Pairing - Connor / Becker
Summary - A.U - How different would it have been if Helen had not gone over to the dark side? Or if Connor and Abby had got together?
3 – Friend or Foe
Danny left about an hour later, heading off to the armoury. In Becker’s absence- Lester had insisted that he not be on active duty, at least until they sorted this out –he was in charge of the men and the security. Unfortunately, Nick and Abby were out on an errand, leaving them with Helen. It wasn’t the most comfortable atmosphere to work in but Becker had to admit that she was making an effort. She was trying to engage them in conversation, to tell them about some of the technology at the ARC, but Connor still wasn’t buying it.
“She’s trying, Conn,” Becker said. “Maybe we should give her a chance.”
Connor turned on him. “It’s easy for you; you’ve only met her a few times. She has been screwing up the rest of our lives for years. She killed Nick and she might as well have killed Stephen. I don’t trust her.”
“But she’s not the same person here. Look, you don’t have to trust her, just talk to her,” Becker persuaded. “Please. If we’re going to be stuck here for a while, we’re going to have to accept that she’s here to stay.”
It took Connor until that afternoon before he finally worked up the nerve to speak to her, and even then it wasn’t without Becker at his side. No way was he going anywhere alone with her, not even to sit in the break room and talk.
“Thank you for this, Connor,” Helen said, watching as he sat down as far from her as possible. “I understand that this is difficult for you-”
“Don’t,” he snapped. “You don’t understand anything about it.”
After a warning nudge from Becker, he looked up at her again. He was so used to her being the manipulative, cold hearted bitch that he had known for years that the hurt in her eyes shocked him. Back home, he would have assumed that it was a trick, a lure so that she could spring her trap on them but here he wasn’t so sure. Had it been a trick, she wouldn’t have bothered trying to hide it.
“Nick told me what you said yesterday, about me. Or rather, about the me that you know.” She laughed softly. “That made a lot more sense in my head.” Her expression turning serious again, she said, “Despite what you think, I’m not her. For one, I would never hurt Nick.”
As Connor fell silent, Becker gripped his hand reassuringly. He had seen how Cutter’s death had affected Connor and he never wanted to see that despair back on his boyfriend’s face again.
“You and Nick, are you still married?”
This time, Helen’s laugh was genuine. “Oh, heavens no; we’ve been divorced for nearly a year. Well, I suppose that it’s been longer than that, since everyone assumed I was dead. No, Nick and I realised a long time ago that while we may make a good team when it comes to academics, we were clearly not ever meant to be together in any other way. Besides, I think that Claudia would have something to say about it.”
Helen frowned. “Didn’t they tell you? Nick and Claudia have been married for six months now.”
“And you don’t mind?” Connor asked. “Nick always said that you’d done something to get rid of her the first time. He never knew how, but he knew you’d had something to do with it.”
“How do you mean, get rid of her?”
It was getting harder and harder for Connor to see her as the woman he’d hated for years in the person sitting before him. Maybe this was what she had been like before she discovered the anomalies, back when Nick had married her. He’d always wondered how someone like Nick could have ended up with a nightmare like Helen.
“There was an anomaly,” he told her. “They took a cage full of baby future predators through and something went wrong. The mother came back and it killed everyone but you and Nick.”
Helen nodded. “I remember that; the mother attacked us, taking out the soldiers like they were toys.”
“Well, he said that when you got back, something had changed. Claudia had been there only now, none of us knew her. We’d never heard of her; she had just vanished from existence,” he said. “Then, a few weeks later, Jenny Lewis started work at the ARC. Nick swore that she was Claudia and, now that I’ve seen Claudia, I can see it. They’re identical.” He studied her for a moment. “It really doesn’t bother you that she’s with Nick?”
“Honestly, no. As I said, we work well together but we get along much better as friends.”
After telling them her side of events, of her time at the ARC, Helen offered to show them some of the technological advances that had come from the future technology she had collected through the anomalies. Although she had tried before, Connor hadn’t really been paying attention at the time. He had been more fixated on the fact that it was Helen before him, bane of their existence.
Now, Becker watched as Connor’s eyes lit up as he checked out the gadgets. It was good to see him back to the enthusiastic young man he usually was, something Becker had been missing in him since this whole mess had begun.
By the time that Nick and Abby returned, Connor was talking avidly with Helen about the palm held device they used to reopen closed anomalies. He had seen her use it once, although he hadn’t known it was her at the time, and even then it had fascinated him. Just imagine how brilliant it would be if he could build one of those? There had been any number of times when the anomalies had closed before they had chance to send the creatures back through. The holding pens at the ARC housed those creatures that had been left behind as they waited for another anomaly to open to the right time period.
A sudden thought struck him. “You use this to reopen anomalies to put the creatures back?” Helen nodded. “What about Rex? And Sid and Nancy? Please tell me that they’re still here?”
She frowned and then shook her head once he’d explained what the creatures were. “Abby has Rex, but only because they didn’t have the re-opener then. After that, we made sure that nothing got stranded.”
Connor’s face fell, his enthusiasm gone again. Becker watched as the younger man sat down heavily in the chair behind him, looking miserable; he knew how much Connor adored those pesky little Diictadons.
“It still seems odd to see you two together,” Helen observed. “Ever since I joined, it’s been Connor and Abby, always together. Sorry- that was a little insensitive.”
There was a sound from the doorway and Becker looked up to see Nick saunter in. He just caught sight of Abby fleeing when she saw them.
“She’s taking it kinda hard,” Nick informed him. “She just needs her space for a while. What’s wrong?”
“Sid and Nancy are gone,” Connor said, letting Becker explain.
It seemed so ridiculous to be getting upset at the fact that they weren’t in this world, but they were his pets. He’d had enough of this place. He missed Sarah and Jenny being here. He missed having Danny to talk to, as here they didn’t really seem to be friends. He wanted that easy friendship that he had with Abby, not the tense shadow of it that they had here at present.
“I want to go home,” he said. Even if it meant losing Nick again. He had already grieved for his former professor, accepted that he was gone, and now seeing him again brought those memories back.
Nick and Helen left the room, giving them a moment, and Becker gently turned Connor to face him, looking him straight in the eye.
“We’ll get back,” he promised. “With all of the technology here, we’ll figure out what went wrong and we’ll fix it. There has to be a way.”
Four months later…
“I can’t do it,” Connor said, looking at the anomaly in front of him. They were back where they started from and ahead of them, on the other side of that anomaly, was home. Or at least, a version of home. They were only guessing that it was the one they had been fighting to return to.
“We have to,” Becker pointed out. “We can’t stay here.”
“But if we go through, and it is home, then I have to lose Nick all over again. I’ve got used to having him there again. If it’s not home, if it’s the other world again, then everyone else is wrong.”
They had no choice, though. As Becker had said, they couldn’t stay here for ever more. They had to get back. Besides, who knew if they were the only ones. They had already wondered on numerous occasions if the Connor and Becker who were meant to be in the alternate world were actually in theirs. Maybe if they didn’t return home, then none of them could.
“Come on, Conn,” he said, holding out his hand. “Let’s do this.”
Connor took a deep breath and followed Becker through the anomaly. It seemed normal enough, just like the first time they had come to investigate it, only this time, on the other side, there were two black four-by-fours pulling up nearby.
“We’re home,” Becker said in relief, seeing Sarah get out of the nearest car, followed by Danny in his jeans and leather jacket. He’d never been more glad to see Danny’s scruffy jeans in his life.
Abby came running over to them, just a few paces ahead of the others.
“Where the hell have you been?” she demanded, giving Connor a hug. When he pushed her away, looking startled, and moved closer to Becker’s side, she frowned. “What’s wrong?”
Becker looked at Connor, seeing the question there. He was ninety percent sure that this was their Abby, and that this was home, but he had to be sure.
“This is going to sound really weird, but I have to ask,” he said. “Where’s Helen?”
Danny looked at him like he’d just grown a second head. “With any luck, getting herself eaten by a Tyrannosaur,” he replied.
“So she doesn’t work at the ARC?”
“Did you get a knock on the head or something?” Abby asked, eyeing him, concerned. “You’re starting to worry me.”
Connor smiled. “We’re fine,” he assured her. “But you’re not going to believe where we’ve been…”