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fanfic: Broken Pieces - athene
fanfic: Broken Pieces

Title: Broken Pieces
Author: Athene
Fandom: Primeval
Pairing/characters: Connor/Abby.
Rating: PG
Warnings: Mild language. Is ‘excessive angst’ a warning?
Spoilers: 2.4, 2.7
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: approx 1900
Summary: If you kick a man down enough times, sooner or later he’ll stop getting up again. 

            Abby hated the nights like this. When sleep never came, and every waking moment sent her mind spiralling into a cycle of questions and hurt. She was staring into the not-quite darkness when she heard the click of a light switch from the room next door, and then the sound of Connor padding quietly downstairs. Abby knew he had been sleeping about as badly as she had lately. She glanced at the clock. 2.53AM.

            Sod it.

            Abby got up and pulled on some underwear and a dressing gown, and headed down after him.

            “Sorry. Did I wake you?” Connor mumbled when she found him in the kitchen making a drink.

            “I was already awake.”


            Connor got a second cup out of the cupboard and seemed to be making coffee on automatic pilot. Abby watched him, wondering exactly when in the last few months the sight of him wandering around the flat in just his shorts and t-shirt had stopped being annoying, and become just another part of their daily lives. Probably around the same time that his incessant chatter about life, the universe and everything had also blended into the background and become another part of the soundtrack to her life.

            Only... there hadn’t been so much of that recently. The chatter. Like now, and Abby had a moment to wonder why they were both just standing here in the kitchen without saying a damn word to each other. Why Connor had barely even looked at her since she joined him.

            “There you go.” Connor handed her a coffee and when they finally looked at each other Abby saw the same questions, the same sleeplessness, the same unshed tears that she knew were in her own eyes. For a second he looked like he was going to say something, but then he just went through to sit on the sofa.

            This wasn’t the Connor that she used to know. She wondered briefly about evil alien clones until a tiny, tight smile found its way onto her face. Maybe she hadn’t tuned out all that chatter as well as she thought she had.

            Abby followed and curled up next to him on the sofa.

            “Are you okay?” she asked.

            He smiled a little too brightly and looked away a little too fast.

            “Yeah. Just... you know.” He shrugged.

            “I miss Stephen as well,” Abby said quietly.

            Of all the unspoken things between them lately, Stephen’s death was almost certainly the biggest. Abby thought maybe it was time those things stopped being unspoken.


            “I still can’t believe he’s dead.”

            “Yeah,” Connor said again, staring at his drink.

            That was all, just, ‘yeah’. Somehow Abby was still surprised, even now. Ever since Stephen’s death his usual enthusiasm had seemed muted, as if he were just going through the motions of what people expected from him, and he occasionally drifted into these spells of becoming practically monosyllabic.

            “I know it’s always been a risk, but you never think it’s actually going to happen. Not to one of us.” Abby wasn’t certain she was making much sense, but tonight she just wanted to talk, no matter how hard it was. “I know we’ve lost soldiers and stuff before, but this was the first time it’s been someone we really knew and cared about.”

            Abby abruptly stopped talking when she saw Connor flinch and turn away. It took her a few seconds to work out why, and when she did she wanted to crawl into a hole. Tom.

            “Oh god, Connor, I’m sorry.” She trailed off when he just shrugged again, still looking away.

            “It’s okay.”

            But it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t okay in the slightest, and Abby was torn between wanting to somehow make up for her insensitivity and not wanting to hurt him any further by talking about it.

            “Do you want to talk about stuff?” She eventually asked.


            Abby was startled; the blunt rejection was so unexpected. She reached across and gently stroked the back of his hand.

            “It might help-”

            Connor snatched his hand away, stood up and rounded on her.

            “It’s got nothing to do with bloody Stephen,” he shouted, eyes blazing not with grief but with fury.

            “Connor.” But Abby had no idea what to say.

            “Not everything’s about Stephen,” he said, the words coming fast and angry. “Except it is, isn’t it? Everything’s about Stephen because that’s the big important thing. Everything else just doesn’t compare to that. Only it does. All that stuff with Caroline, am I just supposed to forget it? Pretend it didn’t happen? Just get over it? Because I can’t. It might not matter to anyone else, but it matters to me. What she did. I... I feel stupid, and betrayed, and it bloody hurts, only I’m not supposed to say anything because if I do it’s like I’m being selfish because Stephen being dead is so much bigger, so much more important than Caroline, and people will think I don’t care or something if I’m thinking about my love life before other stuff and then I feel guilty as well as every other bloody thing. And I’m sick of it, Abby. I’m just sick of it all.”

            The silence that followed was absolute.

            Abby had never known he was capable of such anger, not even when they had been arguing about Caroline. For all that Connor normally displayed his every emotion so blatantly, Abby honestly had no clue about how much Caroline had hurt him, and she felt suddenly guilty for not having thought of it sooner. But then, this was the first real emotion she had seen since his initial reaction to hearing about Stephen’s death. Since then, Abby realised, it was as if he had become closed off, careful with his emotions, guarded.

            Screw that.

She stood up and gently took the coffee cup out of his hand and put it down beside her own. Connor was silent after his outburst, but his entire body seemed to be trembling, and Abby realised just how tightly wound he was. If it had been anyone but Connor she might have been a little afraid of getting close, but this was Connor, her friend, probably her best friend, the one man she trusted completely with her life. Abby slid her arms around him and just held him close. If anything his tension only increased, but then Abby gently wrapped a hand around the back of his neck, and tugged his head down onto her shoulder.

            “Connor, it’s okay,” she whispered. “You’re not selfish, and you’re not stupid, and this is not your fault.”

            For a moment she thought he was going to pull away, but then the fight drained out of him, and he tentatively slipped his arms round her waist and just breathed deeply against her neck.

Abby sighed. This, being in Connor’s arms, it felt... right. And not just in a platonic way. Not any more. Abby wasn’t entirely certain she wanted to think about the word ‘love’, not just yet, but she knew that what she and Connor had went beyond simple friendship, and after everything else that had happened lately she was suddenly very sure that she didn’t want to wait any longer to explore what that really meant. Maybe she could be the one to pick up the broken pieces left behind by that bitch Caroline.

            Abby tentatively threaded her fingers into his hair, and turned her head slightly until her lips ghosted across his cheek. Connor almost physically jumped, and only her hands around him stopped him pulling back. When he lifted his face the expression there was just so bewildered, so full of all the raw emotion that he had been hiding lately, and Abby couldn’t stop herself leaning in and kissing him. Something squirmed and twisted in her chest when she felt his mouth open slightly beneath hers. She kept it slow and sweet and tentative, just the way that she had imagined it would be with Connor. And she had imagined it, so many times, almost as many times as she had imagined what it would be like to lose him. Abby didn’t want to think about how screwed up their lives were that love and death seemed so inextricably entwined. Right then she didn’t want to think about anything other than Connor, just Connor right here in her arms.

            His hands moved until he was holding her hips, and then he held her in place as he slowly stepped backwards away from her.

            “Abby. Don’t,” he pleaded in a voice that had absolutely no strength.

            What the hell?

            “Connor? What? I thought you wanted...?” Abby suddenly felt cold where his body was no longer leaning against her.

            “But you don’t want. You’ve never wanted.” He paused, but his eyes never left hers. “Abby, I can’t take any more lies. Please, don’t do this unless it’s real.”

In that moment Abby swore she could see every single rejection reflected in his expression. Every mocking comment. Every ignored advance. Every denial of the truth between them.

Apparently Caroline wasn’t the only bitch who had screwed him over.

It was that realisation that stunned Abby into silence. When Connor hadn’t found his answer within a few moments he let go of her and took another step back. He looked like he was going to say something else, but then he turned and headed for the stairs, taking them two at a time going back to his room so fast he was almost running.

Abby crumpled back onto the sofa. Shit. Shit, shit, shit. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. She had always imagined he would be happy, had expected that surprised grin that made his whole face light up. She had assumed he would say yes. She had become so used to the fact that he was so open with his emotions, so eager to offer his heart even when a man with less optimism and more common sense would have given up long ago. It had just become another constant in her life, like his chatter. Just as her rejections must have become a constant in his life. Even after he had said... those words. Even then she hadn’t given him anything, she had only pushed him so that she could hear the words again, pushed him to give everything while she still held back. There had always been an excuse not to show him how she felt. Caroline. Rex. Stephen. All just irrelevant excuses to avoid admitting the truth.

Well, look where that had got them.

            He had finally reached the stage where he had been kicked in the teeth once too often, and now he was reluctant to get back up, afraid to be hurt again. His heart was closed, even to her.

Abby didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the irony. The only thing she did know was that she was going to have to tread carefully if she wanted Connor to open up to her again. And she did want that, she wanted it more than anything. No, that wasn’t true; more than anything she just wanted to see him happy again. That would be a good enough start. Then she could work on the rest.

For the first time Abby understood that Connor’s love was no longer a given. If she wanted him to trust her with his heart again Abby knew she was going to have to earn that trust. 


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42 comments or Leave a comment
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lukadreaming From: lukadreaming Date: May 18th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is spot-on. I can just see Connor keeping it all bottled up, but absolutely ripped apart inside by everything that's happened to him and the others. I like Abby's realisation that she will have to work hard to make him trust her. Lovely story.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I figured when they get out of the complex and aren't being chased by dinosaurs or Leek's soldiers it's going to hit him, and he's going to have a big emotional reaction to the fact that what he thought was a serious relationship was all just a lie. But then with the news of Stephen's death coming fast behind that the poor boy's going to be all kinds of confused and hurt.
fredbassett From: fredbassett Date: May 18th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice. I love the moment when she realises she's been one of the people who have hurt him. Poor Connor.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's one of the things that annoyed me in 2.4 - Abby has spent a series and a half constantly rejecting him, and then looks upset when he runs off with Caroline at the end of the episode rather than staying and declaring his undying love for her, and probably getting another rejection for his trouble.

Ooops, now I think of it, I hope this one didn't come out as being too harsh on Abby. It was my first attempt to write Connor/Abby from her pov rather than his.
fififolle From: fififolle Date: May 18th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I think excessive angst is a reasonable warning! I had my head in my hands, the angst was so strong. Poor, poor Connor. I think I was as shocked as Abby at all the twists and turns. Brilliant. Now come on, Abby, you can do it, girl!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
memo to me: less angst in future. But yeah, poor Connor. I'm sure Abby can win him round eventually though, and maybe it'll do their relationship good for her to do the chasing for a change.
telperion_15 From: telperion_15 Date: May 18th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
That whole thing with Caroline was glossed over a bit at the end wasn't it? I know she redeemed herself with Rex, and there was that bit at the funeral, but we never really saw how much Connor was hurt by what she'd done, and how much that you have knocked his confidence and self-esteem.

Which is why I love this, and I think it's spot-on how he's not just going to go running into Abby's arms just because she's finally got a clue. Great job.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. As you say, the whole Caroline thing was glossed over at the end in the face of the much larger issue of Stephen's death. I'd like to see some ramifications from that in Connor and Abby's relationship in S3, but I very much doubt we'll see any real reaction or change in their relationship because of it.

From what little we know of Connor prior to S1, it seems a fair bet that Caroline was his first serious adult relationship, and finding out that the entire thing was a lie is really going to affct how he approaches any future relationships, even with Abby, maybe *especially* with Abby. Now he's always going to have a nagging doubt about how far he can really trust anyone. Again, it would be nice to see that development in the show, but I that's another thing I don't think we'll get.
bigtitch From: bigtitch Date: May 18th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Love this. I like the angst and I really like the fact that there isn't an easy happy ending.
Great stuff!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. And happy birthday.

I seem to be incapable of writing truly happy endings whenever it comes to relationship fics. Which is odd because when I'm reading rather than writing I love a really good happy-ever-after romance story.
reggietate From: reggietate Date: May 18th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, ouch! Just... ouch! Poor Connor. Poor Abby. Really great take on the aftermath of S2.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. Poor Connor indeed. Torn between being offered the thing that he really wants, but not wanting to be hurt again. And by the time Abby works out what she wants it's just that bit too late.

missyvortexdv From: missyvortexdv Date: May 18th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
The extreme angst works really well here. I can see that happening perfectly well and great to see it explored in fic, but hope for a followup. ;)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, that's encouraging because at one point I was worried it was *too* angsty.

I seem to be well into a Connor/Abby het writng phase at the monent, and while I won't promise anything, there might be more fic for this scenario. It would be interesting to see just how Abby decided to pursue Connor for a change, and what she intends to do to win his trust.
x_bellaitalia_x From: x_bellaitalia_x Date: May 18th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excess angst is a very good warning! This was almost painful to read in places. But it was nice to read some fic from Abby's POV, I haven't read much of it, and nice to see Connor having some pride and not just falling into her arms because she finally decided she could like him in 'that' way. This would be a good way for serie 3 to pan out!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 18th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

"nice to see Connor having some pride and not just falling into her arms because she finally decided she could like him in 'that' way"

Yeah, that's pretty much what I'd like to see more of, both in fic and in the series.
mysteriousaliwz From: mysteriousaliwz Date: May 18th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor, poor Connor. It's about time Abby realised that she can't take him for granted. Go and woo him properly! The lad deserves it *nods*

Nice angsty fic.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 19th, 2008 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I am evil to the poor lad, aren't I? But Abby definitely needs to put some work into the relationship for a change, that would be nice to see.
alyse From: alyse Date: May 19th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eep! Very well done, but you are going to fix them, right?

deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 19th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I *might* fix them. *looks shifty*

Trouble is, as I said to Bigtitch, I seem to have real difficulty writing properly happy endings for romance. Maybe that should be my challenge for the month - write a follow on from this that leads to a happy ending. Although damned if I can think of how Abby is going to approach the problem now.
xlondonferryx From: xlondonferryx Date: January 19th, 2009 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I definitely want Abby to have this kind of realization in the show. You wrote this so in character, lovely!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: January 20th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. Poor Connor and Abby don't seem to have a very easy ride with their relationship. But it would be nice for Abby to make an affort as well if she really does want him.
daxie42 From: daxie42 Date: May 26th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
*sniffs* This is so sad :( It's nice to read a fic that deals with how Stephen's death affected Connor and Abby, it felt wrong that season 3 started after they'd all had a bit of time to move on. Connor's reaction to Abby's advances are totally in character and I loved Abby's realisation in the end this is absolutely fantastic!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 26th, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, glad you liked this one. When I write Connor and Abby in drabbles it tends to be fun and silly, but sometimes it's nice to get stuck into some angst with the pair of them.

I wanted to see more of how Caroline's betrayal affected Connor but that was another thing that the show completely ignored. Because really, we got the impression that Caroline was his first proper relationship, and then it turned out that it wasn't real and she was playing him all along, that has to have been a blow to his confidence and self esteem, and it wouldn't be surprising if it affected his readiness to trust any one in a romantic sense in future.

Edited at 2009-05-26 12:11 pm (UTC)
szychogirl From: szychogirl Date: July 31st, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Apparently Caroline wasn’t the only bitch who had screwed him over. great line!!

...pushed him so that she could hear the words again, pushed him to give everything while she still held back another great line!!!

bravo =]
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: August 2nd, 2009 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
poor Conor and Abby, I do like the angst with those two so much. Thanks for commenting. I just wish we'd seen more after-effect in the show itself of what Caroline's betrayal and lies had done to Connor and how it affected his relationship with Abby, and his ability to trust people.
knitekat From: knitekat Date: August 13th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely angsty story. Nice moment when Abby realises she has hurt Connor and can't just expect his trust.
Hugs Connor.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: August 16th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. *hugs Connnor as well*. Abby definitely needs to treat him better (especially in S3, grrrrrrrr), or else sooner or later he's going to gather up whatever self esteem he's got left and tell her to stop playing games with him.
lsellersfic From: lsellersfic Date: September 8th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes! That deals very believably with the Caroline fall out on Connor.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: September 8th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. Yet another instance where fic has to fill in the gaps that the programme just glosses over and ignores, unfortunately.
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