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Author's Note: Set during the series 4 opener. Huge thanks to my betas cadhla and marymac!

Scars, Visible and Otherwise
by LJC

"The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes."

—Thomas Hardy

The company apartment turned out to be an amazing loft with miles of floor-to-ceiling windows, blond wood floors, and white and chrome furniture. It gleamed, it was so white.

"I feel like I'm going to break or stain something just by standing here breathing," Connor said as he dropped his rucksack next to a brushed steel side table. Behind him, Matt covered his laugh with a cough.

"We'll send a car for you in the morning so you can be debriefed. But Lester had them stock the fridge, and Jess made sure there were fresh clothes for you in the bedroom."

"Yeah. We'll be burning these, thanks," Abby said as she tugged on the collar of her jacket.

"I know today was rough, but everything will look better after a good night's sleep," Matt assured her. She wanted to scream at him, tell him off, make him see the ridiculousness of his position. Instead she gave him a nod, and he closed the door behind him, leaving them in silence.

Alone at last.

Connor was moving around the flat, peering at the few objects d'art carefully positioned on gleaming white surfaces.

"We should probably—I mean, your brother must be worried about you. And Jess said all our stuff from the old flat is still in storage at the ARC." He picked up a round glass paperweight, rolling it between his palms. "We've got to find new digs, I guess."

"Can it wait til tomorrow?" Abby asked, feeling shaky and headachy as she came down off the adrenaline high. "I'm just really tired."

"Yeah. Sure. Tomorrow."

Connor had been furious when Lester and the new suit—Burton—had sacked them. But Connor had always been more adaptable than she was. His black moods always blew over quickly, while hers stayed, simmering just below the surface.

The bedroom wasn't any better than the rest of the place. A bed was against one wall, covered with a white duvet, and she ran her fingers over the crisp clean sheets, still amazed at the idea of them after sleeping on a rough pallet of leaves for the last year.

Connor moved to the chest of drawers which looked like it came from the world's most expensive IKEA, and pulled out a dark blue shirt that looked like a cross between runner's gear and diving suits.

"Great. We'll look like members of the Fantastic Four," Abby muttered as he began pawing through the contents of the other drawers and pulled out clean pants and socks.


"That wasn't exactly a compliment, Connor."


"I don't know about you, but more than anything I just want a shower and sleep."

"Sounds like a plan," he said as he began peeling off layers of clothing and leaving them in a heap in the corner of the room.

Hot water.

Abby had almost forgotten what it felt like. She'd dreamt of it for a year, imagining the sensation of washing her hair with perfumed soap. All the grime and sweat being rinsed away, swirling down the drain.

She closed her eyes, tipping her head back and letting the nearly scalding hot water wash away the last of the dirt from millions of years ago.

Since they'd got back, the 21st century had felt as alien to her as the Cretaceous had been. The smell of petrol fumes, the sound of the crowds—everything seemed stronger, magnified. On the drive from the ARC, Connor had begged Matt to stop at a Caffè Nero, and he'd got one of those frozen chocolate drinks he used to love. He'd taken a single sip and nearly gagged.

"Jesus, this is disgusting."

"You've spent a year without sugar," Abby had reminded him. "We'll probably need to take it slow. Fruit and veg, before we work our way up to a greasy take-away."

The look on his face had made Matt laugh, but Abby couldn't even summon up the ghost of a smile, and had stayed quiet for the rest of the trip.

She'd thought, once they got back, everything would change. That the coil of dread in her stomach would finally dissipate. That she wouldn't be so on edge. But it had changed too much. She didn't know these new people, this new ARC. No-one had told them what had happened to Danny and Sarah, and Becker had looked at them like they were ghosts.

She missed her home. She missed Rex. The coldly impersonal company flat, perched so high above the city that she couldn't even hear the sounds of the traffic below, only added to her unease.

The glass doors opened and she flinched as cool air washed over her skin, then sighed as Connor slipped his arms around her waist, fingers sliding across her soap-slicked hip.

"I've only just got clean," she complained good-naturedly as he pulled her back against him, nipping at her shoulder lightly. His scraggly, wiry beard tickled, and she wrinkled her nose.

"Then I suppose I'll just have to scrub us both," he said, and she didn't need to see his grin. She could hear it in his voice. "Over, and over again, until we're all prune-y."

Turning in the circle of his arms, she kissed him on the nose before she grabbed the bottle of shampoo and started soaping his hair, hands sliding down over his shoulders and chest.

He closed his eyes, flinching only slightly as she ran the soapy flannel over some barely-healed scrape. They both had scars from the last year, some that were easy to see. Some not so much. She had fading scar curving over her hip from where she'd caught a glancing blow from the jagged claws of a theropod that had been fighting her for the fish she'd speared. Connor had a white line from his knee to his ankle from where he'd torn his leg open as they'd scrambled into a narrow cave, on the run from a Eotyrannus.

She ran her finger lightly over the latest, an angry red line rising upward from his right eyebrow from yesterday's run-in with the spinosaurus.

Yesterday. Only yesterday she'd told him to face the fact that they were going to be stuck back there, alone, forever. A shudder ran through her, and Connor opened his eyes, blinking away soapy water.

"Hey," he said softly, reaching up to cup her cheek with his hand. "We're home. We're back. We're together. That's all that matters."

She nodded, and pushed her wet hair back with both hands. She would deal with Lester and the ARC tomorrow. For right now, it was just her and Connor. Like it was supposed to be.

Back in the Cretaceous, bathing had been a luxury. One of them had always stood guard while the other waded into the shallows and scrubbed their skin with a handful of sand. They'd always had to be on their guard, to keep each other alive. There hadn't been time for simple intimacies like Connor's hands soaping her back, slipping around to cup her breasts. She leaned her head against his shoulder, toes curling as he gently pulled and rolled her stiff pink nipples between his callused fingers.

She could feel his cock stir against her arse, and rubbed herself against him lazily as the steam rose in clouds around them. He backed her up against the wall of the shower, the spray hitting the top of his head and rinsing the soap down his body.

She teased his hardening cock with light touches until he began to whine deep in his throat, and she closed her fingers around him, stroking slowing up and down his length, thumb flicking back and forth over the head.

His hand on her wrist slowed her strokes, just as he leaned forward, resting his forehead against hers. His eyelashes, clumped together and dark like a bruise against his skin, fluttered with each stoke of her fingers. She got up on her tiptoes and kissed the corner of his mouth, tongue tracing the curve of his bottom lip. His mouth opened beneath hers, tongue tracing her teeth before sliding against hers.

She quickened her pace, and he wrenched his mouth away from hers with a gasp.

"Slow down. Abby, slow down. We have time. We have time," he whispered into her hair, sounding almost broken. The marble of the shower was cool against her back as he pushed the showerhead to the side so the spray was hitting the wall, and slid to his knees at her feet.

Looking down at him, Abby was seized with an overwhelming tenderness. Even with the beard, he still seemed so impossibly young. But a year of living rough, surviving on roots, bulbs and whatever fish or small game they could catch had made him lean. She could feel the sharp planes of his shoulders beneath her fingers; the too-sharp edge of his cheekbones.

She traced the curve of one cheek, and he caught her hand, pressing a kiss to her palm before he slid his hands down her flanks, and gripped her calves. She sighed as he lifted her right leg so it was draped across his back, and gripped her hips with both hands. She slid her fingers through his wet and knotted hair, gripping tightly at the first hot wet slide of his tongue. She dug the heel of her foot into his back as her back arched and her moans echoed off the marble tiles.

"C-Connor—" she stuttered as he licked and sucked, taking his time in a way they'd never been allowed, for all those months.

A year together had taught him night after night what made her tick. He knew exactly how to make her come quickly, panting, and shaking. There had been no time for tenderness. No time for anything but frantic fucking in near-silence, constantly listening for any sound that mean they'd have to grab whatever weapons they had to hand and fight for their lives. It hadn't been lovemaking. It had been sex—hard, and fast, and afterward, one of them would keep watch while the other slept.

Now, they had time. And it appeared Connor Temple was going to take full advantage of that. And she was going to let him.

She braced herself against the wall, feeling the heat swirling in her belly as he parted her folds with eager fingers. Her breath caught as he slipped one finger inside her, and she tightened her hands on his shoulders, ragged nails digging into his skin.

"More," she breathed, "Oh God, Connor. More."

A second finger joined the first, his tongue flicking her clit, and her thighs began to tremble, her breaths coming in panting cries. Her hand curled around his neck, fingers sliding through his wet hair, catching on tangles and mattes. He lifted her leg higher onto his shoulder, opening her wider. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, the inside of her eyelids flaring orange from the overhead light as she arched into his touch.

When they'd first met—back when his crush was still a crush and she only had eyes for Stephen—Abby had always imagined that sleeping with Connor would be a complete disaster. As much as she cared for him, she'd imagined sex would be a fumbling mess.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Connor was a simple man. By his own admission, he worshipped her, and his entire goal in life was to make her happy. They didn't always agree. They didn't always get on. He never hung up his clothes, and he seemed to believe laundry was something you do when you've run out of pants that could quality as independent life forms. They'd row over the stupidest little things like toast crumbs in the butter, or lights left burning all night in the lounge.

But when it came to orgasms? Connor was good.

He was better than good. He paid attention to what made her gasp, and what made her twitch. He knew what made her breathing stutter and stop, her body tightening around him. He was patient, and he was clever. He knew every inch of her skin, and he knew what would make her so wet he could slide into her with the slightest shift of his hips. What would make her breath come in high-pitched keening cries as he rocked into her, his hands tangled in her hair, her face buried in his neck. He still had a half-circle above his collar bone where she'd bitten him as she'd come once, trying desperately to muffle her cries so they wouldn't attract any undue attention from local predators.

She still had bruises on her hips from the night before, where he'd clung to her too hard and she'd let him—their row of that afternoon working itself out in sex, as it so often did.

This time was no different, in its own way. Except now they had time for all the gentle touches the last year had stolen from them. Time for her to squirm and writhe against the cool tiles, her foot slipping on the soapy floor until Connor lifted both her legs onto his shoulders, hands cupping her arse as he just kept on teasing her with his lips and tongue until she thought she'd burst apart from the force of her orgasm. When she finally opened her eyes and saw him grinning up at her, the red marks of her nails on his shoulders, she couldn't help laughing.

"How long have you been wanting to do that?"

"About five years, give or take," he admitted with a cheeky grin.

She reached down to close her fingers around him, but he laid a hand on her wrist.

"There is a nice big bed out there—and I have plans for it. And you. If that's alright."

"Yeah," she said with a lazy smile. "Yeah, that's alright. More'n alright."

They stepped back under the spray to rinse away the last of the soap, and then turned off the water. Stepped back out into the bathroom, she touched one of the fluffy white towels hanging from a heated bar on the wall. For a moment, she just buried her face in it, trying to ignore the strong smell of bleach and detergent.

Clean. She'd never thought she could feel so clean.

Connor towelled his hair vigorously, and she couldn't help but smile at the way his dark hair stood up in crazy spikes from his head. She ran her fingers through it, trying to separate the strands. Her own hair was a hopeless mess that she wasn't even going to bother with tonight. He took the warm towel from her shoulders and began drying her, humming tunelessly with contentment in the warm, steamy room.

The air in the flat seemed chilly after the shower, but Abby dove under the duvet, not even caring that her hair would get the pillows damp. Connor crawl in beside her, and pulled her close.

Kissing like this, under fresh bedding, London shining in the darkness beyond the windows, it felt like they were together for the first time. Pushing him over onto his back, Abby straddled him, leaning down to kiss him, an errant drop of water sliding down her neck to land on his chest, next to his father's ring on its cord.

She licked it up, ignoring the strong metallic-chlorine taste of the water. She swirled her tongue around one tight brown nipple, using her teeth lightly as he groaned. His hands came up to rest on her hips, and she shifted so his rising cock was nestled in the curve of her buttocks. She ground against him as she switched her attention to the other nipple, the wisps of dark hair on his chest tickling her breasts. His fingers tightened on her hips as he arched into her, his breath catching.

There were two spots of colour on his cheeks as he tipped his head back, baring his throat. She nipped at his jaw lightly before his arms came up to pull her against his chest as her mouth found his. Her tongue slid against his, her fingers tangling in his damp hair as she shifted position so he was hot and damp against her inner thigh. Reaching between them, she pressed the head of his cock against her entrance, rubbing him slowly through her wet folds.

Slowly, achingly slowly, she rocked back on his cock until he was buried deep inside her. He looked up at her with heavy-lidded eyes and something like awe as she began to move, his hips following hers as she rode him. He slid his hands along her sides, tracing each rib before cupping her breasts in his fingers as she moved. He squeezed them so hard it almost hurt, but knew exactly how much pressure she wanted—needed—before trapping her nipples between his second and third fingers, thumbs flicking over the stiffened buds in a way that sent shocks down from the top of her head to her toes curling against the cotton sheets.

Abby closed her eyes, concentrating on the feel of him, the way they fitted together. He released her breasts and caressed her neck with one hand, thumb flicking over her lips until she took it into her mouth, sucking on it hard as she quickened her pace. His eyes fluttered closed, and he began thrusting up into her with more force until they found a rhythm and an angle that made them both gasp. Then the rough callused pads of his fingers trailing along her skin until he pressed his thumb against her over-sensitised clit as she rocked her hips into his. She leaned back, bracing her self with her hands on his thighs as she moved.

Connor levered himself up, the other hand sliding around to the small of her back to keep her pressed close against him as the duvet tangled around them. He gripped her around the waist as he rolled her beneath him, and her heels came to rest on the back of his thighs as he slid out of her only to thrust back in harder.

He breathed her name with each thrust, moving from sharp, deep thrusts to just gentle rocking motions of his hips against hers, his pelvic bone pressing against her clit with each thrust. She pulled him down to kiss her, his teeth sinking into her bottom lip briefly before he gasped into her mouth as she clenched around him in her second orgasm. He kept moving, sliding in and out of her with slow, even strokes until he finally slid out of her, coming on her stomach as he shuddered, his breath coming in gasps until he collapsed against her, his face buried in the crook of her neck.

She stroked his sides with feather-light touches, stretching her legs out so she could tangle them with his, and he turned his face up for a kiss. They kissed lazily as she still twitched and shuddered from aftershocks, and then Connor got up on his elbow, droplets of water spraying them both as he shook his head like a wet dog.

"Connor!" Abby slapped his shoulder, and he grinned down at her, his hand coming up to cup her burning cheek. He leaned forward to rest his forehead against hers, and she pressed a kiss into his palm. Finally, he rolled off her, and padded naked to the bathroom to get a cloth to clean themselves.

Snuggling naked under the duvet, Abby tucked her head beneath his chin, and he stroked her shoulder lazily.

"When we get a flat," Connor said through a jaw-cracking yawn, "we have to get one with a shower like that."

"Seconded," she said sleepily, her arms tightening around him. Somewhere off in the distance something howled in the darkness, and she stiffened until she recognised it as a siren.

Abby woke with a scream caught in her throat, her heart pounding in her ears. Connor lay next to her, one arm draped across her hips. His hair had dried and was a shadow against the pillows, the entire room rendered in different shades of grey by the faint light coming through the shades.

In a year, she'd only fallen asleep in his arms once. It had seemed like an impossible luxury. She shook off the remnants of the dream, and closed her eyes, trying to relax.

She should have been able to sleep. Connor's chest rose and fell with his breath, the ring on its braided cord catching the faint light from the row of windows.

Sometimes she had hated him for how easily he could sleep.

His optimism had grated on her. His unshakeable faith that everything would work out, that they'd get home, used to make her so angry sometimes that she would shake with it at night while she was on watch. Her nails would cut half-moons into her palms, and she'd taste bile in her throat and her eyes would burn with all the tears she didn't have left to cry.

In the last year, they'd never been apart. She had told Matt that they'd kept each other alive, but the truth was that if it hadn't been for Connor, she would have died there.

She'd given up.

Sliding out from under the duvet, she pulled on a pair of loose sleep pants and a camisole. Carefully so as not to wake him, she padded barefoot out onto the balcony, turning her face toward the pearly grey light of dawn.

The world looked new, as the sun came up, shafts of light between the buildings painting the morning with gold.

She rested her chin on her folded arms, and tried to think of this as a fresh start. A new beginning.


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