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Primeval100 Drabbles

Chapter Text

“One green bottle, standing on the wall,
One green bottle, standing on the wall,
And if one green bottle, should accidentally fall,
There’ll be no green bottles standing on the wall.”


Becker sighed in relief. They’d started at one hundred, and no amount of threatening to leave them by the side of the road or feed them to a velociraptor had made any difference.

But now it was over, thank god.

“One hundred green bottles, standing on the wall…”

Becker stopped the truck, climbed out, and opened one of the back doors.

Danny and Connor blinked at him.

“Out. Now.”

Chapter Text

His blindness is absolute, and Stephen has only the vaguest idea of the direction Nick’s voice is coming from when he speaks.

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes.”

A hand caresses his face, his throat, his chest, brushing a nipple and then moving lower still.

A faint clink of metal on metal as Stephen arches upwards into that touch, wrists tugging, testing, but not really.

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes.”

The hand closes around his cock and he arches again. “Nick…” The word is broken, a plea for mercy, for release, for anything. The tugging is more insistent now.

“Trust me.”

Chapter Text

“So what’s this new assignment of yours, anyway?”

Wilko lobbed a can of beer at him, and Becker caught it easily before replying.

“No idea. First briefing’s tomorrow. Some suit called James Lester wants me in his office at 9am. It’s UK based, though – probably babysitting or something.”

“Sounds like a cushy number, if you ask me,” Wilko observed.

“Well, I do get to select my own team, so you’d better start being nice to me.”

“Three cheers for the captain’s new job,” someone called facetiously.

“A toast to the new babysitter!”

Becker grimaced. He really hoped it wasn’t babysitting.

Chapter Text

Abby and Connor surveyed the scene before them. The anomaly was spinning gently above the lawn. Their fluffy visitor was sitting in a flowerbed. And the group of five-year-olds on the patio were getting impatient.

‘The Magnificent Marvolo’ appeared beside them. “And to think I have trouble pulling a rabbit out of a hat!” he whispered, sounding amazed.

“Don’t worry, Mr Marvolo,” Abby whispered back. “We’ll sort this out very soon.”

“Faster than you can say ‘Hocus Pocus!’” Connor added – too loudly. With a squeak, the creature shot under the shed.

“Faster than you can say ‘Abracadabra’?” Connor amended hopefully.

Chapter Text

When he was three, he was afraid of the dark. His Gran bought a nightlight for his bedroom.

When he was ten, he was afraid of Jimmy Pearson, the school bully. Mr. Warne told Jimmy off and he wasn’t bothered again.

When he was seventeen, he kissed his first girl. He was afraid he’d done it wrong, but she smiled and kissed him back.

When he was twenty-two, he was afraid of the anomalies. Professor Cutter gave him confidence in himself.

But now everything was on his shoulders, and Connor felt like that three year-old again, cowering in the dark.

Chapter Text

“Connor! Did you take my laundry out of the dryer?”

“Yes!” He decided not to mention that he’d then dumped it in a heap on the kitchen table.

“Good - it’s got part of my Halloween party costume in it. Can you fish it out for me? It’s a black lacy top.”

“Okay.” He reached towards the pile of clothes. It moved.

“Er, Abby? Is your laundry haunted by any chance?”

“What?”

The pile moved again. Then a green, lizard-like head poked itself out.

“Rex! You scared me, mate. It is Halloween, you know.”

“Connor? What’s going on?”

“Never mind."

Chapter Text

Lester stood outside his office and surveyed his (mostly) deserted domain.

Connor was the only one in sight, tinkering with the anomaly detector again.

Cutter was no doubt holed up in his lab, concocting yet more crazy theories.

Abby was probably down in animal containment, cooing over the latest addition to their growing menagerie.

Stephen was most likely on the firing range, making macho bets with Lieutenant Lyle about their shooting prowess.

And Jenny was in her office, either sweet-talking a journalist or sharpening her stilettos.

All was quiet and peaceful in the ARC.

Lester’s eyes narrowed.

It couldn’t last.

Chapter Text

“And then Cutter said…” Connor broke off mid sentence, his eyes widening. “Oh my god!”

“What?” Abby asked, looking over her shoulder.

Lieutenant Lyle was walking across the atrium. He was completely naked.

“Oh my god…”

There was laughter above them. Stephen and Ryan were leaning on the balcony rail, enjoying the show.

“Do you want your clothes back yet, Lieutenant?” Ryan called.

Lyle flipped him the finger and kept walking.

Stephen smirked. “That’ll teach him not to put naked pictures of me on the noticeboards,” he said.

Abby hesitated for a second, and then headed for the nearest noticeboard.

Chapter Text

The jagged, sparkling shards of the anomaly looked even more mysterious in the moonlight. Nick stared at it, willing it to give up its secrets, to give him some of the answers he craved.

The anomalies had taken everyone he’d ever cared about from him. Helen, Claudia, Stephen, Abby…even Connor. They had taken his life and shredded it, leaving him bereft.

And yet he couldn’t turn his back on them, he couldn’t walk away. The anomalies were the only thing left to him, now that they’d taken everything else. Their mysteries were all he had, and all he needed.

Chapter Text

Since starting this job she’d progressively nearly had her hair eaten, been splattered with worm guts, been soaked through, had gun pointed at her by an angry farmer, been soaked through again, and missed her own engagement party. Although the last one she wasn’t so bothered about.

She dreaded to think what might happen next.

And yet, despite all that, Jenny Lewis was enjoying herself. She hadn’t had this much fun in ages. She almost didn’t recognise herself.

Was this what Cutter imagined when he looked at her? Was she turning into Claudia Brown?

And would that be so bad?

Chapter Text

Nick groaned. It was a good groan, he thought. It accurately conveyed just how much pain he was in, and how fuzzy his head felt.

Somewhere above him, voices were speaking.

“Maybe we should give him some chocolate.”

“What?”

“You know, like in Harry Potter, when they go all wobbly after seeing a dementor.”

“He’s been walloped by an iguanodon, not fainted at the sight of an entirely fictional ghoul! He needs a medic, not sweets.”

“Well, maybe the sugar will stop him going into shock, then.”

“Please stop trying to be helpful, Connor. It’s not helping.”

Nick groaned again.

Chapter Text

The bank of lockers shook visibly as Anders slammed Carter against it, and then proceeded to plunder the other soldier’s mouth, grinding their bodies together as he pushed against the other man.

“Fuck…why the hell…did we…wait so long?” Carter groaned.

“Because…we’re idiots?” Anders replied breathlessly.

Then both men froze as a slow round of applause started somewhere behind them. Looking round sharply, they found they had an audience.

“It’s about bloody time,” Maguire said, grinning.

“I thought they were never going to get there,” Rees agreed.

Captain Jacobs smirked. “I’d say this calls for a celebration.”

Chapter Text

“Time to go to bed, young man.”

“Can I have a bedtime story, Dad? Please.”

“Okay. What kind of story do you want?”

“A scary one! It’s Halloween!”

“You’re too young for scary stories.”

“But I’m nine!”

“In that case I think you’re too old for bedtime stories at all.”

“But Dad…”

“All right. But your mother mustn’t find out about this. And if you have nightmares, don’t blame me.”

Lester thought for a minute, and then smiled. “This story is about a haunted house. No one lived there, and the neighbours often reported seeing strange lights in the windows…”

Chapter Text

“So this wouldn’t be a mixed signal at all, then,” Stephen ground out, as he felt his arse stretch around Cutter’s cock.

Cutter’s only response was to grunt and press deeper.

Stephen still wasn’t quite sure how it had happened. One minute they’d been arguing loudly and furiously, the next Cutter was bending him over the desk.

Not that Stephen was complaining. In fact, the groan he let out as Cutter’s cock brushed over his prostate could rather have been described as encouraging.

He wondered if this might be Cutter’s way of apologising.

If so, the apology was definitely accepted.

Chapter Text


“Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind…”

Nick tried to tune the words from the radio out as he raised his glass of whiskey in silent toast, and then tossed it back. But the song continued stubbornly, mingling with muffled firework bangs from somewhere outside.

His phone beeped. Tiredly, he pulled it out of his pocket, expecting a message from Connor. However, the display showed a different name.

Tentatively, he opened the message.

Happy New Year, Cutter

Nick stared at it for a few moments and then, almost despite himself, typed one back.

Happy New Year, Stephen

Chapter Text

“Can I have a gun?”

“No.”

“Can I have a gun?”

“No.”

“Can I have a gun?”

Stephen sighed in annoyance, but then suddenly smiled.  “Okay.”

Connor blinked.  “I can?”

“Yes, you can.  Wait here a minute.”

Stephen went and rummaged in the truck for a few seconds and then came back, holding something behind his back.

“Now, this is only to be used in extreme emergencies.”

“Of course.”

“Only if the sabre-tooth gets so close that you have no other choice.”

“I understand.”

Stephen held out the weapon and grinned.

Connor looked down at the water pistol and scowled.

Chapter Text

Monday’s anomaly went to the Triassic, although Becker would only let them have a five minute look.

Tuesday’s anomaly brought them a herd of hyracotheria. Everyone got a lot of exercise that day.

Wednesday’s anomaly was extremely dull, but they were glad of the rest.

Thursday’s anomaly was only open for ten minutes, not enough time for them to even leave the ARC.

Friday’s anomaly was in the Forest of Dean – a known quantity.

Saturday’s anomaly went undetected. They never knew about it.

Sunday’s anomaly returned those they thought were lost – Tom Ryan, Stephen Hart, and Nick Cutter. Everybody stared.

Chapter Text


It’s hard work running a top-secret research facility. Christine has to deal with incompetent subordinates, endless reports, and tedious meetings with the Minister.

Not to mention the future predators, portals to the distant past, and the necessity of spying on a rival organisation (no sign of the artefact yet, but she does now know how many sugars everyone at the ARC likes in their tea, and that the building’s maintenance cupboards are often used for far more interesting things than storing cleaning supplies).

And she manages it all while wearing high heels.

She’d like to see James Lester try that.

Chapter Text

“This is a really bad idea, Quinn.”

“Oh, lighten up, soldier boy. What’s the problem?”

Becker muffled a groan as Danny sucked at the soft skin below his ear. “How about the fact that we work together, for a start?”

“Don’t be stupid. Apparently the sainted Cutter and Hart were at it like rabbits all the time.”

“Okay, then, perhaps I don’t want to be caught ‘at it’ behind the weapons racks.”

“Lighten up,” said Danny again, and Becker’s next protest died as a hand wormed its way into his trousers.

Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Chapter Text

“What is that?”

“It’s a Christmas tree,” said Connor.

“And why is it in my office?” asked Nick.

“Because it’s Christmas,” answered Abby, coming through the door with a plate of mince pies.

“Yeah, Nick, where’s your festive spirit?” said Stephen, appearing suddenly from behind a cabinet, wearing a paper crown.

“On holiday,” replied Nick grumpily.

“Don’t be such a Scrooge,” Claudia’s voice floated out from behind the tree, where she was apparently fiddling with his CD player.

As the strains of ‘Band Aid’ filled the air, Nick gave up and took a mince pie.  Sometimes you just couldn’t win.

Chapter Text

When Helen disappeared, it was left to Nick to tell her parents their only daughter had vanished without trace.  Together, they’d all clung to the belief that she was still alive somewhere.

By the time she’d come back there was no one left to inform.  Both her father and mother had passed away – thankfully neither of them ever learned what a heartless and selfish person Helen had become.

And now Nick had to give Stephen’s parents the same terrible news.  Only this time there was a coffin and a grave and a funeral.  And none of them could pretend otherwise.

Chapter Text

Becker didn’t understand half of what he was reading, but he kept going anyway. Somewhere amongst all these files there had to be something that would help him find Abby and Connor and Danny.

He yawned, the words on the computer screen blurring for a second, and then stiffened as someone cleared their throat behind him.

“How long have you been here, Captain?” Lester asked.

“Not sure,” Becker mumbled. He hadn’t thought anyone knew he was down here. How had Lester found out?

Then he spotted Jess.

“Sorry, Becker,” she said. “But I couldn’t let you carry on like this.”

Chapter Text

It didn’t seem like quite the right time for birthdays.

Tomorrow Kathy and Nicky would arrive, bearing gifts and false cheer, which Liz would enjoy for their sakes, if not for hers.

But for now it was just the three of them, sitting in a quiet hospital ward. Together.

Lester produced a small cupcake. “I’m sorry it’s not more,” he said awkwardly.

Liz smiled. “This is fine, Dad,” she replied quietly.

“Where’s the candle?” Jamie demanded.

His sister rolled her eyes. “Oh, I’m sure the nurses would really like that.”

“Well, make a wish anyway,” he insisted.

“Okay.”

She wished.

Chapter Text

Nick thinks about all the promises they’ve made to each other over the years. The small ones - I promise to replace the milk when I’ve used it up. The medium ones - I promise to teach your seminars this week. And the big ones - I promise never to leave you.

Now they are all undone, lying shattered about his feet like so much broken glass.

“I promise I never meant to hurt you, Nick.” Stephen’s blue eyes are desperate, pleading, but Nick can’t meet his gaze. Can’t even look at him.

“Promises, promises,” he murmurs bitterly, turning away.

Chapter Text

Bloody ants!

Ryan slapped at one of the little buggers before it ran over his lunch. The lunch that was providing the only distraction while he waited for the anomaly to reopen.

Well, nearly the only distraction.

“Ignore them,” Stephen said. He was sunning himself on the short green grass, totally unconcerned about the attack being mounted on Ryan’s sandwiches.

Ryan was about to retaliate rudely when an ant appeared on Stephen’s nose.

The nose twitched. Then it wrinkled.

Stephen swiped the ant aside and then pulled a disgusted face.

“I thought you said to ignore them?” said Ryan innocently.

Chapter Text

He’d been carrying the guilt around for so long that he could almost ignore the shackles it had on his heart. It was just another part of the background, another weight to become accustomed to.

But then Helen’s spite had blown everything wide open, he’d seen the look of devastation on Nick’s face, and the guilt had come roaring back, tearing into him anew, forcing him to face what he’d done once more.

It hurt, there was no doubt about that. And he knew things could never be the same again.

But despite all the consequences, he felt strangely free.

Chapter Text

“Arise, Dame Jennifer…”

Lester stifled a groan. Groaning was frowned upon at events such as these.

Across the aisle, the newly made Sir Connor grinned at him and winked. Closing his eyes briefly in despair, Lester resisted the urge to massage his temples.

He’d tried to tell Her Majesty that, really, there was no need for such an extravagant display of gratitude – job satisfaction was reward enough for his team.

But she’d insisted, and one really couldn’t argue with a queen when she was determined to celebrate the courage of the common man.

“Arise, Sir Nicholas…”

Lester groaned. Very quietly.

Chapter Text

“Care to explain this?” Ditzy demanded.

“It appears to be a duty roster,” Ryan replied.

“Correct. With your name next to the 17th.”

“And…?”

“And you know that’s Finn’s birthday. He’ll be crushed if you miss his party.”

“Someone’s got to be on duty,” Ryan countered.

“Come on, boss. It’ll be a laugh. There’ll be cake. And anyway, what’s your alternative? Potential boredom, or possible death if an anomaly opens.”

“Well…”

“It’s chocolate cake,” Ditzy wheedled. “And Lyle’s hiring a karaoke machine.”

That decided him. Possible death it was. Not even chocolate cake made up for Lyle’s attempts at karaoke.

Chapter Text

Ryan drew back as the squirming body beneath him bucked up suddenly.

“God, please stop torturing me!” Nick’s accent was thick, and it sent a shudder all the way down Ryan’s body to his aching cock.

But all he did was smile innocently at his lover. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Please…” Nick choked out.

Ryan’s smile turned wicked, and then his lips resumed kissing every inch of Nick’s skin he could reach. There was a whimper as his mouth bypassed Nick’s cock to nuzzle at the soft skin of his thigh.

No one could say he wasn’t thorough.

Chapter Text

“So, why did you decide to join the Special Forces?” Connor asked one day.

Matt thought for a moment. “Well…”

“I can’t even imagine wanting to be a regular soldier, never mind one of the badass ones like you!”

“Actually, I originally wanted to be a doctor,” Matt confessed. “I even started medical school.”

“What happened?”

Matt shrugged. “It didn’t really suit me. Then a mate decided to join the army. It sounded like a good idea, and I was still able to train as a field medic. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Connor grinned. “Lucky for me!”

Chapter Text

Five minutes after Burton had departed, Lester arrived. Connor was still staring into space, mind awhirl, when the other man grasped him by the shoulders and forced him to look at him.

“Connor, I won’t let you do this.”

Connor blinked. “How did you know?”

Lester sighed. “In his supreme arrogance, Philip seems to have forgotten that the ARC has surveillance cameras everywhere.” Then he gave Connor a little shake. “But that’s not the point here. You can’t do it, Connor.”

“But he said…about you and me…and your reputation…”

“My reputation doesn’t matter as much as your life.”

*~*~*~*~*

Three days later…

“Connor?” There was a soft touch on his shoulder. “Please tell me you didn’t give in to him.”

“I couldn’t,” Connor said in a small voice. “I’m sorry James…”

“Oh, thank god,” Lester said, in a voice Connor had never heard him use before. He wrapped Connor in an embrace. “I would never have forgiven myself if I’d let you sleep with Philip just to protect me. I’m the one who should be sorry, for putting you between us like this.”

“But James, what do we do now?”

“Now,” Lester voice was grim, “we go to war.”

Chapter Text

It was the light he noticed first. It was brighter than normal. And then there was the smell. Floral, but a touch synthetic. Not the usual musty, fusty smell at all.
 
“Surprise!”
 
Stephen, Connor, and Abby were standing in the middle of his office. His disturbingly tidy office. 
 
“What have you done?”
 
The three culprits smiled brightly. “We cleaned!” they chorused.
 
“But did you organise? Do you know where anything is?”
 
Three faces fell.
 
“Er…”
 
“Well…”
 
“You see…”
 
Nick sighed. It had taken him ages to arrange things to his liking. Now he would have to start all over again.

Chapter Text

He knew Becker was dubious about him and his CV. And he knew Lester had hired him anyway, despite those doubts.

They were right to doubt. For a start, Matt hadn’t climbed Everest. Of course he hadn’t.

But he had climbed other mountains. Mountains they couldn’t imagine. Mountains that didn’t even have names yet. Mountains that weren’t even on a map yet.

And then there was his mission. What he’d come here to do. Some days it merely felt like an uphill struggle. But some days it felt like the biggest mountain of all.

Everest was nothing compared to this.

Chapter Text

“Connor! Snap out of it!”

Connor started, and turned wide and frightened eyes to Lieutenant Rees, who smiled reassuringly at him despite the heavy beam that was pinning him to the ground.

“I’m sorry, Connor, but it’s up to you.”

“What?”

“I need you to help Carter. He’s in a bad way and I can’t reach him.”

“But I don’t know how…”

“I’m right here, Connor. I’ll talk you through it. First you need to check his breathing and pulse. Take two fingers and place them on the side of his throat. Stay calm, I know you can do it…”

Chapter Text

Ryan tried to calm his breathing as Stephen nuzzled at his cock, his tongue chasing a few stray drops of come up its length, sending pleasant aftershocks through Ryan’s body.

He could hear the strains of some dire Christmas tune floating down the corridor, and prayed the music had been loud enough to cover any noise he’d made. It was bloody impossible to keep quiet when Stephen was sucking his dick.

Stephen stood up, a satisfied smile on his face. “Do you think anyone missed us?”

Ryan glared. “Only everyone.”

“Do you care?” He licked his lips provocatively.

“Not really.”

Chapter Text

“I knew we should have turned left back at those crossroads,” Jenny muttered.

Cutter frowned. “I thought this would be a shortcut,” he said crossly.

Jenny rolled her eyes. “Look, let’s stop and ask that farmer for directions.”

“But…”

“Just stop, Cutter.”

Still grumbling, Cutter stopped. Jenny wound down the window and smiled sweetly at the farmer. “Excuse me, we’re trying to find Whittlestone Country Park. Can you help?”

“It’s back that way.” The farmer pointed. “At the crossroads, take the turning for Arlsbury.”

“Thank you.” Jenny looked triumphantly at Cutter. “You’ll need to turn around.”

“But…”

“Just do it!”

*~*~*~*~*

Meanwhile, in another country lane not too far away…

“Oh, we are going to be so late!”

Connor looked contrite. “Sorry, Abby. I was sure this was the way.”

“By the time we get there, the anomaly will have closed.”

“No, it won’t. Look, I’ll find a farm gate to turn round in.”

It took almost another mile to find a suitable turning spot, and then they were finally headed in what Abby hoped was the right direction.

“Er, Abby…”

“What?”

Connor nodded ahead, at the herd of cows that had suddenly appeared in the road. “Cows.”

Abby sighed. “Great.”

Chapter Text

“I’m telling you, it’s an important archaeological discovery!”

“And I’m telling you, it’s an important palaeontological discovery!”

“How can it be palaeontological?  It’s in the Roman sub-layers, not some limestone rock strata!”

“Oh, you wouldn’t understand.”

Claudia turned to the woman standing next to her.  “Claudia Brown, Home Office.”

“Gillian Magwilde, Wessex University.”  They shook hands.

How long do you think they’ll be at it?”  Claudia gestured at the four men arguing furiously in a muddy hole.

“A while, I should think.  They seem to be having fun.”

Claudia rolled her eyes, and then smiled at Gillian.  “Fancy a coffee?”

Chapter Text

“Congratulations, Connor.”

Nick passed him a glass of champagne, and Connor grinned before taking a mouthful.

“Dr. Temple. It still sounds weird.”

“You deserve it,” said Nick warmly. “You’ve worked hard, and hell knows these past few years haven’t exactly been a walk in the park.”

“Thanks.” Connor took another sip, and then smiled again – a slow, speculative quirking of his lips. “You know what this means, don’t you? I’m not your student any more.”

Nick raised an eyebrow, absorbing the realisation. Then he set his glass down and reached out a hand, pulling Connor towards him.

“No, you’re not.”

Chapter Text

As Lorraine opened the door, the dulcet tones of Cliff Richard, previously muted by the glass, flowed into Lester’s office.

“Miss Wickes, do you happen to know how many times in a row my employees are planning to play that song?”

“No, sir,” Lorraine replied, her face expressionless.

“Well,” said Lester, inspiration suddenly striking, “you can tell them that if they don’t turn that racket off, they’ll be working on Christmas Day. And they won’t get paid overtime.”

“Yes, sir.” Lorraine left the office. Twenty seconds later, the seventeenth consecutive rendition of ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ cut off mid-chorus.

Lester smiled.

Chapter Text

For some unknown reason, Stephen had decided to teach Connor how to fence. Unfortunately Connor, whose head was filled with images of Robin Hood, and possibly Jack Sparrow, wasn’t taking Stephen’s instruction on board.

Nick and Abby watched apprehensively as Connor waved the sword around in front of him, striking what he imagined were dashing poses, while Stephen looked on helplessly.

And when Connor turned and started coming towards them, still whirling the sword around madly, Abby took a couple of quick steps back, and muttered something that Nick considered to be very good advice.

“This is where we duck.”

Chapter Text

To the Dean she had been just another nuisance academic.

To Stephen she had been a mentor, and apparently also a lover.

To Lester she was a menace, one of the banes of his existence.

To Jenny she was unsettling, more evidence of something she didn’t want to believe.

To Leek she was an ally, albeit it one to be watched, carefully.

To Connor she was a source of information, someone who could teach them so much if only she were willing.

But to Nick… She was his wife, and always would be.

No one else seemed to understand that.

Chapter Text

It had seemed like it was going to be a boring anomaly at first.

There were no creatures to be seen on the other side, only a field of poppy-like flowers, stretching off into the distance (and really, that should have been their first clue – hadn’t anyone else seen The Wizard of Oz?)

Abby was the first to start yawning, soon followed by Cutter, Stephen, and even Ryan.

One by one, they sank down into the flowers, asleep before they hit the ground.

Connor felt like he should be worried, but it was hard when you were so very tired…

*~*~*~*~*

It weaved its way amongst the flowers, immune to the scent and pollen in the air as its eyes searched out its latest victims.

It hadn’t grown the flowers, but it was quick to take the advantage they provided.

This prey was different to that which it usually encountered, but it wasn’t fussy. Five specimens, enough to sate its hunger and that of its mate for several days.

One hadn’t quite succumbed yet, blinking up at it with glassy eyes, yet unable to summon the will to move.

Then the eyes slid shut, and it bent to begin its feasting.

Chapter Text


Fifteen months. Fifteen sodding months. That was how long Danny Quinn had been stuck in the wilds of prehistory, with no friends, no help, no way home, and only the memory of Helen Cutter’s death to keep him warm at night.

He’d been beginning to wonder whether he hadn’t completely imagined the anomalies when one had finally appeared, a miraculous doorway to the twenty-first century.

He’d made a beeline straight for the ARC. For Connor, Abby, Becker, Sarah – hell, even for Lester.

“Honey, I’m home!”

His voice echoed back at him.

There was no one there. The place was empty.

Chapter Text

He’d been called the geek. The idiot. The one who got in the way when he wasn’t even supposed to be there in the first place. All labels that hurt, although he’d done his best not to show it.

He supposed he was still the geek (and why was that such a bad thing?). Still the idiot, if the looks Cutter sometimes gave him were any indication. Still the one who got in the way, particularly when someone was trying to shoot something large and angry.

But now he was something else too.  Now he was part of the team.

Chapter Text

“Dr. Cutter?”
 
Helen surveyed the young man standing in front of her. Tall, slim, dark hair, blue eyes. Not an unattractive package.
 
“And you are?”
 
“Stephen. Stephen Hart. I’m starting your class in Evolutionary Palaeontology next week.”
 
“And are you looking forward to it?”
 
Stephen smiled. “Oh, very much. I’ve read all your work. And that of your husband. Will he be joining the class, by any chance?”
 
Helen’s mood soured. She did not want to talk about Nick with one of her students. Particularly not this one.
 
“I doubt it. Now, why don’t you tell me more about yourself?”

Chapter Text

Claudia had never really bothered with Valentine’s Day. ‘An excuse for the card companies and flower merchants to make a bit more money’, as she was fond of telling her friends.

Still, she couldn’t deny that she was a tiny bit disappointed not to find an envelope waiting on the doormat when she left for work that morning.

The disappointment lasted until she stepped out of the lift at her floor. Then Lindsey from Human Resources nudged her and pointed towards Claudia’s own desk.

“Wow. Who’s sent you those?”

Claudia looked at the large bouquet of red roses, and smiled.

Chapter Text

Danny sat on the hillside and watched the hominids in the valley below him. Despite the anomaly closing, despite the fact he was stuck here, he couldn’t regret coming.

Because he knew that if he got home he’d find the human race still going strong. His friends, his family, would still be there.

And this community, this race, would be safe as well, here and now. And at the moment, that almost seemed to matter more.

Danny stood up and went down the hill to introduce himself to the hominids.

After all, in a way they were his family too.

Chapter Text

Abby sighed as she scanned the crowd from the doorway. She was getting some distinctly hopeful looks, and she wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible.

Trust Connor to pick today to go to a Star Trek convention. A new anomaly had opened, and they needed him and his database urgently.

What was it with geeks? More specifically, what was it with geek dress sense? They all looked the bloody same. Connor was better concealed in here than a chameleon in the rainforest.

Sighing again, Abby squared her shoulders. It was no good. She was going in.

Chapter Text

Four months ago she was merely a junior civil servant, praying for something to happen in her life.

Three months ago she met Nick Cutter in the Forest of Dean. Something had happened.

Two months ago she discovered that Cutter came with rather a lot of baggage. Ex-wives were a bitch.

One month ago she was attacked by a flock of pterosaurs, and kissed by Nick in the same day. That was a day to remember.

One minute ago, she’d kissed Nick back, and then watched as he disappeared through an anomaly.

She wondered if she’d ever see him again.

Chapter Text

ARC Newsletter #11

Some interesting snippets this week, readers…

Sid and Nancy have given birth to a healthy litter of new diictodons, named John, Paul, George and Ringo, despite their other owner’s request to call them Scary, Sporty, Posh and Baby.

Captain Becker and Jess Parker were seen kissing in the break room last Wednesday. This reporter wishes them every happiness (it’s about time, guys!).

And finally, I hope you’ll all join me in wishing our esteemed boss a very happy birthday. Forty-five years young and looking good, James!


“Connor!”

“Connor!”

“Connor!”

Connor!

Connor quickly locked his lab door, grinning.

Chapter Text

Jim sat in the bows of the small boat, staring ahead through the darkness at the light atop the cliffs that was guiding them in to shore.

He felt uneasy. Something wasn’t right. The light wasn’t right. It seemed to have an unearthly glow this night.

But he was only the cabin boy. The captain would merely laugh at his worries.

Then he blinked. The light was gone, as if it had never been. “Captain!” he gasped, as the boat hit something and shuddered.

When he felt the water around his ankles, Jim knew he would never see land again.

*~*~*~*~*

Abby stood on the cliff and gazed out over the ocean, the sea air whipping around her, catching at her hair and clothes.

“Smugglers used to work along these shores,” Stephen said, as he, Cutter and Connor joined her.

“Fun,” Abby replied dryly.

“So where’s this anomaly, Connor?” Cutter asked.

“It should be right here,” Connor said. Then he slowly looked up at the lighthouse that towered over them. “Er, I think it might be up there.”

Abby looked up too, and imagined a beacon on a dark night, a beacon that suddenly vanished, leaving the smugglers to their fate…

Chapter Text

“…and they all lived happily ever after.”

Nick shut the storybook and smiled at the now sleeping little boy in the bed. Quietly, he left the bedroom, and went downstairs to the living room.

The smile left his face as he surveyed the line of photos on the mantelpiece. Too many faces looked back at him, starting with Helen and ending with the parents of the child upstairs.

Connor and Abby Temple had given their lives to the anomalies. There might not be any happily ever after for them, but Nick would ensure their son didn’t miss out on his.

Chapter Text

“Will you stop being so stubborn, man! You’ve had to drag me across this godforsaken desert – the least you could do is let me return the favour.”

Ryan coughed, and Nick tried not to notice how wet the noise sounded, or the suspicious redness on the soldier’s lips.

“I only had to drag you across this ‘godforsaken desert’ because I’d had to knock you out for being an idiot,” Ryan said. “I’m injured.”

“That’s exactly my point. You’re injured. So stop trying to play the hero, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Good.” Nick nodded firmly. “Now let’s get the hell out of here.”

Chapter Text

“Oh my god.”

“What?” Jenny didn’t raise her eyes from the report she was hastily completing before the evening’s festivities.

“Well, when you dared the guys to dress up for the ARC Halloween party, I think they might have taken you a bit too seriously.”

Now Jenny did look up. And her jaw all but dropped.

Parading across the atrium were Cutter, Stephen, Connor, and – Jenny blinked - was that Lester? They were all wearing dresses. And heels. And make-up. And wigs.

“Oh my god.” Jenny echoed Abby’s sentiment.

Then her eyes narrowed. “Wait a moment, are those my stilettos?”

Chapter Text

This new ARC was far too big, Lester decided as he peered around. It might suit Philip Burton’s ego, but really, it was just ridiculous.

Why, for example, the need for this subterranean labyrinth of corridors?

A gentle touch to Lester’s shoulder made him flinch, and he turned to glare at Becker.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to creep up on people?”

“Sorry,” replied Becker. Then he fisted a hand in Lester’s hair, pulling his head back so he could kiss him fiercely.

No one was likely to find them down here. These corridors might have their uses after all.

Chapter Text

Sharp suit.

Supercilious sneer of disdain.

Sarcastic tongue.

That was what people saw when they looked at Sir James Lester.

And to be honest, that was what Jon Lyle saw as well.

Luckily, he could also see what was under the suit, sneer, and sarcasm.

A surprisingly well-toned body.

A decent man, just doing his job.

And…no, actually, the sarcasm went all the way to the core.

Almost.

“I should get you out of that suit more often,” Lyle commented, before casually running his tongue along the length of Lester’s cock.

Jon…”

Occasionally, it seemed, even the sarcasm failed.

Chapter Text

Rex watched his two humans flap their arms about and yell at each other…again.

The blond one – she was one who fed him and cleaned his tank, but was annoyingly insistent about keeping the windows closed – was upset with the dark-haired one, who always provided forbidden pizza, and could often be relied upon to leave a window open.

Rex didn’t like it when his humans were angry. He chittered at them, but they took no notice. Looking around he spied an open window.

Aha! Rex wouldn’t ever leave his humans permanently, but it would be nice to stretch his wings…

Chapter Text

Herding Hyracotheria had become something of a game. The little equines were nippy, and had a certain aversion to being sent home. By the time they’d completed their task everyone was panting with exertion.

Laughing breathlessly, Connor raised a hand in celebration, and for once Abby slapped her palm against his in a high five.

“Look out!”

A stray Hyracotherium burst from the bushes, with Ryan hot on its heels.

There was a yell, and then a thud.

Eyes dancing with mirth, Abby looked down at Connor where he was sprawled on the ground.

“Looks like we spoke too soon...”

Chapter Text

Connor saw his opportunity to go through the anomaly as a sign that he’d finally ‘arrived’. Abby viewed it as disaster waiting to happen. Especially since this particular anomaly led to the future. Privately, Abby wondered what Cutter was thinking, but she was wisely keeping her mouth shut.
 
She watched with trepidation as Connor and Cutter stepped into the sparkling shards of light, and then fidgeted nervously until they reappeared an hour later.
 
As he emerged from the anomaly, Abby saw that Connor looked faintly disappointed.
 
“What’s the matter?” she asked.
 
“I thought it would be more like Star Wars.”

Chapter Text

Jenny gasped as drops of chilled water landed on her heated skin. She tried to twitch away, but the silk scarves around her limbs held her firmly in place.

Sarah smiled, and pressed the melting ice cube held in her hand against Jenny’s stomach, before sliding it up her body towards her breasts

Jenny keened as freezing coldness circled one of her nipples, bringing it to a hard peak in seconds. Then she cried out as Sarah’s hot tongue lapped across icy flesh, revelling in the exquisite feeling.

“Please…”

Sarah smirked, and fished another ice cube out of the glass.

Chapter Text

It could sense the prey. Smell its scent on the wind. Calling to the other members of its pack, it started forward, focused and intent on the hunt.

The prey was oblivious, unknowing of the danger it was in. The pack spread out, waiting for the right moment to strike.

At the last moment, the prey suddenly became aware. Suddenly realised its plight.

It ran. Or at least, it tried to.

This pack was experienced. It brought down the prey effortlessly.

There was a brief moment of celebration, for the hunt had gone well. And then the pack began to feed.

Chapter Text

Nick/Stephen

“Nick, when’s your birthday?”

Nick smiled. This was an old trick of Stephen’s – he’d been springing this question on Nick every so often to try and catch him unawares.

“Not telling.”

“Oh, come on. I’ve been your assistant for well over a year now. You must have had at least one birthday, but you’ve kept it completely quiet. Does anyone actually know your real birth date?”

Nick shrugged. “The people who read my job application?”

“If you don’t tell me when it is how can I give you your present?”

Nick smirked.  "You could just give it to me now."

 

Nick/Claudia

How difficult could it be to get Claudia alone?

On Monday she had to take an important phone call.

On Tuesday he had to go see a panicking student (since when did he have students?).

On Wednesday they had to take Connor to casualty after he fell off his skateboard.

On Thursday an anomaly resulted in havoc and mud and running and mess.

On Friday Lester demanded an explanation for the havoc and mud and running and mess.

On Saturday he chickened out of calling her. Five times.

On Sunday she turned up on his doorstep.

Then they were alone

 

Connor/Abby

“Connor, are you ever going to stop pestering me to go out with you?”

Connor considered. “Unlikely?”

Abby sighed. “And there’s no way I could persuade you to turn your attentions elsewhere?”

“Highly doubtful.”

“Thought not. Well, in that case, I suppose we’d better go out for a drink on Saturday night.”

“What, you mean you and me? Out together? Like on a date?”

“Yes, like on a date. God help me.”

“Oh my god, that’s supercool! You won’t regret it. I promise!”

Connor’s excited grin was infectious, and Abby couldn’t help smiling back.

"Just one thing, though.  You're buying."

 

Stephen/Ryan

“Crap. It’s stuck.”

“How on earth did that happen?”

“How should I know? It’s your equipment.”

“Try pushing it in firmly.”

“Ouch! Bloody thing’s drawn blood!”

“Oh, stop moaning. There’s only a drop.”

“Maybe we could just leave it where it is? That could work.”

“Oh no. It’ll be completely in the way. It’s got to come off.”

“But it’s stuck.”

“You’re just not doing it right. You need to grip it hard and squeeze.”

“Hang on a second, I think it might be…yes!”

There was a satisfying click as a clasp finally slid free.

"Now for the other one."

Chapter Text

Once upon a time there was a dashing knight and a handsome prince, lifelong companions and friends.

One day, a dragon appeared in the kingdom, and the knight vowed that he would not rest until the beast was slain.

The battle was hard, and the knight fought well. But he could not overcome the dragon, and his death was very near.

But then an arrow, shot by the prince, pierced the dragon’s breast, killing the great creature.

The prince and the knight honoured each other for their valour, and their friendship grew even stronger.

And they lived happily ever after.

Chapter Text

“That’s all you cared about. You just wanted to find the future for yourself.”

He’d realised then that Helen was gone, to be replaced by a stranger.

“What happens if you destroy the human race during this experiment?”

“Then we bring it back again.”


That she’d go so far no longer surprised him. But she saw the whole of humanity as an experiment, and he pitied her.

“If you’d seen what I’ve seen, you’d understand. I’m sorry, Nick. I wish there was another way.”

She genuinely believed she was doing the right thing – he’d give her that.

It still hurt.

Chapter Text

She thought about it. She really did. Thought about turning back, about fetching Nick, about taking the cautious approach.

But that had never been her. Cautious wasn’t her style. And although part of her desperately wanted to share her discovery, another part of her didn’t.

This was no time for hesitation. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and she’d be a fool to pass it up.

Helen Cutter paused momentarily in front of the glittering shards of the portal, glanced around one final time at the world she was leaving, and thought about who she was leaving.

“Goodbye, Nick.”

Chapter Text

Somewhere, on a Jurassic beach, the tide was starting to come in…

*~*~*~*~*

Helen Cutter wasn’t nearly as significant as she thought herself.

One human travelling through history – most of the time the Earth didn’t even notice her presence. She was no more important than an insect skating over the surface of a pond.

And thus, when she died, it created only the smallest of ripples in the timelines – ripples that were more about what she hadn’t done than what she had.

The Earth continued undisturbed, and on that Jurassic beach the creeping water slowly obliterated a lone set of footprints…

Chapter Text

Harsh, heavy breathing. Fingers fumbling with belts, buttons and zippers. Lips and tongues fighting for dominance.

There was a bed here…somewhere. But Stephen couldn’t remember where. Right now he could barely even remember his name. With Nick’s lips on his, his brain had apparently decided to take a holiday. And now Stephen couldn’t even get it together to tell Nick why this was a bad idea.

They really should try to find the bed – it would be much more comfortable. But just as Stephen was about to move, Nick broke the kiss and whispered in his ear.

“Bed. Now.”

Chapter Text

Becker’s tired of all the comparisons.

He knows he’s following in the footsteps of someone else, but it’s hard enough to do his job without the spectre of Tom Ryan looking over his shoulder at every moment.

He sees the look in Cutter’s, Temple’s, even Lester’s, eyes when they think he hasn’t made the cut, and the censure stings even though he knows he’s more than good enough to be here.

But he can only hope that one day they’ll realise his worth, and in the meantime he’ll just have to learn to ignore the hovering ghosts of the past.

Chapter Text

“Connor, what’s going on?”

Connor gave her a sheepish look, and gestured at the pile of foodstuffs next to the fire. “I know it’s not turkey with all the trimmings, but it’s the thought that counts, right?”

“But how do you know it’s Christmas?” Abby asked.

“Been keeping track of the days, haven’t I?”

“And what’s this?” Abby poked at a spindly green branch hanging from the roof of the shelter.

“It’s supposed to be mistletoe. For kissing under, yeah?”

“Maybe after dinner. It looks delicious, Connor.” Abby smiled at him, and hoped he couldn’t see how strained it was.

Chapter Text

Stephen stirred, and then woke up properly when he felt something long and hard pressing against his arse.

“Really?” he mumbled. “Again?”

“Don’t try and tell me you don’t want it,” Ryan whispered, fingers brushing along Stephen’s own erect cock.

His lover had just returned from a three month long tour – tired, a little thinner, but above all, horny. This was the third night running in which Stephen was sure he’d been fucked more than he’d slept.

But somehow he couldn’t bring himself to really complain.

“Fine,” he gasped, as Ryan’s hand closed properly around his cock. “Again.”

Ryan chuckled.

Chapter Text

Connor was glad he and Abby were friends. For one, she was letting him stay in her flat. And for another, she was a lot of fun to hang out with. Even if she did hate Sci-Fi of any description…

And he could count on her in a crisis. Of which there were a lot when your existence featured dinosaurs and other prehistoric monsters. Connor flattered himself that he had helped Abby out of one or two difficult spots in the past, as well.

Yes, Connor was glad he and Abby were friends.

He just wished they could be more...

Chapter Text

Becker wasn’t sure why he’d taken them in. He wasn’t really a ‘pet’ person, and this lost were rather more of a handful than your average hamster, or even Labrador.

But for some reason, he hadn’t been able to leave them languishing in the menagerie, and sometimes it seemed (even though he knew he was being silly) they were grateful for his intervention.

When Connor and Abby walked through the door though, all thoughts of Becker were forgotten.

Becker smiled at the little group. Sid, Nancy, and Rex were loyal to their owners, and that was as it should be.

Chapter Text

He tried to talk to her over breakfast that morning, but the newspaper was too effective a barrier between them.

He tried to talk to her in the office at work, but she’d filled up her morning with students and lectures and marking.

He tried to talk to talk to her after lunch, as she stuffed some extra things in her rucksack, but she just didn’t want to listen.

He tried to talk to her as she walked out the door, but she slammed it in his face.

The next day, Helen was gone, and Nick wished he’d tried harder.

Chapter Text

He didn’t want to do it, but sometimes he couldn’t help it. Couldn’t help thinking about all those who were lost. All those he’d failed to save.

Sarah Page, Danny Quinn, Connor Temple, Abby Maitland, Nick Cutter. All gone.

Not here.

Last man standing, that’s what he was.

A hand settled on Becker’s shoulder, squeezing minutely.

“Stop blaming yourself,” a voice instructed acerbically, although Becker thought he could detect the genuine concern beneath the sharpness. He was getting good at that.

He leaned into the touch, ever so slightly, taking comfort from it.

Maybe he wasn’t quite the last man.

Chapter Text

“Cutter, what is it going to take to get you to be punctual for once?” Lester asked exasperatedly.

“What does it matter what time I arrive?” Nick replied, scowling.

“Because you’re setting a bad example, that’s why.”

“Well, if my punctuality is so important to you, perhaps you should come home with me tonight. Then you can chivvy me out of bed in the morning.”

“Promises, promises, Professor.”

Startled, Nick looked sharply at Lester. But the man was now seemingly engrossed in his paperwork.

However, as he turned away, he failed to notice the small smile that crossed Lester’s face.

Chapter Text

One looked up to him. And tried to be worthy of his approval.

One trusted his judgement. Even if it sometimes erred.

One fought vaguely unprofessional feelings towards him. It was a losing battle.

One tried to protect him, for his own good. Although he didn’t want to be protected.

One saw him as a necessary evil. And often wished he’d just go away.

One kept a secret from him. Even though they’d known each other for years.

They all saw him differently. Mentor, colleague, companion, civilian, nuisance, friend.

But they all agreed on one thing.

He was their leader.

Chapter Text

Lester catches sight of Connor’s wriggling out of the corner of his eye, and when he turns to look properly he sees the almost goofy grin on the other man’s face.

Then Connor wriggles again, sighs happily, and one of his hands strokes along the edge of his seat.

“Would you and the car like to be alone?” Lester asks, eyebrows arching.

“It’s just…leather seats, you know?” Connor replies. “First car I’ve been in with leather seats. They’re awesome!”

“Sounds like someone’s got a bit of a fetish,” Lester comments, face carefully blank.

Connor blushes a deep red.

Interesting.

Chapter Text

The first sign was hearing the faintly drifting strains of ‘Jingle Bells’.

The second was catching a glimpse of something red and green before someone shut a door.

By the time he reached the end of the corridor, it was clear that his memos had been completely ignored.

And when he stepped inside his office…

Dear god. Lester closed his eyes, praying that when he opened them again it would all have vanished.

“Do you like it?” Connor asked cheerfully.

Lester scowled. “This is the home office,” he snapped. “Not a…a tinsel factory.”

Needless to say, the decorations remained.

Chapter Text

Someone thought they’d seen him kissing Lester in the car park.

Someone else reckoned they’d spotted him diving into the maintenance cupboard on the first floor with Connor.

And another person was sure they’d heard his moans coming from behind the closed door of Cutter’s office.

Ryan was of the opinion that these people needed their eyes and ears testing.

“Because there’s no way you’d fuck around like that, is there, Hart?” he said, as he thrust brutally back into Stephen’s red, twitching hole. “You wouldn’t betray me, would you?”

Stephen whimpered, fingers scrabbling uselessly at the sheets. “N-no, master…”

Chapter Text

“Damn it, where are they?”
 
An amused smile on his face, Stephen watched Nick as he turned his office upside-down in frustration. Finally, he decided to take pity.
 
“Have you lost something?”
 
“My car keys,” complained Nick. “Claudia’s expecting me for a meeting in twenty minutes, and they’ve completely vanished.”
 
“Do you mean these keys?” asked Stephen innocently, holding out hand which held a set of keys.
 
“Yes!” Nick grabbed at them. Stephen snatched his hand back.
 
“And what do I get as a reward for finding them?”
 
Nick sighed exasperatedly, but his eyes were twinkling.
 
“What do you want?”

Chapter Text

The little creature dropped the rock at Nick’s feet and looked up at him adoringly. Nick scowled as Stephen chuckled beside him.

“Who knew baby dinos could play fetch?”

“Stop it,” Nick muttered. “We can’t let it come through the anomaly.”

“Well, if it follows you home, I promise you can keep it,” Stephen teased.

Nick glared at him, and picked up the rock again. “Be ready to jump through the anomaly as soon as it runs off.”

But this time the creature remained where it was when Nick threw the rock.

Stephen chuckled again. “It must really like you.”

Chapter Text

Cuts and scrapes.  Sprains and bruises.  Fairly minor injuries, easily treated and rarely a problem.  He wondered occasionally why his charges didn’t just get out of the way quicker.

But sometimes it was more serious.  Like the soldier with his leg ripped apart by a teeth-o-saurus.  Or the time when Temple was unconscious for nearly a day after being knocked flying by something far bigger than he was.  Then he wondered just how crazy these people really were.

But he never said anything.  He just patched them up and sent them on their way.  And waited for the next time.

Chapter Text

“Come on, Auntie Jenny, come on.”

Jenny sighed. She still wasn’t sure how she’d allowed herself to be talked into looking after her nephew for the day, but somehow it had happened.

And now here she was, at the Natural History Museum with a dinosaur-mad nine-year-old, and no prospect of escape.

“Wow, Auntie Jenny, look at that.”

She looked up at the diplodocus skeleton. It wasn’t a creature she’d ever seen in real life, but it still brought back memories.

“I want to see the T-Rex, Auntie Jenny!”

Jenny pushed her recollections aside. All that was in the past now.

Chapter Text

Date: 28 March 2009

It has come to my attention that project resources are being misused by ARC personnel. As such, please take note of the following list of regulations.

1.  The only bodily fluid the showers should be used to wash off is blood.

2.  Offices are
not for quickies in between anomalies.

3.  Gun oil should only be used to oil guns.

4.  The mammoth is not a sex toy.

Anyone found in breach of these regulations will be fed to the nearest dinosaur.

James Lester

P.S. A further reminder. The ARC has security cameras. Think about it.

Chapter Text

“Right, that’s it, we’re all packed up. Time to go.”

Becker caught sight of Danny and Abby coming towards him through the Wild Wood Adventure Park’s assault course, and quickly realised that Connor wasn’t with them.

“Where’s Temple?” he asked.

“Not sure…” Abby began, but she was interrupted by a wild, Tarzan-like yell that echoed through the woods.

Connor exploded from the tree canopy, hurtling down a zip wire. He zoomed over their heads and disappeared into the bushes, whereupon they all heard a loud thud.

Several moments later he re-emerged, grinning and limping.

“I’ve always wanted to try that!”

Chapter Text

Abby entered the rec room to find Connor looking rather frantic.

“What’s up, Conn?” she asked absently, her mind firmly on her need for caffeine.

“Someone’s eaten the last chocolate digestive!” Connor wailed. “I was saving it and now it’s gone!”

“Can’t you just go and buy some more?”

“It’s midnight and all the shops are shut,” Connor pointed out. “When I find out who ate it…” He stormed out of the room, almost crashing into Matt Rees in the doorway.

“What’s up with him?” the lieutenant asked.

“Someone ate the last biscuit,” Abby explained.

Rees smiled mischievously. “Oh dear…”

Chapter Text

“Do you ever wish that you’d taken Helen up on her offer to go with her that time?” Stephen asked as they lay in bed, his head pillowed on Nick’s shoulder.

Nick thought for a moment. “Sometimes,” he admitted softly.

“What?”

“Well, just think of everything she’s seen. Everything I could have seen,” Nick defended himself. “It would have been amazing.”

Stephen’s shocked silence spoke volumes, and Nick ruffled his hair affectionately. “Of course, I’d much rather see all that with you by my side than Helen.”

“Oh.” Stephen sounded relieved. “Well, maybe one day we can.”

“Definitely,” Nick promised.

Chapter Text

“A few basic plants.”

The sound of hand against flesh echoed around the room, and Connor whimpered as his arse throbbed.

“Some bugs.”

Another slap, another whimper, and then Connor gasped as he felt a hot tongue swipe across the rosy skin.

“Why do we listen to you, Connor?”

He dared to answer. “Because I’m normally right?”

“Because you’re normally right,” agreed Stephen.

The tongue trailed across his skin again, and then Connor felt it burrowing into him. He moaned and pushed backwards slightly.

Stephen chuckled and hesitated. “Next time, you face the bugs, okay?”

Connor could only nod helplessly.

Chapter Text

Nick had never really thought much about children. Helen hadn’t wanted them, and Nick’s only brother and his wife had never produced any nephews or nieces for him spoil and be a ‘cool uncle’ to.

And once upon a time, he’d not been that bothered by the lack.

But as time passed, and he heard Lester talk to his kids on the phone, listened to Sarah’s enthusiastic stories about the children at the museum, and saw the way Connor and Abby cherished their firstborn son, something changed within him.

He began to suspect he was missing out on something special.

Chapter Text

“Oh my god!”

Abby looked up from where she was petting Rex. The little dinosaur seemed to have a problem with firework bangs. “What?”

"There’s an anomaly in the park across the road! Come and see!” Connor was pointing frantically, and Abby sighed.

“Come on, Connor. We wouldn’t be that lucky.” She paused. “Or that unlucky.”

“No, really! It’s right there! We should call the others.”

“Okay, let me see.” Abby walked over to the window, carrying Rex with her. She took a quick look outside, and then rolled her eyes.

“Connor, that’s not an anomaly. It’s a Catherine Wheel.”

Chapter Text

A pissed off Jenny Lewis was a scary, scary thing, so when she offered him a cup of tea, Nick nodded emphatically. The steely glint in Jenny’s eye promised dire retribution if he even thought about refusing her kind offer.

But the beverage she handed him wasn’t tea. It was pale yellow, and it certainly didn’t contain milk or sugar. Nick took a cautious sip, and then spat it out.

“What is this?”

“It’s camomile,” replied Jenny snappishly. “No calories and no caffeine. I’m trying to cut back.”

And suddenly Nick knew why she was in such a bad mood.

Chapter Text

Raindrops on roses

Connor sniffed miserably as yet another drop of water fell from the brim of his hat, narrowly avoiding the end of his nose on its way to the ground.

The formal rose garden of Connaught House was not looking particularly splendid on this grey, wet day, and Connor suspected that the estate gardeners weren’t going to be at all impressed by the damage done to their prize specimens by the latest deluge of heavy rain.

Huddling into his jacket, he swiped at another drip forming on his hat brim and glared at the anomaly, willing it to close, and soon.


And whiskers on kittens

Suddenly, the two soldiers sharing Connor’s guard duty tensed, as a faint cry of “Incoming” heralded the return of the other reason no one would be going home yet, even if the anomaly did close.

The sabre-tooth cat bounded through the gap in the box hedge surrounding the rose garden. The look on the creature’s face matched Connor’s own feelings on the weather – even its whiskers were drooping.

However, despite the close proximity of the anomaly, the cat didn’t seem to want to go home. Instead, with a yowl of disgust, it took off in the direction of the house.


Bright copper kettles

Following the sounds of crashing and caterwauling brought Connor to what had obviously once been reconstructed Victorian kitchen. Now it looked more like a bombsite.

Connor’s sudden appearance startled the cat, making the creature bump against the long rustic table that ran along one side of the kitchen.

The movement caused a shiny copper kettle, which had already been precariously balanced, to topple off the tabletop and land on Connor’s foot.

“Ow,” he said with feeling, and glowered at the cat.

The cat glowered back.

Connor started to have second thoughts. Maybe it was time to make a strategic withdrawal.


And warm woollen mittens

He ran into Becker in the passage. “Cat’s in the kitchen,” he said, pointing over his shoulder

A low growl sounded close by. “Or maybe not,” he added lamely.

“Right, we’re getting out of here right now,” Becker said, giving Connor a push in the right direction.

Outside, Connor was dismayed to discover that it was still raining, and since his short spell inside had done nothing to dry him off, he shoved his hands in his pockets, his soggy gloves not doing much to keep them warm.

Danny and Abby were waiting near the anomaly. They were both grinning.


Brown paper packages tied up with string

“What have you got there?” Connor asked, eyeing the package that Danny was holding.

“Got it from a pet store down the road,” Abby replied, as Danny started pulling off the string and brown paper wrappings. “It’s catnip.”

She opened the box, and a small puff of dried plant matter exploded into the air.

Connor sneezed. And then he sneezed again.

Danny was watching him curiously. “Can humans be allergic to this stuff?” he said.

“I don’t know…”

Connor sneezed for a third time.

“Never mind,” said Becker. “Connor, get back, out of range. You two, this better bloody work.”


These are a few of my least favourite things

Connor stood in the shower, heartily grateful that Abby’s plan had worked, and worked quickly.

Honestly, what a day. He’d got cold and wet, ended up with a throbbing foot and a limp, and discovered a previously unsuspected allergy to catnip.

A nice hot shower was already making things better, however…

He yelped as the water suddenly went from hot to freezing in an instant, and dashed out of the cubicle. A moment later, Danny stuck his head into the shower room.

“Sorry, mate, hot water’s on the blink. Maintenance says it’ll be back on in an hour.”

Connor groaned.

Chapter Text

A hand shaking his shoulder woke Connor up. He blinked blearily for a moment, and then realised his face was smushed against the desktop.

He sat up and squinted at Cutter, who smiled back him in fond exasperation.

“Have you been here all night?”

“Depends. What time is it?”

“8:21am.”

“Then yes, I have. Although I don’t remember much after about half-three.”

“Right. That settles it. You’re going home to bed if I have to drag you there myself.”

“Promises, promises.” Connor’s attempt at a cheeky grin ended up as a yawn.

Cutter rolled his eyes. “I rest my case.”

Chapter Text

“If any person knows of any reason why these two may not be joined in matrimony, speak now, or forever hold thy peace.”

“I do.”

The congregation all turned as the speaker stood up. It was Helen.

“One of the grooms is already married… to me.”


*~*~*~*~*

Nick held his breath as the traditional words were spoken. He was aware of Stephen giving him a quizzical look, but he couldn’t get the previous night’s dream out of his head.

But nothing happened. No one stood up or spoke out.

Nick smiled at his husband-to-be. Now they could concentrate on getting married.

Chapter Text

Stephen gazed out of the window. “We had our first shag in this hotel,” he remarked reflectively.

“I remember.”

“After the incident with the T-Rexes.”

“I seem to recall you nearly blew me up with a rocket launcher.”

“Would you have preferred to be eaten instead?”

“Fair point.”

“It seems like such a long time ago. Such a lot’s happened since then.”

“Oh, knock off the misty watercolour memories routine, Hart.”

Stephen turned, and raised an eyebrow at the sight of Ryan sprawled naked on the bed, slowly stroking his cock.

“How about I give you something else to remember?”

Chapter Text

The bar of chocolate was just lying there next to her keyboard, nondescript in its silver wrapper.

Jess looked around quickly, and then picked it up and unwrapped one end. She sniffed it suspiciously, and took a cautious bite, discovering that it was filled with some kind of strawberry fondant.

The next day she found a small box of what turned out to be cherry liqueurs. And the day after that, a slab of white chocolate flecked with bits of raspberry.

She jumped when someone suddenly spoke behind her.

“Nothing with orange, right?”

Jess turned and smiled at Becker. “Right.”

Chapter Text

Abby’s underwear was white cotton with little yellow flowers dotted over it. It wasn’t quite what Connor had expected.

Not that he’d spent any time speculating on the style of Abby’s underwear. Well, not much anyway.

“Connor?”

He looked up to see Abby smiling at him.

“They come off, you know.”

“Oh, yeah, right.” He still couldn’t quite believe that he was finally allowed to do this, but it was definitely no time to get distracted.

And by the time he’d slid the panties down Abby’s legs and then tossed them away, he’d already forgotten what colour the flowers were.

Chapter Text

The first time it had been funny.

Ryan had sneezed, and Connor had laughed and teased him about ‘the big tough soldier having allergies’.

The second time, Connor had laughed again, but quickly stopped when Ryan snapped at him to shut up.

The third time, he’d wisely kept silent, but Ryan’s temper didn’t improve in the slightest.

There wasn’t a fourth time. Connor had learned his lesson.

But not well enough, it seemed. Now, with Ryan fucking him hard and fast and brutal, ignoring his cries of pain and his pleas to stop, Connor wished he hadn’t laughed at all.

Chapter Text

Connor had bought all the kit, and made absolutely sure he’d found the right recipe – the original one, from the original novel.

Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

He poured the martini out of the cocktail shaker, added the lemon peel, and then raised the glass in a toast to Abby.

“Cheers.”

He took a sip. Abby laughed as he pulled a face and tried not to spit it out.

“Maybe you should have stirred it instead?”

Chapter Text

Nick’s entered his office and stopped, narrowing his eyes at the two occupants of the room.

Stephen was smirking, and Connor looked flustered.

“What’s going on?” Nick asked suspiciously.

“Connor has something to tell you,” Stephen replied immediately.

Connor glared at him quickly, and then looked back to Nick.

“I didn’t mean to, Professor, I’m really sorry, I promise it won’t…”

“Connor, just tell me what’s happened.”

Connor held up an empty mug. “I spilled my coffee on some essays.”

Nick looked at the sodden pile of paper. He smiled.

“It doesn’t matter, Connor. All this lot had failed anyway.”

Chapter Text

The door opened, and Danny slipped out. He was grinning, despite the scratches on his face and the numerous rips in his t-shirt.

“How’s it going?” Abby asked.

“Not too badly,” Danny replied. “Becker’s still in there, taking a swing at anything that comes too close.”

“Oi!” Abby protested.

“Don’t worry, it only stuns them, long enough for me to grab them and shove them in the cage.”

A shout from Becker made Danny’s grin widen. “Better get back in there. Don’t want poor Hils to be overwhelmed.” He winked at Abby. “Once more unto the breach, as they say.”

Chapter Text

Lester raised an eyebrow as Connor sat down opposite him.

“Might I ask, Mr. Temple, why you are not working on the reports you promised me? Do you perhaps have a phobia of hard work?”

“They’re done,” Connor proclaimed. “Finished and filed three hours ago.”

“So why are you still here?”

“Why are you still working?” Connor shot back. “Do you perhaps have a phobia of going home?” he asked, imitating Lester.

“Home has been rather empty and unwelcoming recently,” said Lester, before he could stop himself.

Connor smiled and stood up, holding out an expectant hand. “Not any more.”

Chapter Text

“Fault!”

There was a pause, and then the umpire announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Murray is challenging the serve. The ball was called out.”

Connor stared at the spot where the tennis ball had disappeared, into an anomaly that was still there.

“They can see that, right?”

Abby shrugged. “Seems the game is more important.”

Meanwhile, Hawkeye had apparently given up, the large screen showing only static. The Wimbledon fourth seed did not look impressed.

Abby picked up an abandoned bowl of strawberries and cream and sat down in a hurriedly vacated seat with a grin.

“Have a strawberry, Connor.”

Chapter Text

Lester wasn’t prone to self-analysis, but he felt compelled to ask the question anyway. “Why do you put up with me, Tom?”

Ryan shifted on to his side. “What?”

“Well, I’m rude, sarcastic, cold…”

“Decent, hard-working, caring…” Ryan interrupted. Then he paused. “Although I have seen you first thing in the morning, so maybe I should add that to the con list…”

“Seriously though, Tom. Why?”

“I put up with you because I love you,” Ryan replied softly.

Lester wasn’t prone to sentimentality, but as he curled up in Ryan’s arms he knew he was happier than he’d ever been.

Chapter Text

Stephen had once jokingly called his office ‘A Scene of Perfect Devastation’, and annoyingly, the nickname seems to have stuck. Someone (Stephen again, probably) has stuck a printed sign up above the door outside in the corridor, and the students joke about ‘visiting the devastation’ and promise to send in search parties after their friends if they don’t emerge within three days.

But it’s not until Claudia Brown starts showing up unexpectedly to talk and lecture and badger and tease, that Nick really looks around and decides that the place could probably do with a bit of a tidy up.

Chapter Text

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we nearly th…”

“Yes!” Stephen yelled.

Connor grinned. “Cool.”

Chapter Text

Caroline peered into the tank, and then shuddered when the iguana on the other side of the glass blinked at her.

Honestly, how could Abby bear to keep all these scaly, cold-blooded nightmares? The only thing worse would be a menagerie of creepy-crawlies. Caroline shuddered again as she remembered an ex-boyfriend who’d kept a tarantula. That relationship hadn’t lasted long at all.

A chirp caught her attention and she looked up. As if the lizards in tanks weren’t bad enough, there was the wretched flying one actually on the loose.

And what was more, she’d swear it didn’t like her.

Chapter Text

“You want me to put that where?

“On your desk,” Lyle replied. “In your office.”

Lester looked at the framed photo he’d just been given. It was a black and white print showing Lyle naked, with his back to the camera. He was also throwing a falsely coquettish look back over his shoulder, and there was a pink heart graphic covering his bum.

“No,” he said sternly, handing the photo back.

“But sweetie…” Lyle pouted.

No.

Lyle shrugged suddenly. “Fair enough.”

Twenty minutes later, Connor bounded into Lester’s office.

“Have you seen the picture on the staff notice board downstairs?”

Chapter Text

It really had been ridiculously easy. She’s almost disappointed in Lester – she didn’t think the man would be that easily fooled.

But apparently he is, and now she has an unparalleled view of what he considers to be his domain. She sees everything that goes on, all their little secrets, all their cunning little plans.

It’s almost a shame. She normally likes more of a challenge than this. But she’s been in the game too long to look a gift horse in the mouth, and it’s not often that things are this easy.

Knowledge is power, after all.

She smiles.

Chapter Text

“Connor, love, would you like a cup of tea?”

“Yes, thanks, Mum,” Connor called back, as he opened the box in front of him, one of three from his parents’ attic labelled ‘Connor’s Stuff’.

In the top of this box was a book called Prehistoric Worlds. Connor opened it, recognising the colourful pictures within. As a nine-year-old he’d been entranced by them, wishing desperately that he could visit those prehistoric worlds himself.

Well, his wish had come true. And while the pictures might be wholly inaccurate, he nonetheless carefully set the book aside, the beginning of his ‘To Keep’ pile.

Chapter Text

As tunnel collapses went, it hadn’t been all that bad. But in most cases, ‘not that bad’ still equalled ‘utterly screwed’, and this one had resulted in a long wait in the dark, and some rather unpleasant flashbacks.

Jon didn’t even wait for the rescue team to leave the room before he pulled his lover into a fervent kiss, and then smiled at him in relief.

“Time to go home, I think.”

“I could sleep for a week,” Lester admitted.

“I was thinking more along the lines of a celebratory ‘thank god we’re alive’ shag, actually.”

“That might work too.”

Chapter Text

With only a week to go, Sarah still hadn’t come up with a costume idea for the ARC’s fancy dress Christmas party.

So in desperation, she’d asked everyone else to come up with suggestions and she’d pick one out of a hat.

And now it was the moment of truth. She reached in and pulled out a slip of paper.

Cleopatra, it read.

She raised her eyebrows at the oh-so original suggestion, and then noticed that everyone was trying to hide a smirk.

Quickly, she up-ended the hat and unfolded all the slips.

They all read Cleopatra.

“Very funny, guys.”

Chapter Text

“Hurry up, you two back there!” Becker yelled from up ahead.

“You try hurrying with feet that feel like blocks of ice,” Connor muttered.

Danny laughed, although not unkindly. “You wanna watch where you’re going, then you wouldn’t have stumbled into that icy stream back down the valley,” he said.

“I tripped!” Connor replied defensively.

Danny laughed again, and then slung an arm round Connor’s shoulders, leering at him salaciously. “Tell you what, how about when we get back I’ll take you home and ‘warm you up’,” he suggested.

“Is that a promise?”

“It’s definitely a promise.”

Connor walked faster.

Chapter Text

It didn’t get much better than this. He didn’t even care that it was raining, and he was soaked to the skin. This was the Jurassic. The Jurassic, and it was amazing.

Movement on the ground caught his attention. At first he thought the creature was injured, but then he realised its feathers were just so sodden it simply couldn’t get off the ground.

Archaeopteryx. “Wow,” he whispered.

Gingerly, he approached it. It was too bedraggled to put up much of a fight, although when he set it in a tree it immediately scrambled away.

The Jurassic. It was awesome.

Chapter Text

“Jenny Lewis."

The woman was familiar, although Jenny couldn’t quite put her finger on why.

“Yes, that’s me. What do you want?”

“To help you.”

“Oh yes? How, exactly?”

“Don’t fight it, Jenny. Embrace it. You can be both.”

“Both what?”

“You know what.”

Where had she seen her before? Jenny struggled to put a name to the face.

“You can be you…and me.”

With a gasp, Jenny woke up. She knew who the woman was now. It was like looking in a slightly distorted mirror. The woman looking back hadn’t been her, though.

It had been Claudia Brown.

Chapter Text

After another long day running after prehistoric beasties and yelling orders at soldiers and scientists alike, Ryan was looking forward to some quality alone-time.
 
Shutting (and locking) the door of his hotel room firmly, he proceeded to engage in the one activity that was sure to relax him – oiling his weaponry.
 
He knew that some of his men sniggered behind his back at his so-called ‘obsession’ with his guns, but Ryan didn’t care. He was never happier than when he had an automatic rifle in one hand, and a bottle of gun oil in the other. Or preferably two bottles.

Chapter Text

“Oi, Hart, your shoelace is undone.”

Stephen stopped abruptly, waggled his foot about a bit, and then bent over to inspect the fastening.  As he did so his t-shirt rode up slightly, and Ryan licked his lips at the brief flash of smooth, tanned skin.

Silently, he moved up behind Stephen, and as the other man straightened up grabbed him and kissed him forcefully.

To his credit Stephen got with the programme very quickly, although he still looked somewhat confused when Ryan finally pulled away.  Confused, and more than a little aroused.

“What was that for?”

Ryan smirked.  “Couldn’t resist.”

Chapter Text

Candles – check.  Roses – check.  Romantic music – check.  Fancy meal that looked like it had been cooked by him but had actually come from the local take-away – check.

Connor surveyed his handiwork with satisfaction.  Stephen had said it was up to him to make the next move, so here he was – making the next move.  He couldn’t wait to see Abby’s face.

2 hours later…

The candles had melted.  The flowers were wilting.  The CD had long since ended.  And the food was cold and congealing on the plates.

Maybe he should have told Abby he was making the next move…

Chapter Text

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Tell you what?” Matt’s hedging and they both know it.

“You told Abby,” Becker says.

“Abby worked it out,” Matt corrects.

Becker’s eyes harden. “Doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t tell me.”

“What would you have done if I had?”

“I…”

“You would have been torn between your duty and your feelings. I wasn’t going to do that to you.”

“That’s a pathetic excuse and you know it,” Becker snaps. “What it really boils down to is that you didn’t trust me.”

Matt wants to protest that, but he can’t.

Because Becker is right.

Chapter Text

It all looked the same. White, chrome, and glass. Nondescript corridors with nondescript doors leading to nondescript offices. Hard lines and sharp angles offering no clues, no comfort.

It would be so easy to get lost here. To turn one way and end up somewhere different to where you’d intended. Turn the other way, and still end up in the wrong place. You could wander the hallways for hours and never find what you were looking for. Never find the way back to where you’d come from.

It all looked the same. Cold and soulless and desolate.

Just like him.

Chapter Text

“One, two, three…”

“Yes! Paper beats rock. I win!”

“Best of three.”

“Fine, have it your way.”

“One, two, three…”

“Aha! Scissors beats paper – one all!”

“You’re still going down, Si.”

“One, two, three…”

“Rock beats scissors. Told you!”

Sighing, Simon Carter admitted defeat. “Fine, I’ll tell the captain. Er, what exactly am I telling him?”

Jason Anders grinned. “The truth?”

“What, that we stopped for a quick skinny dip and shag, and when we woke up from our post-coital nap we found out that Helen Cutter had stolen all our clothes and weapons?”

“Okay, maybe not the truth then.”

Chapter Text

“Tea,” Stephen announced cheerfully, as he entered the bedroom carrying two mugs of said beverage.

“What time is it?” Ryan mumbled.

“Eight-thirty,” Stephen replied. “It’s also Sunday,” he added. “And I think we deserve a lie-in.”

He deposited the mugs on the bedside cabinet and climbed back into bed, snuggling against Ryan.

Ryan let out what he would later claim was a manly grunt of annoyance, and not a girly yelp of surprise. “Bloody hell, Hart, your feet are frozen! Don’t you own any slippers?”

“Nope,” said Stephen unapologetically.

Ryan sighed, and made a mental note to take Stephen shopping.

Chapter Text

Connor and Abby crashed through the undergrowth, chasing their latest prehistoric visitor. This one was small and furry, and very cute. That didn’t make it any easier to catch, however.

 

Connor dived forward in a last-ditch attempt to grab the creature as it tried to burrow under a bush.

 

“Got you!” he yelled triumphantly.

 

“Now all we need to do is get it back to the anomaly,” said Abby, as Connor straightened up, holding a squirming bundle of fur. He looked uncertain.

 

“What?” Abby asked suspiciously.

 

“Which direction is the anomaly in? I hope you know, because I’ve completely forgotten!”

Chapter Text

There was a loud splash.

Ryan tried manfully to stop himself smiling, but the expression on Stephen’s face told him he hadn’t been entirely successful. He watched as Stephen floundered, trying to stand up in the shallow, muddy water.

“Well, aren’t you going to help me out?”

Ryan sighed and, after laying his gun down well away from the water, waded in to grasp Stephen’s outstretched hand.

But instead of pulling himself up, Stephen pulled Ryan down.

There was another loud splash. Ryan came up spluttering as Stephen grinned at him.

“Oh, you are so going to pay for that.”

Chapter Text

“This seems to be happening to us a lot lately,” complained Stephen, as yet another drop of water found its way under his collar and trickled slowly down his back. We should have found a better tree.

“What does?” Ryan looked irritatingly unperturbed by the whole situation.

“Us – getting wet. First the lake, and now this.” Stephen gestured emphatically at the torrential downpour surrounding them.

“You should have watched the weather forecast. I did,” replied Ryan smugly.

“Then why the hell did you drag us out here?!”

Ryan smirked and moved closer. “Maybe it’s all part of my cunning plan…”

Chapter Text

“You know, when I offered to help you spring clean your office, I meant just that – help.” Stephen looked pointedly at Nick, who was reclining in his chair with his feet propped up on the desk.

Nick grinned back at him unrepentantly. “But you’re so much better at this organisation thing than I am. I’d just make the place even messier if I tried to do it.”

Stephen made a sceptical noise, but nevertheless bent down to pick up another box.

“And besides,” Nick told him, eyeing appreciatively the tightness of Stephen’s jeans, “from here I can enjoy the view.”

Chapter Text

Rex and Bob, Abby’s pet iguana, watched each other warily from their respective tanks. Both looked like they were about to go on the offensive at any second, and while lizard-squashed-against-glass was funny in a Looney Tunes kind of way, Abby didn’t want either of her pets to end up with flat noses. It was time to diffuse the situation.
 
“Rex, Bob. Bob, Rex. Now, are you two going to be friends?”
 
Rex and Bob looked at her, and she could swear that they were rolling their eyes. Clearly, lizard-kind was banding together against the stupid human.

Chapter Text

“Anomaly events, thirty-five. Creature incursions, twenty-seven. Compensation and rebuilding costs, £7.5 million…”

Lester could feel a headache forming as the secretary’s voice droned on. This wasn’t going well.

“Civilian deaths sustained, twenty-six. Military deaths sustained, eight. Personnel deaths sustained, two…”

Suddenly he was angry. All those people were more than just numbers on a page, damn it.

“So, James, what do you have to say for yourself?”

Lester’s heart sank at the Minister’s implacable tone. He wished he could say it was all lies, damn lies, but he couldn’t.

And he sensed that somewhere Christine Johnson was popping champagne corks.

Chapter Text

The sun was rising, and the child hoped that today he might find his way home. He was scared, but the new dawn gave him hope.

Then his instincts told him he was being watched, and he turned to find a woman standing behind him, almost silhouetted against the sunlight.

“Hello.” The woman smiled, but somehow it wasn’t friendly.

“Hello.” The child smiled back tentatively.

“Are you lost?”

“Yes. Do you know where home is?”

“I might do.”

“Is it through the big sparkly light?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Can you take me?”

“Of course.”

The woman held out a hand.

Chapter Text

She wasn’t sure what was so special about a six-inch figurine, but she was sure that Connor was going to kill her when he found out what she’d done.

Abby looked at the model of Luke Skywalker in her left hand, and the end of the lightsaber in her right hand, contemplating the merits of superglue and ebay.

Rex chirped as he landed on the table next to her. Slowly, Abby’s eyes moved from the figurine to the coelurosauravus.

She smiled.

“Sorry, Rex, but you’re going to have to take one for the team on this occasion.”

Rex looked unimpressed.

Chapter Text

“Jenny, Abby and I are going to that coffee place down the road – we can’t stand that sludge in the break room any longer. Can we get you something?”

“Please,” said Jenny gratefully. “You know how I like it, right? Just like I like my men.” She winked.

“What, gruff, blond and Scottish?” said Abby, appearing suddenly with an impish grin on her face.

“Abby!” Jenny protested, knowing she was blushing.

Sarah smirked and dragged Abby away. “Back in a flash!”

Twenty minutes later, Jenny sniffed appreciatively at the tall, midnight-dark Americano. “Hello, handsome,” she murmured, and took a sip.

Chapter Text

Lorraine startled, splashing tea everywhere, as a pair of arms slipped around her waist.

“Hello,” a voice murmured.

“Niall!” Lorraine hissed. “Not here!”

“Aren’t I allowed to show you that I miss you?”

“You saw me three hours ago,” Lorraine pointed out. “When we woke up together.”

“Still missed you,” Blade said, annoyingly persistent.

Lorraine twisted in his arms, hoping a quick peck on the lips would satisfy him. But instead she found her mouth claimed by a kiss that instantly turned her knees to jelly.

She hoped no one else would be starting their tea break any time soon.

Chapter Text

Neat dark hair tangled round his fingers as he tugged greedily. Somewhere a gun and holster clattered to the floor, but he didn’t care.

Gloved hands danced across his skin, touching and teasing him in all the right places, making him shiver and groan.

A silk tie dangled in front of him and he grabbed it, pulling its owner in to claim his lips in a fierce kiss, cutting off fading words of protest…

Two hours later Danny Quinn awoke groggily to find Abby grinning down at him.

“So, how did you enjoy your first sex pollen experience, Mr. Quinn?”

Chapter Text

“Hitting it with a hammer isn’t going to help, you know,” Stephen commented as Cutter stabbed frustratedly at the keyboard again.

Cutter looked at him, confused. “I don’t have a hammer,” he said.

“Bet you wish you did, though,” Stephen replied, nodding towards the unresponsive computer.

“I don’t understand it!” Cutter all but wailed. “I’ve switched it on – look, you can see the green light – but nothing’s happening.”

Stephen peered at the machine over Cutter’s shoulder. Then he grinned and pressed a button on the monitor.

The screen instantly flickered to life.

“Smug really doesn’t suit you, Stephen,” Cutter muttered.

Chapter Text

“You know you want it,” Sarah muttered beside her.

Jenny startled and tore her gaze away from her tormentor. “But it’ll ruin all my hard work,” she protested.

“Oh, come on, everyone has to give in to temptation sometimes.”

“Well, I’m not sure…”

“We’ve all had a hard week. You deserve it.”

Jenny fixed her colleague with a stare. “Okay, I will if you will.”

“You’ll get no complaints from me. Deal.”

As Jenny sunk her fork into the chocolate fudge cake, she decided Sarah was right – giving in to temptation wasn’t always bad. And diets were highly overrated anyway.

Chapter Text

“Jess, what on earth’s going on?”

“What do you mean?”

Abby gestured emphatically to the tentacle monster that was taking up most of the space on the break room sofa.

“Oh, yeah, Felix got out again.”

“But what about the automatic containment?”

“I switched it off. Felix is harmless, honestly. He just likes company.” Jess giggled as a tentacle crept along her thigh. She pushed it off. “Felix! Not in public.”

Abby backed away. “Maybe I should fetch Becker and Matt,” she said.

“If you like,” replied Jess. Another tentacle was inching its way towards her. “But there’s no hurry.”

Chapter Text

It was pitch black in here, and Connor was being very careful about where he put his feet.

“Connor?” Becker’s voice echoed hollowly. “Is that the anomaly ahead?”

Connor waved the very definitely not pinging detector. “Can’t be.”

He squinted through the darkness. There was definitely some kind of light in the distance though.

“Oh crap…” Suddenly Becker was pushing Connor sideways and backwards. He tripped over something and nearly fell, but Becker caught him in time, and then carried on pushing.

“Connor, come on, we need to move!

They hit the tunnel wall seconds before the train thundered past.

Chapter Text

The beach was completely empty and completely silent, but for the soft sound of the waves breaking on the long curve of golden sand.

They were alone. There should have been panic, fear, planning, but Becker felt only calm as he stepped up to Matt and did something that he would never have dared to do had they been anywhere else.

The kiss was short, almost chaste, and the look of surprise in Matt’s eyes did bring fear, just for a second. Until Matt leaned in again.

They were stuck here, but right now Becker couldn’t bring himself to care.

Chapter Text

Claudia checked her watch again. Only five minutes had passed, and she sighed loudly. How much longer before she could leave?

She’d hoped this year’s office Christmas party would be improved by the presence of Nick Cutter. However, the professor had spent the evening chatting to a fellow scientist on the Home Office’s payroll.

Sod it. She’d had enough. She was bored and she was going home.

Then someone cleared their throat behind her. She turned to see Cutter smiling at her.

“May I have this dance?”

Claudia smiled back. Maybe the evening wasn’t such a dead loss after all.

Chapter Text

Becker was beginning to think the box was bottomless, the amount of stuff that Lester seemed to keep in there. It was bit like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, he supposed, and then shook his head slightly to dismiss the idea. That really wasn’t what he should be thinking about right now.

“No?” came Lester’s voice, and Becker realised that he’d missed a question. “You don’t want more?”

Lester’s tone was amused, but also faintly worried, and Becker quickly nodded his head vigorously. “More,” he said hoarsely. “I want more.”

“Good,” said Lester, and pushed the plug deeper into Becker’s arse.

Chapter Text

He’s running as if his life depends on it.
 
Which it does, actually.
 
Behind him is a rhythmic thump, thump, thump, interspersed with crashing sounds, and the occasional deafening roar.
 
The coolest dinosaur ever to roam the earth is chasing him – something that looks really exciting on a movie screen, but in reality is the most terrifying thing ever to happen to him. 
 
All he can think about is how big it is. And how fast it is. And whether it’ll be over quickly if it catches him.
 
One thing’s for sure, though. He’s never watching Jurassic Park ever again.

Chapter Text

Ryan watches, amused, as the slanting sunlight creeps up a slumbering face, bathing it in brightness.

First the brow crinkles, confused. Then the eyes scrunch up in annoyance. And finally an arm lifts, shielding from the intrusion.

Connor makes a disgusted sound, and finally wakes up properly, squinting towards Ryan.

“What time is it?”

“Still early.”

“How long have I been asleep?”

“About three hours.”

Connor’s gaze darts past Ryan suddenly, and his face falls in disappointment. “Oh, it’s gone. You should have woken me.”

“Sleep seemed more important.” Ryan smiles gently. “No more late night anomalies for you, love.”

Chapter Text

Ryan liked a challenge. And there was no doubt that he was setting himself a big challenge.

Listening to his latest briefing, Ryan formulated his plan of attack. Simple and direct would be the best strategy – then there was no chance for evasion or distraction. And surely it would get him the desired result?

There was a brief stutter in Lester’s monologue as Ryan suddenly stepped forward and kissed him, but that was it. Then the briefing continued on as before.

Damn it, but the man was made of stone! But no matter what, Ryan was determined to surprise Lester.

Chapter Text

Connor watched gleefully as the paper aeroplane soared gracefully through the air. Then he frowned as it took a sudden nosedive and landed… on Lester’s head.

Beside him, Danny snorted with laughter as Lester glared up at them.

“Might I ask what you’re doing, Mr. Temple?”

“Um, having a paper aeroplane competition...”

Danny laughed again. “Sorry, guv,” he called, sounding anything but.

Connor elbowed him as Lester made his way up the ramp, hands busy doing something with the plane.

“Try it now,” he said, handing it back to Connor.

The plane flew perfectly, and Danny’s face was a picture.

Chapter Text

“You know, you surprise me, Connor.”

Dragging his attention away from where a T-Rex was currently pulverising a 4x4 into the ground, Connor focused on Stephen. “What do you mean?”

“Well, knowing what we know now, I would have expected you to be picking holes in this movie until the cows came home.”

Connor could only gape. “But… but…” he spluttered.

“But what?” said Stephen, raising a quizzical eyebrow.

“It’s Jurassic Park,” Connor proclaimed, unable to think of a better way to explain it.

Stephen grinned. “Fair enough.”

Connor scowled. He suddenly had a sneaking suspicion he was being mocked.

Chapter Text

The knock at his door wasn’t entirely unexpected, although the person on the threshold was.

Wordlessly, Stephen stood back to let Cutter into his flat, glad that Helen had already left.

They stared at each other silently for a few moments, and then Cutter sighed.

“I can’t do it,” he said hoarsely. “I can’t just walk away. God knows I hated you for a moment there, but I don’t any more. I can’t.”

Stephen smiled tentatively. “Come in properly, and we’ll talk.”

Cutter nodded gratefully, and started up the stairs.

Before following, Stephen shot the bolt on the front door.

Chapter Text

The melting walls of ice surrounding the valley cracked and groaned as they listened, and Nick turned to smile at Stephen – could they possibly be witnessing the end of an ice age?

“Nick, look out!”

The next thing he knew, he was on his back in the dirt, watching a rather motley group of animals stampede by them. He blinked as he saw what appeared to be a sloth of some kind riding on the back of a sabre-tooth cat. “What the…?”

Stephen was looking just as confused. “I could have sworn I just heard that mammoth say ‘Hurry up!’…”

Chapter Text

Becker tried to move, but the debris pinning him down rather hindered the attempt.

This would teach him to be more careful in abandoned warehouses.

“Becker!”

He looked up towards the jagged hole above him, and saw someone silhouetted there. It looked very much like…

“Hang on, I’m coming down!”

A moment later a ladder landed beside Becker, followed by a rapidly descending Danny Quinn.

“Need a hand, Captain?” Danny was smirking, but there was also real concern in his eyes.

Becker sighed. Danny wasn’t going to let him forget this anytime soon.

“Just get me out of here, Quinn.”

Chapter Text

Footsteps overhead told him his companion was finally awake.

Five minutes later Connor appeared at the kitchen door, wearing Ryan’s spare dressing gown and a rather embarrassed expression.

“Morning. Breakfast?”

Connor nodded quickly and sat down. Ryan left him in peace for a bit while he munched on some toast, and then got up and moved round the table until he was directly behind Connor.

“How are you feeling this morning?” He bent close to the young man, one hand sliding adroitly down the front of the dressing gown.

Connor jumped. “Fine,” he squeaked.

Ryan’s fingers found a nipple. “Good.”

Chapter Text

He was imagining it.

Stephen knew the music was all in his head. He knew if he were to rise, go down the stairs, and into the living room, there would be no one sitting at the piano. The cover would be shut and the keys would be still. He knew it.

He could still hear the music, though.

Sighing softly to himself, he gave into the inevitable.

The gentle melody seemed to get louder as he descended the stairs, and he hesitated for a moment before tentatively pushing on the living room door with his fingertips.

The music stopped.

Chapter Text

Jenny fished a photograph out of the box. “Who’s this standing next to you, Mum?” she said.

Angela Lewis looked at it, and then smiled. “Goodness, that’s Davey Brown. We were quite the item at one time, before I met your dad. We even talked about marriage. And kids. Mind you, I don’t reckon it would have worked out. He wanted to call his firstborn daughter after his mother. And she had a perfectly ridiculous name.”

“What was it?” Jenny asked, heart sinking.

“Claudia. See what I mean?”

Jenny nodded and tried to smile. “Yes. I see. Completely ridiculous name…”

Chapter Text

Stephen hasn’t let anyone except Lester or Jenny see him. It hurts, but Nick knows he deserves the exclusion. He tries not to take comfort from the fact that Abby and Connor are excluded too.

But now Stephen’s being discharged, and he can’t avoid Nick any more.

“Stephen,” Nick says, as Stephen exits the consultant’s office. He is still littered with bandages, scabs, and scars that will never fully disappear, but he is alive.

He’s never looked more beautiful.

Stephen seems resigned to see him here. “So where do we go from here, Cutter?”

Nick holds out a hand. “Home.”

Chapter Text

“I’ve got a theory,” said Sarah.

Two expectant faces waited for her to elaborate.

“I think Lester and Ryan are shagging.”

Jenny choked on her mouthful of coffee. “I’d prefer not to think about Lester like that, if you don’t mind.” Then she smiled mischievously. “Now Cutter and Stephen – that’s a different matter.”

“So doing it,” pronounced Abby decisively. “As are Connor and Becker. Obviously”

“Really?” Sarah frowned. “Because I was watching Connor and Danny the other day…”

Abby looked thoughtful. “Connor and Becker and Danny?” she suggested.

Sarah nodded slowly, while Jenny raised an eyebrow.

“Now there’s a thought.”

Chapter Text

“Do you forgive me?”
 
“Forgive you for what?”
 
“For getting you stuck in a timey-wimey, curly-wurly paradox.”
 
Claudia raised an eyebrow. “Timey-wimey?”
 
Nick grimaced. “I have so been spending too much time around Connor!”
 
Smiling, Claudia took a step closer. “How about this? You can take me out to dinner, and I’ll think about forgiving you. After all, you did manage to bring me back from the curly-wurly paradox – I should think the one probably cancels out the other.”
 
Nick thought for a minute. “Hmmm, dinner… I think I can deal with that. It’s a date.”

Chapter Text

The anomaly detector creaked alarmingly as Stephen pushed Connor against it.

“Stephen…”

“It’s been too long, Connor. Too bloody long.” The words were a throaty whisper against Connor’s ear.

“But someone might see us.”

“It’s late. There’s no one else here.”

Connor sighed as Stephen’s lips moved across his throat. He could never say no.

The siren was like a shock of cold water, and they jumped apart as Lester unexpectedly appeared from his office, demanding to know if “the damned thing had malfunctioned again.”

Stephen’s expression was totally innocent as he looked up.

“No, just pressed the wrong button…”

Chapter Text

Nick tasted of rich red wine, black coffee, and faintly of the chocolate mousse he’d snitched several spoonfuls of from Jenny’s plate.

Jenny felt her lips tingling slightly as the kiss ended, and looked up to see Nick watching her with a softness in his eyes. She couldn’t help but wonder who he was seeing.

“I’m not her, you know,” she said, needing to say it despite her desire not to ruin the moment. “I’m not her. I’m not Claudia.”

Nick looked at her for a moment longer before smiling gently. “Claudia who?” he said, before capturing her lips again.

Chapter Text

It started out as an idle thought, turned into an Idea, then evolved into a Plan, and was finally upgraded to a full-blown Operation.

“Ready?” Abby whispered. Her companions nodded. “You all know what you have to do.”

Their victim appeared at the end of the corridor, and at just the right moment, they grabbed him.

Becker, Danny, and Connor held him down while Abby set to work, tossing the results of her actions to Jenny.

Then they stood back to regard a rather rumpled looking James Lester, now conspicuously minus his tie.

Abby grinned. The sartorial revolution had begun.

Chapter Text

Nick tilted his head back and looked up at the stars in the sky. He could almost imagine that all those tiny pinpricks of light up there were anomalies.

Thousands and millions and billions of anomalies…

“Stop it,” said Stephen.

“Stop what?”

“Worrying.”

“I wasn’t…” Nick sighed. “Okay, so I was thinking about the anomalies. What are they? Where did they come from? How are they created?”

“Don’t know, don’t know, and don’t know.”

Nick looked at him. “Fine, point taken.”

“Let’s just deal with the anomaly we have right now, and think about the big stuff later, okay?”

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

“How many cups of coffee has she had today?” Connor asked, having watched Jess bounce into Lester’s office, bounce round Lester while he signed some forms, and bounce out again, nearly knocking over a technician in the process.

“None,” replied Abby absently. “She’s on some detox thing.”

She didn’t look away from her computer until Connor’s forehead hit the tabletop with a thud.

“It’s not fair.” Connor’s voice was muffled. “How can someone be that energetic without having consumed any caffeine?”

“Hi guys!” Jess called cheerfully as she bounced back to the ADD terminal.

“I need coffee now,” Connor groaned.

Chapter Text

The first bump woke her up.

The second bump made her sit up.

The third bump had her standing up, and by the fourth bump she was at the bedroom door.

Abby flung it open and glared out into the shadowy hallway. “Connor!” she hissed. “Do you know what time it is?”

“Abby!” cried Connor, the volume of his voice rather at odds with the fact it was 2:30am. “Hello, Abby!”

“You’re drunk.”

“Lil’ bit.”

“I’m going to kill Danny.”

“Danny’s my friend,” said Connor, looking hurt.

“Go to bed, Connor,” said Abby, and shut the door in his face.

Chapter Text

“Abby! Abby, wake up!”

It’s a moment before she’s properly with it, the grey twilight inside the tent making everything a little confusing.

“What is it?”

“I heard a noise!”

“What? Where?”

“Over there.” Connor waves a hand vaguely to the right. The right where there is another tent pitched next to theirs…

Then Abby hears it. It’s somewhere between a gasp and a moan, and suddenly she’s trying not to laugh.

“What do you think it is?”

Abby grins in the darkness. “I think the professor and Stephen are having trouble sleeping tonight.”

She just knows Connor is blushing.

Chapter Text

Abby’s shriek of annoyance made Connor jump about three feet in the air, and he turned round apprehensively, wondering if he shouldn’t just make a quick exit instead.

“What’s the matter?” he called.

“Rex has traipsed footprints all over my clean top,” Abby replied angrily. “I’m going to kill him when I catch him.”

“Abby, that’s really mean. He’s already become extinct once.”

Abby glared at him. “You’ll become extinct if you don’t help me look for him.”

“Okay, okay.” But as he stood hurriedly, Connor found himself hoping the little dinosaur had found a really good place to hide…

Chapter Text

Nick’s eyebrows shot up when he saw the arrangements. Stephen flushed a little – perhaps he had gone a bit overboard. But the candles and soft music had seemed necessary. He wanted everything to be right.

“Celebrating something, are we?” Nick asked. His brow crinkled as he frowned. “It’s not some kind of anniversary, is it?”

“No,” replied Stephen. “I just realised something, that’s all. And I wanted to mark the occasion.”

“Oh yes? And what did you realise?” In the dim light it was hard to tell what Nick was thinking.

Stephen took a deep breath.

“That I love you.”

Chapter Text

There was a moment of silence.

I love you.

Suddenly, Stephen wished he could take the words back. It was too soon, Nick wasn’t ready, he obviously didn’t want to hear them.

Hastily, he blew out the candles, and started gathering up plates, cutlery, and napkins.

“Stephen.”

His name softly spoken and a hand on his arm stopped him. Turning, he looked into smiling blue eyes.

“It’s okay, Stephen. I love you, too.”

Another moment of silence, sweeter this time.

“Now, where are the matches?”

“What?”

“We need to relight the candles. Because we definitely have something to celebrate now.”

Chapter Text

It was a fine line he walked between subservience and defiance. A balancing act between not rocking the boat and not completely giving in.

James Lester might be nominally in charge of the Anomaly Project, but Philip Burton was The Money, and Lester had no doubt that if Burton snapped his fingers, the Minister and all his cronies would simply roll over.

So he walked the walk, talked the talk, and smiled the smile. Pushed just enough but not too much. Maintained the equilibrium.

For now.

It would be a long game, but James Lester was a very good player.

Chapter Text

Abby sighed, wondering for the hundredth time why she had agreed to let Connor decorate her flat for Christmas.

To say he had gone a little overboard would be the understatement of the millennium. Everywhere she looked there were garlands, holly wreaths, tinsel, and the like. Not to mention the enormous Christmas tree.

Then her eyes narrowed as she spotted something hanging from the ceiling by the front door. That boy just never gave up, did he?

“Connor!”

Connor came bounding down the stairs. “Yes?”

“Why is there mistletoe in my flat?”

Connor grinned.  "Can't blame a guy for trying!"

Chapter Text

“I’ll fa la la la la la la la la him in a minute, if he’s not careful,” Stephen grumbled.

Abby nudged him in the ribs. “Leave him alone,” she said indulgently. “He’s getting into the Christmas Spirit.”

Connor was, as usual, tinkering with the anomaly detector. Only this time he was doing it to a soundtrack of Deck The Halls. Seven times in a row.

“Oh, thank god for that,” Stephen said fervently, as the song came to an end.

Absentmindedly, Connor reached out and pressed the repeat button on the CD player.

Stephen put his hands over his ears.

Chapter Text

Lester’s evening routine, when he could find time for it, was always the same.

He loosened his tie as he came in the door, put on his favourite piece of opera, cooked himself a simple meal, and then settled in an armchair with a glass of deep red burgundy, eyes closed in appreciation of the music.

Tonight was different, however.

The tie round his neck was forgotten, he fussed over the intricacies of his cooking, the music was changed at least five times. His anticipation would not allow him to relax.

And on the table stood two glasses of wine.

Chapter Text

The Word file was simply labelled ‘For Nick’, and for long moments Nick couldn’t bring himself to open it.

When he’d asked Connor to check Stephen’s computer files, he’d been envisaging a simple sort through them, saving any important ones and junking the rest.

But then Connor had found this, and suddenly it wasn’t so simple any more.

Breathing deep, he opened the file. It was barely started, but one perusal showed him it was no less heartbreaking for that.

Dear Nick,
I’m so sorry for what I did. Please know that I’ve never stopped loving you, and I wish…

Chapter Text

Quickly moving a stack of papers so he could put a bucket in their place, Stephen noticed they were the latest crop of third year dissertations, and smiled ruefully at Cutter’s idea of a ‘filing system’.

“Stephen, this bucket needs emptying again…oh, shit!”

He turned around just as Cutter tripped over another stack of papers, dumping a whole bucket of cold water over Stephen.

“Oh god, sorry!”

Stephen shrugged and quickly stripped off his sopping t-shirt, smiling secretly to himself as Cutter’s eyes suddenly focused greedily on his naked torso.

Maybe there were some benefits to leaky pipes, after all.

Chapter Text

Connor watched Abby chatting to Stephen, and tried not to notice how close she was standing to their tall, handsome team-mate. Or how her whole face lit up when she laughed. Or how great her bum looked in those…

Better stop that, Connor, before she catches you.

Reluctantly he dragged his eyes away from her and refocused on the screen in front of him.

“Connor?”

Oh crap.

He pasted an innocent expression on his face before he looked round. “Yes, Abby?”

“When are you going to stop staring and start acting?”

“Wh-what?”

Abby smiled her most mischievous smile. “You heard.”

Chapter Text

“Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

It could have been worse. It could have been ballet. It could have been opera.

In the grand scheme of things, Shakespeare was okay. And Twelfth Night was a comedy. Lyle had even laughed once or twice (he also thought the character of Malvolio bore rather a resemblance to Lester, but he wasn’t going to mention that).

Lyle suppressed a sigh. He was feeling pretty virtuous himself right now, but he was damn well expecting cakes and ale of his own when they got home.

Chapter Text

“James, have you seen my waistcoat?”

“Which one?”

“The black one.”

“You have four black waistcoats, Connor. Be more specific.”

“My favourite black one.”

“Oh yes, that’s really terribly helpful, thank you.”

“Have you seen it or not?”

“Where was the last place you had it?”

“Er…oh! Never mind. I remember now – it got torn the other day, when Becker pushed me out of the way of that triceratops. I chucked it. Pity, I liked that waistcoat.”

“Just wear another waistcoat, Connor.”

“Suppose I’ll have to. Oh well… James?”

“What?”

“Have you seen my new pair of gloves?”

“…!”

Chapter Text

“This is all very nice, but really completely unnecessary.”

“Nick, you fell into a freezing lake, and if Ryan and I hadn’t pulled you out as quickly as we did you’d probably have hypothermia by now.”

“Well, you did and I haven’t. I’m fine. Anyone would think I was about to enter a new ice age.”

Stephen tossed another blanket over him. “You need to keep warm.”

Nick smothered a groan – he felt like a mummy wrapped in so many blankets. Then he had an idea.

“You know, they say sharing body heat is a great way to warm up.”

Chapter Text

Ryan wasn’t in bed when Connor woke up. Neither was he in the bathroom, living room or kitchen. The kettle was boiling when Connor heard the front door slam.

“I can’t believe you went running in that,” he greeted Ryan, staring pointedly at the snowy street outside the window.

“The running kept me warm,” Ryan replied. “But I wouldn’t say no to warming up a bit more.”

“I suppose you want a cup of tea?”

“Not really what I had in mind, actually.” Ryan reached towards Connor with quite obviously freezing hands.

“Don’t you dare! Ryan, stop…Ryan!

Connor fled.

Chapter Text

Nick Cutter kissed like he did everything else – with focus, intensity, and passion.

Not that Stephen had much evidence to support this conclusion, this being the first time he’d ever been kissed by Cutter. But still, what evidence he did have was all pointing the same way – towards the fact his legs were going to give way at any moment.

He managed to stumble backwards, pulling Cutter with him, until he was leaning against the desk.

“Feeling a bit weak at the knees?” Cutter murmured against his mouth, sounding amused.

“Oh, just shut up and kiss me again.”

Cutter did.

Chapter Text

“I know they call it an ice age, but this is bloody ridiculous!” Ryan yelled over the howling wind.

“What were you expecting – palm trees and sunshine?” Cutter shouted back.

Ryan glared at him, although the effect was somewhat ruined by the ski mask that was keeping the driving snow out of his eyes.

“Come on, you two. This isn’t the time for a debate on the finer points of prehistoric snowflakes!” Lieutenant Lyle was waiting by the anomaly. “Time to go!”

Cutter patted Ryan on the shoulder. “Just imagine how much warmer an English December will feel after this…

Chapter Text

A loud splash drew Jenny’s attention, and she and Sarah turned around to see Cutter flailing around in the shallow water at the edge of the lake, while Connor laughed uproariously and Becker looked on in wry amusement.

“Do you need a hand, Professor?” Becker asked, as Cutter scrabbled for purchase on the bank.

“No, I’m fine, thank you,” Cutter retorted.

“Not exactly Mr Darcy, is he?” Sarah muttered, as a now very soggy Cutter finally managed to haul himself out of the water, ending up in a panting heap on the grass.

Jenny laughed. Unfortunately, she had to agree.

Chapter Text

April pulled off the lumpy sweater, tossed the fake black-framed glasses aside, and then started freeing her hair from its messy ponytail.

She and Philip had agreed that this was just the sort of person to attract (and manipulate) Connor, but that didn’t make playing the role any less exhausting, and she was extremely grateful it was only for a few hours a day.

Just as her hair came loose, her phone beeped. Checking it, she found a message from Philip.

Need you at New Dawn, asap.

Sighing, April reached into her wardrobe. It was time to assume another role.

Chapter Text

The noise attracted her attention immediately, probably because it was otherwise completely quiet in the empty operations room.

Jess twisted in her seat, wondering where it had come from until it sounded again, somewhere above her head. It sounded like the pattering of feet.

She looked up, remembering vividly the sight of thousands of beetles pouring out of the ventilation shaft.

But then there was a chirp, and suddenly a green shape was soaring down from the ceiling.

“Rex!”

The little lizard landed on a workbench, and Jess could swear he was grinning at her.

“Rex, that wasn’t very nice!”

Chapter Text

No pain, no gain.

For a lot of women those words meant eating less to make themselves slimmer, waxing and plucking to make themselves beautiful, or emptying their bank accounts to buy the latest designer clothes and accessories.

Not for Helen Cutter.

For her they meant trekking all day across a scorching desert to find the next anomaly. They meant covering herself in dirt and other foul-smelling substances so she wouldn’t be scented by predators. They meant risking injury every day just to try and find food.

For Helen Cutter, those words meant survival, and that she was still alive.

Chapter Text

“This feels strange,” Emily murmured as she lifted the rifle.

“Just relax,” Matt said quietly. “Don’t be frightened of it.”

Easier said than done. This wasn’t the first weapon Emily had wielded, but a gun was different to a knife – it worried her, the damage she could do with it with barely a thought.

“You won’ be shooting to kill out in the field,” Matt assured her, as if he could read her mind. “Not with the EMDs, anyway, which is what you’ll be using.”

“No.” Emily hefted the rifle again, suddenly determined. She knew she needed to learn this.

Chapter Text

“Connor, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Connor froze halfway up the ladder, paper chain dangling limply from one hand. “Um, spreading a bit of festive cheer?”

Becker narrowed his eyes. “Really? And you thought you’d do this by hanging Christmas decorations all over my guns?”

“You can’t deny they brighten the place up.” Connor spoke the words bravely, but then gulped when Becker glared at him.

“Take them down, Connor. Now.

“Okay, okay.” Connor started pulling the paper chains down, muttering something loudly enough that Becker couldn’t help overhearing.

“Someone’s obviously been taking Scrooge lessons from Lester…”

Chapter Text

And in next month’s issue…

…we have an exclusive interview with Philip Burton, CEO of Prospero Industries. Burton’s quoted reasons behind his extraordinary success are “being willing to take risks, having the courage of your convictions – and utter ruthlessness,” qualities that his rivals can, and have, attested to.

But who is the real Philip Burton? And what is the secretive new venture Prospero is rumoured to be embarking on? “I can’t tell you much about it,” Burton said recently at a conference. “But I can promise you it’s going to change the world.”

Will it really? Find out next month.

Chapter Text

“…I realised my tights were laddered, then the traffic was horrible, then I managed to spill the contents of my handbag everywhere, and then Becker saw me while I was scrabbling around picking everything up!”

Matt frowned as Emily nodded sympathetically at Jess. It certainly didn’t sound like the worst day ever. For him, bad days were realising the water supply was running low again. Very bad days were when the predators found one of their underground hideouts.

Worst days ever… well, they didn’t even bear thinking about.

Those days were precisely what he’d come here to try to stop.

Chapter Text

Connor had kept a number of secrets in his life. Childhood misdemeanours, birthday presents, embarrassing crushes on teachers. And of course, the anomalies. Which, okay, he’d had trouble with at first, but he’d learned.

This was the most important secret he’d ever had, however.

Or so he’d thought.

“But you said you didn’t want people to know about us…” he stuttered.

His response was a pointed look at the ADD screens, most of which were showing reporters standing in front of anomalies.

“There doesn’t seem to be much point in keeping secrets any more,” Lester replied, and kissed him again.

Chapter Text

James Lester was the master of the plausible excuse.

On his wife’s birthday: “I’m sorry, dear – my meeting with the Minister overran. These politicians do like to talk.”

For his son’s school play: “There was very bad traffic, darling. Let’s have a private performance now.”

On his wedding anniversary: “There was an emergency with the Jubilee security – I couldn’t get away.”

Occasionally, though, he wished he could tell the truth.

“I was stuck in a lockdown thanks to the escape of an extinct prehistoric lizard that originally came through a rip in time.”

Then he might still have a family.