Title: One Moment In Time
Warnings: Smut, fluff.
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: approx 4520
Summary: It’s not just another day in the Cretaceous
AN: Written for tay_21 for the primeval_denial secret santa, based on the prompts Christmas Eve romantic and Christmas Eve unexpected snow fall.
Connor was in the middle of pulverising some roots into a vaguely edible mush when something occurred to him. He paused mid-pound, his hands hovering in the air holding the rounded stone, and his brow furrowed slightly as his brain turned the thought over a few times.
“Abby? Do you know what day it is?”
Abby glanced up from across by the fire, where she was hardening their new spear-tips in the heat.
Connor put his stone down and rummaged in his rucksack until he found the notebook. He had been trying to keep track of the passage of time ever since they got stuck in the Cretaceous, and, give or take a few days, he was fairly certain he had kept an accurate record.
“We’ve been here 138 days. That makes it Christmas Eve.”
Abby regarded him with an unreadable expression for a few moments, and then turned her attention back to the fire.
“So? It’s just another day, Connor. It doesn’t make a difference. Not here.”
Connor put the notebook away, and started crushing roots again, but the thought wouldn’t leave him alone.
“I know Christmas is just an arbitrary day, but it’s not the date that’s important, it’s what people make of it. Christmas is important because people make it important. We should do something to celebrate.”
“What do you want to do, Connor? Decorate the cave?” There was a faintly impatient, mocking tone to Abby’s voice, but Connor ignored it.
Abby looked up at him again, and this time the impatience was barely suppressed.
“We have to survive, Connor.”
“I know that,” Connor said, determined to make his point. “But Abby, we’ve been here for over four months. We know how to survive. We’ve spent four months surviving. But I think somewhere along the way we were so caught up with just surviving that we forgot how to live.” He gave a frustrated shrug. “I know it’s not rational or practical or sensible. But for just one day I want to do something that isn’t just about survival.”
For a moment Connor thought that Abby was going to dismiss his suggestion outright, but then her expression softened into a smile.
“We’ve been okay for food recently, we’re not going to starve right now, I suppose. Maybe we could take a break for a while and do something different.”
Connor felt a hopeful smile forming. “If we can catch some fish, maybe we could have a proper meal, with fish and nuts and berries and mushrooms and everything. Make it like a proper Christmas dinner, only, you know, without the turkey and stuff.”
Abby rolled her eyes, but it was a gesture of amusement rather than impatience this time.
“All right. But we’re going to have to finish this and then spend the rest of the day gathering food to make it really good. The mushroom patch is a couple of hours walk away, don’t forget.”
“Cool!” Connor went back to pounding the roots with a new vigour, eager to get started on Operation Christmas.
Abby had to admit she had been sceptical about the whole thing at first, but she also had to admit it seemed to have done wonders for Connor’s mood. They had spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon collecting food, working in a large circular route that took them to the spot where the berries grew and then on to the mushroom patch, and coming back via the stream that ran close to their cave to check the fish traps. It had taken them a few months to really fully explore their immediate area and discover the various sources of food, and a while of trial and error to identify what was safe to eat (they had both suffered a night or two of bad stomachs after trying things that turned out to be dodgy).
Mindful of the need to not deplete any one area of gatherable supplies too badly, they tended to vary which food sites they visited week by week, so they were both tired by the time they got back from the longer than usual round trip. Nevertheless, Connor still seemed as enthusiastic now as he had been when they set off. Abby was sure she could even hear him humming a tune while he crouched at the edge of the stream, rinsing the berries and mushrooms.
Abby sat a little way away skinning the fish with various tools that they had made from conveniently shaped stones and sharpened sticks. It was crude, and they frequently had to replace and remake the tools, but it got the job done. They had quickly discovered that while Connor had a good mind for designing and building fish traps, and enough stomach for bashing them over the head to kill them, he was no use whatsoever when it came to skinning and preparing them.
Connor was really getting into this Christmas thing, Abby realised. This was the most energised, the most enthusiastic that she had seen him for a long time, possibly even as far back as the first couple of weeks, when he had been constantly tinkering with the anomaly opening device, convinced that he could make it work and they could find Danny and get home reasonably quickly. Abby hadn’t noticed at the time, she had probably been too focussed on simply surviving, but looking back she realised that as the days slipped by Connor’s trademark enthusiasm had ebbed away. He smiled less. He rarely laughed. He even talked less than he used to. Maybe he was right, Abby decided. Maybe they had been so caught up in the practicalities of surviving that they had forgotten how to just live and be happy.
Well, that wasn’t entirely true, she reflected with a smile. Somewhat inevitably the situation had forced them to confront their feelings about each other (or rather, Abby had confronted her feelings about Connor - Connor’s feelings had been blatantly obvious for some time by that point) and they had finally stopped dancing around each other and become partners in all senses of the word. Of course, the lack of a few essential things such as contraceptives had prevented them going quite as far as they would have liked. But even so, that still left them with more than enough things that they could do, and those were the times when they both allowed themselves to properly relax and pretend that they weren’t trapped millions of years in the past, just for a little while.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Connor asked, breaking Abby out of her thoughts. He was watching her with a quizzical expression. “Do I look funny or something?”
“No more funny than usual,” Abby replied with a mischievous smile.
“Oi!” Connor flicked water at her, but most of it missed by a long way.
“Come on, let’s get back to the cave and start cooking this lot. It’ll be getting dark in a couple of hours.”
They gathered up their food and supplies and returned to their little shelter, the place they had tried to make into a home for the last few months.
Soon the fire was fed and burning brightly, the flames dancing and crackling. They wrapped the fish in leaves and laid it out on the hot stones at the edge of the fire, and then it was simply a matter of waiting and turning the fish occasionally to make sure it was cooked through evenly.
While they waited, Connor took out his notebook and tore a page out of it and started fiddling. Abby watched until curiosity got the better of her.
“What are you doing?”
“You know? Snowflakes. Where you fold the paper over and over and over, and then cut triangles and shapes out of the edges, and then when you open it out it’s a snowflake.”
Abby realised what he meant when he unfolded the first one and demonstrated a rather torn, ragged roughly possibly-with-a-great-leap-of-the-imagin
She reached across and ripped a page out of the notebook for herself and started to fold it into a triangle and create her own snowflake.
“We used to make these at school and stick them in the classroom windows at Christmas,” Connor said as they worked. “And when I was really little I’d make them for Mum to hang on the tree.” He glanced up with a slightly self-deprecating smile. “I don’t think they were very good, to be honest. I think Mum only put them on the tree because she didn’t want to disappoint me after I put all that effort into them.”
Soon they had a small collection gathered on the floor between them in varying states of snowflake-likeness.
“We probably shouldn’t make too many,” Abby pointed out. “We don’t want to use up all the paper.”
Connor nodded. “Just one more.”
While he did that, Abby got up and poked the fish, and turned it again. Then she wandered outside into the twilight. She had an idea. While Abby was at heart a practical woman, she had seen how much enjoyment Connor seemed to be getting just from planning and doing this and making silly little snowflakes. If that was all it took to make him happy, then Abby intended to participate properly in their little Christmas holiday. It didn’t take long for her to find what she wanted, and she sat down outside and started to twist and wind twigs and reeds together into a rough circle.
“Abby?” Connor called out after a while. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m just coming.”
Abby finished fixing red berries in place and held it up for a final critical assessment. It wasn’t too bad. It certainly wasn’t any worse than some of Connor’s early attempts at paper snowflakes. She got up and headed back to the cave to find Connor sticking the paper snowflakes around the walls of the cave (she wasn’t entirely sure what he was using as glue, but suspected it might involve the muddy clay from the floor).
“What have you got there?” Connor asked, looking interested.
“It’s a Christmas wreath. I thought we could hang it or prop it up outside the entrance.”
Connor’s face lit up into the first genuine grin that Abby had seen for a very long time, and she couldn’t help smiling back.
They placed the wreath outside the entrance together, and then retreated back into the cave and settled down by the fire to have their Christmas dinner.
It was something of a strange affair, but Connor made a show of dishing out all the different ingredients, and pretending they really were eating a traditional Christmas meal. The fish became turkey, the berries were cranberry sauce, the mushrooms were carrots and roast potatoes, and the root mush was mashed potato.
“The only thing we’re missing is Yorkshire pudding and gravy,” Connor commented as he stuffed himself, licking the hot fish juices off his fingers with a grin.
Eventually they sat back, and Abby had to admit it was worth it just for the feeling of being pleasantly full, instead of the barely satisfied that they normally made do with. She suspected they might regret such extravagance over the next few days when it was harder to find food, but she pushed those thoughts away, determined to enjoy the mood while it lasted.
“Abby,” Connor said, his voice quieter than usual. “I made this for you.”
Abby looked up to see Connor giving her an embarrassed, almost shy look from under his long floppy hair. He was holding out another paper snowflake that was still partially folded. Abby took it and opened it out. In the flickering firelight she could see that this one was more intricate, more carefully cut and shaped than the others, and in Connor’s untidy handwriting there was a message written in the very centre of the snowflake – I love you.
When Abby looked up again Connor’s face was flushed a deep red that she suspected was only partly to do with the heat from the fire.
Only Connor Temple could make something as ridiculous as a paper decoration into something that held so much meaning.
“It’s lovely. Thank you, Connor.”
She leaned across to him and placed her finger along his jaw, gently tugging his face until he was looking at her, and then she kissed him. It was slow and deep and soft, and even the strong taste of fish and mushrooms couldn’t disguise the underlying taste that was uniquely Connor. He sighed softly, never once attempting to take control, and simply leaned closer and put his hand onto her waist to steady himself.
They stayed like that for a while, just kissing, as if that was all they needed. Sometimes that was all they needed, but not tonight. Abby finally broke the kiss, but stayed with her forehead pressed against his while her fingers tangled in his long, untidy hair.
“Wow. That was some ‘thank you’,” Connor said, still looking a little breathless.
Abby giggled. It never failed to amaze her how she could reduce him to almost mono-syllables with just a kiss. But nice as it was, tonight Abby intended to do far more than just kiss.
“Take your clothes off,” she whispered.
Connor’s eyes widened momentarily, and then they reluctantly broke away from each other to start stripping. It didn’t take long for Abby to realise that Connor had got as far as taking his top off before he had stopped, and was watching her with appreciative eyes as she slipped out of her top layers. Abby tried not to feel self-conscious under such intense scrutiny, and continued to remove her clothes, eventually getting as far as just her knickers and bra.
“Connor? Clothes?” she prompted.
Connor reached out and ran his fingers along the line of her shoulder and neck, coming to rest at the nape of her neck.
“You are beautiful. I never get tired of seeing you like this.”
Abby felt heat rise to her face at his words, and turned away from the firelight so that he wouldn’t see her blushing like a silly schoolgirl.
This time it was Connor who slipped his fingers under her chin and nudged her to look at him, and this time he was the one who initiated the kiss. Abby closed her eyes and let him take the lead, only moving slightly when the tickle of his beard threatened to become so bad that it spoiled the moment.
“You’re still wearing too much,” Abby breathed when the kiss finally ended. “And you’re not the only one who likes to admire the view, you know.”
Connor grinned, and quickly took the rest of his clothes off until he was kneeling before her, entirely naked, his eyes once again seeming to drink in the sight of her body. Abby put a hand in the centre of his chest and gently pushed until he got the idea and lay back. She hadn’t been kidding about admiring the view, and after all these months of constant exercise he was no longer the skinny geek that she had met so long ago. Soft flesh had become hard muscled contours, occasionally marred by the line of a scar or an unhealed bruise. And yet, beneath the hard action man body there was still the same soft, loveable, innocent Connor.
Abby let her gaze travel down his body to his cock, which was already extremely interested in proceedings. Okay, maybe not so innocent any more, she reflected.
Abby paused to take off the last of her underwear, and had just turned and dropped it on top of the pile of clothes when Connor pounced and they both tumbled to the ground, Connor ending up on top. He propped himself up on an elbow so he wasn’t squashing her, and grinned mischievously.
“You were taking too long ogling. I got bored of waiting.
“So what are you going to do now you’ve got me?” Abby smirked. They both knew that if she wanted to, Abby could reverse their positions in a second without even breaking sweat. But that, of course, implied that she would want to.
“I was thinking of starting with this,” Connor said.
He placed a kiss on the end of Abby’s nose, and then shifted so that he could move down her body, placing soft, gentle kisses on her collarbone, on each breast, and on down her stomach. Abby writhed beneath him, trying to quell the sensation of tickling from his beard that yet again threatened to spoil the moment. She felt Connor’s fingers trailing slowly up her thigh as he continued to nuzzle her hip. Abby could feel herself becoming wet for him, and wriggled impatiently when his hand stopped short.
“And then,” Connor said conversationally, “I was thinking of following with this.”
He began to move back up her body, again nuzzling and kissing in seemingly random places, but this time there was more force behind it, more urgency. He looked up into her eyes and slowly, deliberately lowered his mouth to her breast, at the same moment his fingers slipped into her wet folds.
Abby arched up into him, moaning as pleasure coursed through her at his touch. Connor had learned quickly what she liked, and never failed to use that knowledge in his apparent quest to drive her wild, teasing every moment, every sensation out for as long as possible. His mouth started to explore again, licking and sucking and very occasionally teeth nipping, all the while letting his fingers continue to stimulate her until it felt like every nerve in Abby’s body was on fire.
“Please,” she begged, barely aware of the word falling from her lips.
Connor’s mouth latched onto her collarbone again, and without warning his skilful fingers pushed her over the edge and Abby arched up again, crying out his name, her fists tightening in his hair just for the desperate need for something to hold onto.
When she opened her eyes again she was lying in Connor’s arms. There was a smile in his dark brown eyes, along with fascination as he watched her. Abby wriggled happily and snuggled closer. She didn’t need to guess the reason when Connor gasped as she wriggled a little too close against his cock.
For the second time Abby pushed him to lie on his back, and then she propped herself on one elbow and began to stroke his chest with feather-light touches, lingering here and there on scars, and gently kissing each one. When she glanced up at him, Connor’s eyes had fluttered closed, and he mewled quietly when Abby touched his cock and ran her fingers along its length. She took as much time as he had with her, teasing and playing until he was whimpering quietly, his eyes tight closed the whole time. She knew he wouldn’t last long, no matter how much they both wanted to draw out the pleasure. As soon as she recognised the signs that he was close, Abby wrapped her hand tighter around his cock and pumped hard, closing her mouth over his for one final, breathtaking kiss as he pulsed hard across his stomach.
Connor shuffled to make himself comfortable, and wrapped his arm tighter around Abby’s shoulder. They were sitting to the side of the fire looking out into the Cretaceous evening. Abby was curled up at his side, her head nestled against his chest. As night drew in they had been forced to get dressed again; unfortunately not even sharing body heat was enough to keep them properly warm through the night.
He had enjoyed their ‘Christmas dinner’, although part of him was worried that Abby had only gone along with it for his benefit. He had intended it to be fun for both of them, and Abby had seemed okay, but sometimes she could be so hard to read.
“Connor? Do you see a light out there?”
Abby sounded like she almost didn’t believe it herself, and when Connor glanced at her he saw that she was staring out into the darkness, leaning forwards and squinting to see better. He followed her gaze. It took a moment, but then he saw what she meant. There seemed to be a flickering light in amongst the trees.
Connor’s heart leapt. When he turned to look at Abby he could see the same hope in her eyes and he knew they were both thinking the same thing: anomaly!
“Come on,” Abby said, already standing up.
They hurriedly finished getting dressed and shoved all their stuff into their packs, just in case, and set off to investigate.
They reached the anomaly in ten minutes. It hung there in the woods, shards of light sliding across each other as it rotated slowly, beckoning them to infinity.
“Where do you think it goes?” Abby asked.
“No idea. Let’s find out, eh?”
Connor reached out and took Abby’s hand and they stepped through the anomaly together... into a snow drift.
Connor’s foot sank into the soft snow almost up to his knee, and he stumbled slightly as he emerged on the other side. Abby gripped his hand tighter and they just stopped and stared at the landscape around them.
Snow as far as the eye could see. In the very distance they could see mountains towering high into the sky, their sharp pointed peaks standing out against the clear star filled sky. But where they had appeared was a far gentler slope, unbroken by plants or bushes or trees, just a vast expanse of clean, undisturbed snow.
“Wow,” Connor breathed. His breath misted in the air in front of his face, and he shivered in the cold, crisp night air.
“Where are we, Connor? Is there any chance this could be home? The Alps, or the Himalayas, maybe?”
Connor had no idea, but as he craned his neck to stare upwards at the clearest night sky he had ever seen, something occurred to him. He shivered again, but this time it wasn’t because of the cold.
“It’s not home,” he said, trying to keep the disappointment from his voice. It had been a long shot anyway, he tried to console himself. “Look up. Look at the stars. Do you see any constellations that you recognise?”
Abby looked up and seemed to be thinking for a moment.
“That one there might be Orion, but some of the stars are in the wrong place, it’s not right.”
“Exactly. Stars move relative to each other in the sky over millions of years. Whenever this is, it’s millions of years in either the future or the past.” He sighed. “Looks like we got our hopes up for nothing.”
He started to turn to go back through the anomaly, but Abby squeezed his hand. He turned back to look at her, and saw that Abby was smiling. Really smiling for the first time in a long time.
“It might not be home, but look at it, Connor. It’s beautiful.”
Abby let go of his hand and took a few steps further away from the anomaly, and turned slowly in a circle on the spot, just staring around with a look of wonder on her face.
“Of all the places the anomaly could have led to, it brought us here, on Christmas Eve. Our very own white Christmas.”
Connor felt a smile forming on his lips despite the cold.
He looked down at the pristine snow, and felt that childish urge to be the first to run across it and make footprints, just because it was there.
Something thumped into his shoulder, and Connor yelped.
“Hey!” he protested, brushing the remains of the snowball off his jacket while Abby laughed at him. “Two can play at that game!”
They raced to be the first to make their snowballs and get the next hit in, and within minutes they were both cold, covered in snow, and laughing so hard they could hardly breathe. Abby stumbled towards him and they collapsed together into the deep, soft snow, hugging each other tightly.
“That was fun,” Connor said as he brushed snow from Abby’s hair.
Abby dropped a quick kiss on his cheek.
“You know what, Connor? I think you were right.”
“Course I was right,” he said cheekily. Then added, “About what?”
“Living. Having fun.” Abby looked momentarily serious. “I’m glad you realised it was Christmas. It has been fun, hasn’t it?”
“Yeah. It has.”
Right at that moment, Connor would have been prepared to stay here in this frozen world forever if it meant seeing the joy in Abby’s eyes that was evident at that moment. But he knew they couldn’t stay here, and for once Connor decided he ought to be the voice of practicality. “We should probably go back to the Cretaceous.”
Abby glanced back at the anomaly. “We don’t have to go back right now, surely? The anomaly still looks strong. Let’s just stay for a little while longer.”
He nodded, unable to deny her this moment of happiness.
Abby clambered to her feet and held a hand out to pull Connor upright as well. Connor looked around again, wondering what else they could do to keep warm.
“Hey, Abby. Let’s build a snowman!”
Soon they were gathering snow in the flickering light of the anomaly, building what might well be the only other human in the entire world at that moment in time. While Connor smoothed down the body, Abby created the head, rolling it around in the snow until it was the size of a football, and together they lifted it into place. Connor went back through the anomaly for a moment to pick up fallen twigs and pine cones to make the eyes and mouth and nose, and then they stood back and admired their creation.
“I think he’s glaring at us,” Connor decided. There was a definite disapproving slant to the pine cone eyes.
Abby giggled. “We built a snow-Lester.”
Connor felt something cold landed on his nose, and he looked up to see the stars had been blotted out by thick clouds. Snow was starting to fall around them, just a few flakes drifting down at first, but in the distance he could see the snowfall was getting thicker.
“Abby? I think you were right. We really have got our very own white Christmas.”
Abby reached across and took his hand again.
“Merry Christmas, Connor.”
Connor squeezed her hand and returned Abby’s smile. It wasn’t home, but right then it felt like this place, this one moment in the vastness of time had been created solely for them. He knew it couldn’t last forever, but he wasn’t going to let that spoil their perfect moment. He pulled Abby close and gathered her into his arms and kissed her.
“Merry Christmas, Abby.”