Pairing - Connor / Danny
Rating - PG-13
Summary - Abby decides to play matchmaker.
A little help from our friends.
It wasn’t his fault, really it wasn’t. How was he to know that the damn dinosaur was going to come after him? OK, stupid question, Connor thought; the dinosaurs always seemed to chase him.
“I’m sorry, OK?”
Danny scowled at him through the mud and rain that was dripping from his hair. Just to make Connor’s day even better, it had started raining torrentially about ten minutes ago, turning the field where the anomaly had appeared into a muddy mess. That was around the time he had crashed into Danny, knocking him down in his attempts to escape the creature. Luckily, he hadn’t done any harm, just to Danny’s pride. And the laptop he had been carrying at the time, Connor’s subconscious reminded him helpfully. Apparently, mud, water and electronic equipment didn’t mix too well.
“Get in the car, Connor.”
The dinosaur had been chased back through to its own time, and the anomaly had shimmered out, closing itself. Abby and the soldiers had taken the other car back already, and now Becker leaned out of the drivers’ side window of their car. How the hell did he still manage to look so impeccably tidy, not even a hair out of place? Connor glanced down at his own soaked, mud-splattered clothes and felt his hair sticking to his face. The phrase ‘looking like a drowned rat’ sprang to mind.
“I’m leaving in thirty seconds whether you two are in this car or not,” he told them, starting the engine.
By the time they got back to the ARC, they had dried out, but that didn’t help Danny. Now the mud all over him was just stuck firmly. He headed for the showers but before he even reached the door, Lester appeared from out of his office.
“Quinn! A word, please.”
Connor heard Danny utter a low growl as he stomped up to the second floor, where Lester waited. It seemed that the others were already back and Lester had heard about the whole fiasco. From the glare that he received from his boss, Connor decided that he wanted to be as far away from here as possible before they were finished talking.
Three days later and thankfully not raining this time, they once again found themselves back in the field. Far from being permanently closed, the anomaly had reopened.
“If I tell you to stay in the car,” Danny said to Connor, “you’re going to ignore me and do what you want anyway, aren’t you?”
When he saw the guilty smile on Connor’s face, he sighed.
“Fine. But you stay with me, and I mean stick to me like glue, and do not under any circumstances torment whatever comes through that anomaly. Understand?”
“But I didn’t-”
Danny cut off his protests. “With me,” he repeated. “Where I can keep my eye on you.”
Please, do, Connor thought, nodded silently. He watched as Danny gave out orders for the others to check the area and make sure they had no uninvited guests. Danny helped Connor get out the laptop- a new, dry one- and set up the equipment so that he could close the anomaly.
All the time he was working and then as they drove back to the ARC after finding no creatures at the anomaly site, Connor’s mind kept wandering. Danny looked especially fine today; he was wearing Connor’s favourite red shirt, the one that looked really good with his leather jacket. With a mental shake, Connor tried to force his mind away from his colleague; the last thing he wanted was for Danny to realise he was staring.
“What are you smiling about?” Abby asked a few hours later as she dropped into the chair by his desk.
“Nothing.” Or at least, nothing I’m willing to say out loud, he added silently. Since this morning, his thoughts had drifted from Danny in that shirt to Danny not wearing the shirt, or anything else for that matter. There were some thoughts, however, that he had no intention of sharing with Abby, best friend or not.
Abby followed his gaze through the open door to where Danny sat in the office opposite.
“So, you fancy him, don’t you?”
She smiled knowingly. “Conn, this is me you’re talking to. I’ve seen how you look at him.” Seeing the look of horror on his face, she said, “Don’t worry. I doubt anyone but me has picked up on it.”
With a defeated sigh, Connor nodded. “It doesn’t matter; even if he was gay, he can’t stand me. He sees me as the annoying imbecile who always screws things up and gets into trouble.”
“I’m sure that’s not true.”
He just cast her a miserable look and turned back to what he was working on. Abby sat there for a moment longer until it was clear that he wasn’t going to talk to her and then left. On her way back to the botanics lab, she stopped, turning back.
“Hiya, Danny. What’re you working on?”
Danny glanced up, looking relieved when he saw her come into his office and sit down. “Paperwork. I bloody hate paperwork. Why the hell do I get stuck with it all?”
Abby smiled. “Because you’re in charge.”
“Trade you?” he offered, but she shook her head. “Lester has been on my back because I might have let a couple of weeks’ worth build up, and then there’s the laptop. If I have to hear about ‘irresponsible idiots who shouldn’t be let loose with valuable equipment’ one more time…”
Abby glanced behind her where, across the corridor, Connor sat in his office, elbows on the desk and his head resting on his hands.
“Danny, go easy on him about that, will you?” she said. “He feels bad enough about it as it is.”
He frowned, then glanced over her shoulder into Connor’s office.
“Is he OK?”
“He thinks you’re angry with him,” Abby said, knowing that Connor would be furious if he knew she was telling Danny. “He thinks you don’t like him.”
“That’s not true,” he protested, appearing dismayed at the possibility. “I know I get cross with him sometimes but he just keeps doing stupid things. He’s going to get himself seriously hurt one of these days.”
Now it was starting to make sense, Abby thought. “You’re worried about him?”
“Yes. I’d hate anything to happen to him.”
“Danny, can I ask you something?” he nodded. “I get the feeling that your protectiveness toward Connor is a bit more than friendly. Am I right?”
Danny frowned then, and she could see him thinking over it, trying to work out how to answer. Eventually he sighed.
Abby chatted for a while longer before leaving him to his paperwork, a smile forming on her lips as she worked out the finer details of her plan. One thing she did know, was that she was going to need help.
As they were getting ready to leave that afternoon, Sarah caught up with Danny as he dropped his reports off with Lester’s secretary.
“I never want to see another report as long as I live,” he said. “My head is spinning; I’ve been doing the damn things for hours.”
Sarah laughed. “Well, I know just the thing to cheer you up,” she told him. “A few of us are going to the pub; come on, I’ll buy you a drink.”
Danny took his car so he wouldn’t have to leave it at the ARC and followed her, taking the parking space next to her car in the car park. They went inside and joined Abby and Connor at the table in the corner, Abby and Sarah going to the bar to get drinks. They delivered Connor and Danny’s, going back for theirs.
A short time later, one of the bar staff came over and handed something to Connor.
“The blonde woman asked me to give this to you,” she said.
Connor unfolded the piece of paper.
‘We thought since you weren’t going to tell him how you felt, we’d help you out by giving you two some time to talk.
P.S. I’ll be back in two hours for you, Connor, if you’re still there.
“Oh God…” Connor had to stifle a groan as he read Abby’s message, mumbling, “I’m gonna kill her.”
Danny took the paper from him and read it, looking just as embarrassed as Connor did. Damn Abby and her meddling. Not to mention the fact that she had told Sarah. She probably thought that she was helping, setting him up with Danny like this but it was going to end badly, he just knew it.
Danny watched the play of emotions on Connor’s face, from his initial irritation as he read the message to the almost-terror in his eyes each time he sneaked a glance up at Danny.
“Is it really so bad being here with me?” he asked eventually, after a stretch of uncomfortable silence.
Connor shook his head. “No! I mean, um- I’m sorry.”
“For Abby and Sarah doing this,” Connor told him. “If you want to leave, I won’t tell them.”
Danny wasn’t sure whether he wanted to hug him to rid him of that worried expression or shake some sense into him. The kid really did seem to think Danny hated him, just like Abby had said. He didn’t think he’d been that hard on Connor; sure, he’d yelled at him a couple of times but it was because Connor had done something dumb that had ended up with him being in danger.
Seeing that Danny hadn’t made a move to leave, Connor picked up his drink again, downing almost half of it. He had no idea what to say now that Abby had made it blatantly obvious how he felt in that stupid sodding letter.
“Danny? About what she wrote…” Connor began. “I didn’t mean for you to find out. I’m sorry; I know you think I’m annoying and-”
“Connor, that letter was for both of us. She never said it referred to you.”
He could see the moment it dawned on Connor, his eyes widening comically.
Danny could see that he was going to have to bite the bullet on this one and admit it. There was no way that Connor was going to say it first.
“I don’t think you’re annoying, Connor. I know that I get mad with you but that’s because I’m concerned. I may be slightly more overprotective of you than I am of the others.” Danny saw the frown on Connor’s brow and sighed. “I like you Connor, OK? Not in a ‘we’re colleagues’ kind of a way but as in ‘I want kiss the living daylights out of you’.”
“Oh.” Connor watched him, a slightly suspicious look in his eyes.
Danny raised an eyebrow quizzically. ‘Oh’? That was the kid’s reaction? Maybe this had been a mistake. Maybe Abby had misinterpreted. Bloody hell, this was going to make things really awkward at work now that he’d made a complete tit of himself.
Suddenly, Connor’s wary expression vanished as he finished thinking it over, replaced by a bright smile that lit the room.
Danny returned his grin. “Really.”
He glanced around the pub, knowing that the other patrons would not appreciate it if he did as he really wanted and followed through on his ‘kiss the daylights out of Connor’ idea. It seemed that Connor had the same idea, though, as he finished his drink and reached for his jacket. Still grinning, Connor waited for Danny and then followed him outside, letting out a squeak of alarm as he was steered toward the beer garden instead of the car.
Danny did as he had wanted to all night, gathering Connor into his arms and kissing that confused look away. For a moment, Connor froze, surprised, but then he relaxed. He opened up to Danny, his arms going up and around Danny’s neck.
“So, are you still angry with Abby for setting us up?” Danny asked.
Connor shook his head. “Not any more. But I’m not going to tell her that; I’ll let her worry about it for a bit longer at least.”
Danny laughed. “So, how about you and I head back to my place where we can plot our revenge?” he said.
“Well,” Danny said, smirking, “I’m sure we can find some other way to occupy ourselves if we set our minds to it.”