Life Studies by alyse [ - ]
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Category: Primeval > Het > Abby/Connor
Characters: Abby Maitland, Connor Temple
Rating: PG
Genres: First Time, Romance, Vignette
Warnings: None

Summary: Sometimes all you need is inspiration.

Pairing: Abby/Connor

Story Notes:
Written as a pinch hit for Temaris for the Autumn 2009 Primevalathon Fic Exchange. Thanks to Aithine for the read through.

The premise for the story is based on the fact that, in the Primeval game on the ITV site, the log book is filled with zoological drawings of the creatures they encounter. Someone had to draw them and at one point, it's Abby who is completing the log. It makes sense to me that, with her intention to study zoology originally and her work in the zoo, she'd have at least tried to sketch the animals, from a biological perspective if not an aesthetic one ::g::

Abby had always drawn. There was something soothing about picking up a pencil and simply letting it glide over the paper, coaxing out the pictures hidden there. She'd never be brilliant at it - never sell a picture or have a show - but it was a valuable skill in the field of zoology, even in these days of digital cameras and high speed photography. It was an especially useful skill now that she was on the Anomaly Project. It wasn't as though they were particularly good at capturing the creatures who came through the anomalies on film.

She traded it off with Connor, who couldn't draw for toffee but was a demon with a keyboard. He wrote the reports and she illustrated them. And edited them. And sometimes reprinted them if he'd been especially careless with his coffee. It was an odd arrangement, but it worked.

They made a good team, she and Connor, especially as he was smart enough not to criticise her work the same way.

Abby was under no illusions as to where her strengths - and her weaknesses - lay. She'd spent time studying the animals she worked with: the way their muscles worked, the structural strength provided by their skeletons, if they had them. And the end result always looked like the species, even these days. But that was the issue - her Entelodont looked like an Entelodont. It just didn't look that much like that particular Entelodont.

Which is why the picture she was sketching of Connor didn't look much like him.

"Why are you staring at me?"

"Oh," she said breezily, ripping yet another sheet off her pad and crumpling it up. It sailed across the room and landed much closer to the waste paper basket this time. "No reason, really."

Connor eyed it and then looked back at her suspiciously. "No, Abby. Really. Why are you staring at me?" His eyes flicked back and forth between the waste paper basket and where her pencil was once again poised over the paper. "Are you... are you drawing me?"

"Don't be daft." She glanced up and her gaze drifted along the line of his brow. "I'm drawing Rex."

"Oh." Perhaps it was her imagination but he sounded a little disappointed. "Hear that, Rex? You're going to be famous."

She snorted, glancing across at him affectionately. Rex chirruped softly, nudging at Connor's hand. When no food miraculously appeared, he took off, swooping down towards where Sid and Nancy were tumbling together. She watched them for a moment, and then turned back to her paper.

"You're still drawing."

"No. Really?" The outline of his jaw firmed up under her thumb, but it was off, somehow, the shading all wrong. She paused, staring at it thoughtfully, and then looked back up at Connor - or at least, at Connor's chin.

"Okay, now I'm getting paranoid." He shifted on the sofa, pushing himself up with his knuckles and then his ankle obviously twinged again, reminding him of why he was there. "Ow," he pouted, looking to her for sympathy.

"If it hurts, don't move," she said, eminently sensible advice that he ignored, pouting harder.

"I could really do with another cup of tea," he hinted, about as subtle as he always was.

She snorted, her attention firmly on her drawing pad. "Ask Rex," she said, not even looking up, not this time. She thought she might actually be on the right lines with the curve of Connor's eye. "I'm busy."

He subsided, and when she gave in and looked up, his expression was exactly the puppy dog pathetic look she was trying to capture.

Trying and failing.

She sighed, crumpling up another sheet and throwing it in the bin's general direction. It fell far short this time. "You are drawing me, aren't you?" Connor asked and she ignored him, her pencil once again falling onto the page. But when she looked up again, Connor was leaning over, balancing precariously on the couch and reaching for the remnants of her last attempt.

"Connor!" Too late; he'd reached it and tugged it towards him, smoothing it out.

"You were drawing me," he said, and there was wonder in his voice and in his face. And then he frowned, slightly, giving him that thoughtful crease between his brows that he got whenever he was working something out. "I... think."

She sighed. "It's not very good."

"No. It is. Really." And bless Connor for his rather awkward attempt at comfort. His fingers were still clutching the drawing but gently and, as she watched, he smoothed out another rumpled part of the paper.

"It doesn't look much like you."

"Well... It's still very good."

There was laughter mixed in with her snort this time, and bless Connor. He had such a good heart. There was no way she could ever deserve it.

It was a melancholy thought and not a particularly comfortable one. She did her best to shake it off.

He was still looking down at the drawing, his hair falling over his brow. Her fingers itched to push it back, just so her artist's eye could consider the structure of his face, that was the only reason. Really.

"Why are you drawing me?" he asked again, and she shrugged.

"I need the practice."

"Oh." The sound was disappointed; she was familiar enough with Connor's disappointment by now to recognise it, and something like regret twisted in her chest. He smiled at her, as sweet as he always was, as he'd always be.

"I need the practice," she whispered again, and he gave her a strange look, one that left her unsettled, a little sad. "How's the ankle?" she asked briskly, more for something to say than any other reason.

He blinked and offered, tentatively, as though he was checking it with her, "Fine?"

"Do you need anything? Some more painkillers? Cup of tea?" The lines were forming clearly now - she knew what she was doing. Looking for an excuse.

Connor didn't give her one, not this time, not the way he always did. He shook his head, his eyes still searching her face, and then he looked back down at the drawing. "You know, if you want to practice some more..." he offered, the colour rising in his face. "That would be okay. I mean," and the smile he gave her this time was sheepish, "assuming you're happy drawing my ugly mug."

He wasn't ugly. He was far from ugly - he was sweet and kind and funny and all of that showed on his face. He may not have had Stephen's model-like good looks but he was very attractive in his own way, and the thought made her blush.

"Okay," she said, picking up her pencil again. "If you insist. I'll try not to let it break my paper."

"Ha, ha," he said but he looked pleased even as his face began to burn red.

"Relax," she said. "You look like you're constipated."

"Well, that's an attractive image," and she had to laugh at the look of mock outrage on his face, catching the smile he threw back. It was so easy between them sometimes, so easy she wondered what the hell was scaring her so badly and then he went and got himself blown up in the Cretaceous and she knew.

She was still looking at him, had been for ages, and he blushed, the red blooming across his cheeks, and ducked his head. "You're still staring at me," he said.

"Kind of goes with the territory," she said. "That whole... drawing thing."

"You can go back to drawing Rex if you like."

"Nah," she said. "Between you and me, he's a bit of a diva."

Connor laughed at that, his whole body shaking and his face lighting up and sometimes she loved him so much it hurt. She couldn't capture that, could never capture that with just a pencil and paper.

She wasn't good enough.

"It will be fine, you know," Connor said awkwardly and when she looked at him he gave her another one of his sweet, slightly bashful smiles. "Whatever you do, it will be fine. Doesn't have to be perfect, right?" She looked at him, just looked at him, wondering when he got so perceptive, wondering when Connor of all people figured it all out. "You said it yourself, you just need to practice."

"What if it's too important to get wrong?" she asked and that small, confused, thoughtful frown appeared on his face again.

"Well, you just keep trying until you get it right, don't you?"

"Yes," she said, staring at him, the point of her pencil digging into the paper. "I suppose so."

"You know, Abby, I think you're worrying too much." He gave her another smile. "I'm sure I'll love it anyway," and she laughed, the pencil jumping across the paper, leaving a jagged line in its wake.

"I'm sure you will," she said. She didn't bother to hide the affection when she looked at him this time, and the flush that rose to his face again was pleased. "I just can't get it right, though."

"Do you need me to do anything. I mean, sit any way or..." He trailed off, his hands making a kind of lost gesture, hanging in the air.

"Just... be you," she said and he smiled. "Or... wait..."

"Being me isn't good enough?" He pouted, but there was no genuine hurt behind it. Instead a smile was dancing in his eyes and even though it didn't come to the surface - not obviously - she had to smile back.

"Being you is perfect." She wasn't lying about that. "Just..."


She took a deep breath, gathering her courage because she was so tired of being scared and Connor deserved better. Connor deserved her best efforts, on paper or not. "I think I need... something more," she said and stood, ignoring his confused look because if she stopped to think she'd stop, period.

He was lying on the sofa, not sitting, his ankle stretched out in front of him and that made it easier in a weird kind of way. Easier to settle herself over his lap, place her pad on his chest.

The look on his face now... she'd seen it before and tried to forget it, all of the hope and the fear and the... the love.

She raised her hand and her fingers trembled but they stilled when they touched his cheek. She traced up lightly, her thumb stroking underneath his eye, her fingers skirting along the edges of his hair...

Connor breathed in suddenly, like he'd forgotten how do do it up until now, and the movement shook her, shook a soft, breathy laugh free.

"I just need..."

"Okay," he said and hope was slowly growing in his eyes. His hands were still hovering helplessly, then he took another deep breath in and they settled on the outside of her thighs.

She licked her lips and Connor watched her, his gaze darting between her eyes and her mouth. "Getting the bone structure right is important," she said; there was a darker smudge on cheek, charcoal transferred from her fingertips, and she traced it again, more lightly this time, barely touching.

"Okay," he whispered and his breath brushed over her face.

"The cheeks, the brow..." Her fingers drifted over his skin, slow and steady, still barely grazing over the surface and he sucked in another breath, drawing her attention back to his mouth. Her fingertips followed, stopping to rest a hairsbreadth from his lips. "...the mouth," she murmured and his breath hitched, caught in his throat as she leant in.

His fingers tightened on her thighs, just for a second, as she breathed him in, his lips parting for her. He tasted sweet, like Connor, and she pulled back fractionally, shifting position to kiss the other side of his mouth, feeling him tense against her again. It was a good kind of tense, his body all fluid lines under her hands, and if she could draw him now, like this, it would be perfect.

His eyes were closed and her hands cupped his face, thumbs smoothing along his cheekbones, his eyelashes tickling against her skin.

"Connor," she murmured against his lips, the dip in his cheek. "Connor," and his hands moved, sliding around her waist, pulling her closer. But his mouth stayed soft under hers, soft and open, ready to give her whatever she wanted.

She pulled back, resting her forehead against his and his grip on her loosened slightly, his hands resting on her waist rather than wrapped around her back. "I think," he said and his voice was hoarse. He swallowed it down, then: "I think I like the way you draw."

She laughed and it shook her whole body, and his where it was pressed up against her. He gave her a delighted little smile, one that was smug around the edges, but still warm and bright and pure. That she liked - that she couldn't ever capture - but the smugness deserved something special.

She leant in closer until her lips brushed against the rim of his ear, and murmured, softly, "Just wait. It's life drawing next." She nipped at the lobe, feeling him jump as he let out a gasping little laugh. "And you know what that means."

"No." He shivered when her breath ghosted over his ear, soothing that small hurt with her tongue. She pressed closer to him, his hold on her tightening again, safe and more sure now. His hands were warm against her back and she took a moment to bask in it, just a moment. "What does that mean?"

She smiled, wicked and bright, her lips brushing over his cheek, back down towards his mouth, drawn like a month to a flame. He relaxed under her touch, and her smile deepened, something inside her loosening, too, something that had been too tight for too long.

"Nudes," she breathed, feeling him laugh against her mouth as she kissed him again.

The End