It wasn't like Connor could call a vet for advice either - he was completely useless at lying at the best of times. No way would he be able to come up with a convincing story. There'd been a reason they'd had Jenny on board.

"Same way you find out anything," he answered. "I'm going to google it."

It was so typically Connor an answer that, in spite of her worry, she couldn't help but smile. But then, maybe attracted by the sound of his voice, Sid and Nancy tumbled down the stairs from his bedroom, making those excited little half-yips, half-barking sounds they made whenever they realised that the pair of them were home.

"Hey, guys." Nancy headed straight towards their shoes, snuffling at them as Connor did a weird little half-dance backwards to try and keep her away from them. "On second thoughts, why don't I clear this up before these guys get any ideas, and then google it."

She smiled again, although it was more strained this time, and sank down onto the floor, her back against the banister with Rex cradled in her lap, drooping pathetically. Sid bounded over and snuffled at Rex instead, deciding that he was more interesting than whatever his pack-mate had found.

Connor jogged back from the kitchen with a wet dishcloth, his socks slipping a little on the wood floor until he skidded to a stop near her and gave her a little half-grin. "If you take your shoes off, I'll stick them in the sink with mine. Now..." He turned back towards the small pool of stick vomit near the top of the stairs. "You owe me, Rex, mate."

"I owe you, too," she said and he hesitated, flushing slightly. She caught the small, pleased smile on his face as he ducked his head to hide it. She left him to it, all of her attention focused on Rex.

"...Abby?"

"Yeah?" She stroked her fingers down Rex's spine, and he chirruped again, coming out like a purr.

"I don't think it's the mistletoe."

That caught her attention. "What?"

"Well, I admit I'm not an expert at this, but it looks very much to me like Rex has been into one of your Christmas presents... Gimme a sec?"

"What?" she called after him as Connor bounced up the stairs into his room, taking the steps two at a time.

"Yeah." His voice drifted back to her, a little muffled, and then his head appeared over the balcony, his hair ruffled and his face flushed. "Sorry. Looks like he found those chocolates I bought you. Guess you're down one Christmas present."

"Oh, for..."

Connor winced, like it was him she was mad at rather than at Rex for scaring the life out of her. Still. She was getting rid of the mistletoe at the first available opportunity. No point in taking any chances.

"Sorry," he said, as he headed back down the few steps from his room to the main floor. "I'll be more careful in future, promise."

"It's not your fault," she said. "I honestly thought..." She trailed off, and it helped that he settled himself down on the floor beside her, letting his fingers trail down over Rex's back the way hers had been doing.

"I'm so stupid," she added, miserably, and he nudged her with his shoulder, smiling at her when she looked up from her contemplation of Rex.

"It's not your fault, either," he said.

"I should have realised that mistletoe and pets don't mix."

"These aren't exactly normal pets, though, are they?" He shrugged his shoulders, obviously thinking about it. "I mean, anything could be dangerous for them, but it's probably less dangerous here than it was back where they came from."

"I don't know," said Abby. "I mean, there's your cooking..."

He nudged her again, grinning broadly. Then: "Abby...?"

"Yeah?" Rex nudged at her fingers, obviously looking for some more affection even though his poorly tummy was self-inflicted.

"Why... why did you get mistletoe anyway? I mean," he added, in a rush, "are you... were you going to ask someone around to the flat?"

She stopped paying attention to Rex and paid attention to Connor instead, giving him a long, steady look that lasted until he finally got it. He flushed again, the colour rushing up into his cheeks, looking pleased and a little hopeful.

He reached up, twisting his arm until he managed to catch hold of the small bunch of mistletoe he'd left on the banister. He held it up when he had hold of it, twisting it around so that the berries caught the light. "I suppose you'll want some more, then." Still hopeful, and the look in his eyes made her heart beat just a little faster.

She looked at him for a long, steady moment - just looked at him and took the sight of his face in.

"No," she said, and his face fell, his expression wavering for a moment until he managed to cover it up, like he always tried to do when she'd disappointed him. She raised her hand, placing it gently on his cheek and stroking along his skin. It was softer than Rex's, even when she could feel his stubble prickling under her fingertips. She guided his face towards her, and pressed her mouth against his, soft and slow, Rex forgotten between them.

"I don't need it anymore."

The End






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