Chapter 1: Small Changes - Lester/Ryan
One small change in the past gives Lester pause for thought.
Written for Fandom Stocking 2017 for fififolle
Lester looked down from his office window across the main floor of the ARC, unconsciously following the small group of soldiers led by Captain Ryan. Although it was impossible for Lester to know for certain unless he was on the wrong side of an anomaly when it happened, Cutter convinced him that any changes in the past could affect the future. According to Nick Cutter it had already happened at least once, and Captain Ryan was one of those changes. Apparently the man had died over 200 million years ago in the Permian, killed by a Gorgonopsid, but when Cutter and Hart returned from their latest excursion through an anomaly they found Ryan waiting for them.
Ryan chose that moment to glance up, catching Lester watching him. He smiled and Lester nodded, keeping up the pretense of being almost indifferent to the people around him.
Later that night, after he had gone home to his London flat, Lester sat at the breakfast bar in the kitchen sipping a glass of a particularly nice Shiraz, one he'd reserved for special occasions, good or bad. He sighed when he heard the key in the door, any remaining tension easing when Tom appeared moments later, smiling brightly as he placed a bag of groceries onto the kitchen counter.
"I didn't think today was any worse than usual," Tom stated, indicating towards the wine.
Lester had thought it was a terrible day, learning of the death of the man he loved with all his heart. In that timeline they would have only just taken that first step in their relationship before the Permian anomaly opened. He would have known what it was like to find someone special and then lose them almost immediately. One possibly insignificant change in the past had changed that tragedy, and Cutter had practically carried Tom back home from the Permian where he spent three weeks on medical leave while his wounds healed. Here in this flat mostly.
One small change had given Lester this amazing man. Perhaps it wasn't a bad day. Perhaps today was a good day after all.
Chapter 2: Dance - Lester/Ryan
Tom knew they were dancing around each other.
Written for Fandom Stocking 2017 for fredbassett
Tom shouldered the rifle and took careful aim, waiting patiently until he had the creature full in his sights, then fired. The extra strong tranquilizer dart hit its target cleanly, and the powerful sedative starting to take effect immediately as the creature slowed, staggered, and finally collapsed.
"Bravo. Good shot," Lester commented.
Behind Lester the cowering minister's aide stood up and straightened his clothing. Leek harrumphed disparagingly. "I could have taken the shot sooner."
Lester gave him a scathing look. "I'm sure you could on the range," he stated sarcastically, "But I've noticed there the clay pigeons don't bite back."
Suitable chastised, Leek turned and walked away leaving Tom alone with Lester, and Tom was so glad Lester had turned down Oliver Leek as his personal assistant. The man was a worm. Tom wished he could praise Lester for standing his ground as the velociraptor raced towards them but he didn't want to sound patronizing, especially as Lester would forever bear the scar from where he was slashed by a future predator. Instead Tom indicated towards the now unconscious creature.
"That will keep it out for at least an hour. I'll get the men to load her up and ship her back through the anomaly.
"Yes. Well, carry on, Captain."
Tom smiled and strode off, yelling orders at his men. He wondered how much longer he and Lester would dance around their attraction to each other. A few days later he had his answer as they worked their way through the ARC with Lester pressed close behind him, covering his back as they hunted for the future predator Leek had set loose out of malice. Those things were fast and deadly, and this one seemed to come out of nowhere but Tom caught it in his peripheral vision, spinning and shooting. The future predator crashed to the floor, riddled with bullets. Tom felt Lester lean into him in relief they were still alive. When he turned to ask him if he was okay he found them face to face only inches apart. He knew they could blame the kiss on adrenaline, on the 'thank God we are still alive' but when he pulled back and looked into Lester's eyes Tom knew that wouldn't happen.
One dance was over, and the next was just beginning.
Chapter 3: Past Regrets - Nick/Stephen
Something had changed... for the better.
Written for Fandom Stocking 2017 for goldarrow
Nick knew something else had changed the moment he stepped back through the anomaly into his own time period and found Stephen waiting for him on the other side acting as if he had always been there. In truth he had, but Nick still had the memories of a timeline where Stephen sacrificed himself to save him, ripped to pieces by creatures from different times in Leek's exotic zoo. He couldn't recall doing anything to warrant a change but at the back of his mind he had always wondered about the Butterfly Effect, and how accidentally crushing a single butterfly in the past could impact on the future. For once he truly didn't care because Stephen was standing in front of him, smiling brightly in welcome.
"Got me worried there. According to the Kanan the anomaly's closing in... Three. Two. One."
Nick had half turned in time to watch it wink out of existence, unsure what a Kanan was but guessing it was a device that could predict how long an anomaly would remain open. He'd look into it later but for now all he could think about was the man standing right in front of him. He gave in to the incredible need to reach out, intending just to reassure himself with a friendly touch but Stephen hugged him hard, almost burying his head against Nick's shoulder. It took all of Nick's strength to keep the tears he'd been holding back since the funeral from flooding down his face.
The past months he had lived with so many regrets after he allowed Helen to come between them, damaging their fragile new relationship that had gone beyond mere friendship.
Once he had written up all the reports he sought out Stephen, inviting him back to his home to talk. By the following morning, when he woke up with Stephen curled beside him in the bed, he put those regrets firmly behind him in the past where they belonged.
Chapter 4: Let the Teasing Begin - Lester/Becker
Lester catches Becker and his soldiers loitering in the ARC.
Written for Fandom Stocking 2017 for knitekat
"I hardly believe that is appropriate behavior, Captain Becker."
Secretly Lester enjoyed the way Becker jumped as it was so rare to catch the man off guard. He watched as Becker barked orders as he sent three of his men off to do more appropriate soldier related tasks while he waited for Becker to explain why he and four soldiers had been loitering outside the ladies bathroom.
"Danny Quinn keeps finding ways to bypass security and get into the ARC. I believe there's another security risk inside... there."
"And the loitering accomplished what exactly?" Lester rolled his eyes. "Go in, man, and check it out."
"Abby's in there. I'm just waiting for her to leave first... as a courtesy."
The door opened and Abby gave them all what their American cousins called the stink-eye as she passed.
"I'll let you carry on then."
Lester watched as Becker and one of his men entered the bathroom as if it was unknown terrain on the other side of an anomaly. He smiled because Becker had given him plenty of ammunition to tease him rotten this evening when they slipped off home to his flat. At the very least Becker would likely be giving his men extra duties for allowing him to sneak up on them, After all he could have been anyone - another Cutter clone, or God forbid, even Helen.
Later that night he leaned up on one elbow as he watched Becker undress, admiring the firm lines of a man who kept in good shape for his job. Becker turned and for a moment Lester forgot to breathe, only taking a breath when Becker dragged him into a kiss. They made love slowly, passionately, and once sated and clean they cuddled up together, dismissing any notion of it not being very manly. Lester let his fingers drift down the perspiring skin and smiled as his thoughts went back to earlier in the day.
Now let the teasing begin.