goldarrow: (Stephen-Ryan)
[personal profile] goldarrow
Title: Time and Time Again (2/2)
Author: goldarrow
Word Count: 5259; this part 2256
Characters/Pairings: Cutter, Lester, Stephen/Ryan implied, Kermit*, Lyle*. Kermit and Lyle belong to [ profile] fredbassett, who kindly lends them out.
Rating: 15
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: Primeval belongs to Impossible Pictures, not me. I will return them when I’m done, slightly mussed but in superb spirits.

Part 1

Time and Time Again - Part 2

Stephen stared at the ground in front of him, where the tracks of multiple people, one of them most likely the kidnapped Professor Cutter, had disappeared in the middle of the field. “Connor, has there been any anomaly activity in the area lately, even short ones?”

Connor started to shake his head, then paused. “Yeah, we’ve had a few intermittent ones, just open for a minute or so, then closing again,” he said, eyeing Stephen closely. “Not one of them has stayed open long enough to work out exactly where they are.”

“Were any in this area, do you think?”

“We can’t narrow them down that fast, but if I had to say, then yeah, there were one or two that could be around here somewhere.”

Stephen looked around, mapping the area in his mind, then turned to Ryan. “We’re out of sight of the road and the gatehouse, so if someone has taken Cutter through, then they could have done it easily without being seen. The tracks only go one direction, so they haven’t returned.”

“Right. And they wouldn’t have gone through without a plan to get back. So we set up a watch, here and at the gatehouse, wait for it to open again.” Ryan radioed Lyle with the status, then nodded to Kermit, who faded into the tree line ahead of them.

They’d barely got the vehicles moved into cover and themselves into position before a van pulled into the gatehouse parking area. Five people climbed out, three moving around the back of the van to pull rucksacks from the storage area, and the other two heading straight for where the anomaly had been.

Ryan’s team must have been primed for his signal. The moment he tapped his headset mic, Lyle, Finn and Fiver snaffled the group at the van without a fight, while the other two stopped dead and raised their hands as soon as Ryan and Kermit stepped out of the trees with their weapons ready.

“Who are you? Why have you stopped us? We’re not doing anything wrong!” The one who seemed to be the leader of the group wasn’t doing bluster very well. He sounded more frightened than irate to Stephen’s ears.

“If you’re planning on walking through the light-show that’s probably about to appear, then yes, you are doing something wrong.” Stephen gave them his best imitation of a shark’s grin as he spoke, taking satisfaction from the heavy swallow the man gave in reaction. He switched to what he hoped was an encouraging smile. “If you tell us what you’re up to, you might make it out of this situation without ending up behind bars.”

His face turning pale, the leader glanced helplessly at his female companion, then sighed as she gave him a significant glare. His shoulders drooped. “We’re scouts for a pharmaceutical company. We found out last year that these lights take us to places that have the most amazing flora and fauna. The biologicals that we’ve found have been fantastic. Our company has made great strides in development since we started bringing back this stuff.”

Turning his head as he felt the magnetic pull of an anomaly opening, Stephen nodded to Ryan. “Captain, I think our professor is on the other side.” He faced the couple again, catching the horrified look shared by the two of them. “You’ve been stupid. You’ll be taken into custody and debriefed. If you didn’t have any direct connection with the kidnapping of our friend, then you’ll probably be okay. If you play games, you’ll be in trouble. How many of your people are on the other side?”

The leader’s mouth opened and closed a few times, his need to help himself warring with his desire to help his friends. Kermit raised his weapon and he caved. “Three. Only three.”

Kermit gestured to the gate, his weapon still deployed, and the two trudged unhappily back to the van, where Fiver quickly and efficiently tied them to their three friends before stepping back into watch position as Finn and Lyle joined the team by the anomaly.

“Wait here,” Ryan ordered Stephen and Connor.

The young genius started to protest, but Stephen tapped him on the shoulder.

“They’re on a rescue mission, Conn. They won’t want to have to watch out for us as well.”

Connor sighed. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

He stepped back as Ryan gave Stephen a grateful glance.

Stephen waved the three soldiers through before turning to Connor. “Can you watch the anomaly, make sure it doesn’t… Oh, shit.”

Connor paled. “It’s closing. Stephen. It’s closing!”

Stephen took off at a dead run for the van. “How long before it reopens?” he demanded as soon as he got close enough for the group to hear him.

The leader nodded to his companion. “Maybe five minutes,” the woman said levelly. “It’s on a cycle. Five minutes three times, then five hours two times, then five days three times, then five months once, then working its way back up, then repeating.”

Stephen watched with amusement as Connor’s eyes lit up. Within seconds the young man was deep in conversation with the woman, comparing statistics, timing and sequencing at a level of complexity that had both Stephen and Fiver at a loss. Stephen traded a glance of indulgence with the soldier before heading back to wait close to where the anomaly should reopen.

Four minutes later, the cloudy light exploded again, and thirty seconds after that, Cutter ran through with a scowl on his face, followed closely by Finn, who was grinning madly. Another ten seconds passed before Lyle came out, tugging the end of a rope that towed three men through behind him, all of them yelling and struggling, with Ryan on their heels prodding them through faster.

Once they were all back on the correct side of time, Lyle gave a massive yank on the rope and the three prisoners went down like dominoes, still cursing him. Ryan stopped and stared at them as they sat on the ground. One by one they dropped into silence.

Stephen pulled his gaze from them with an effort. Watching Ryan cow a group without doing more than look at them was always well worth the viewing, but he could hear Cutter still muttering as he watched them also.

Reaching out to grasp Cutter’s arm, Stephen asked, “You okay?”

“Right royally pissed off, if you must know,” Cutter grumbled, interspersing his statement with a group of Gaelic phrases that Stephen didn’t need to know the language to work out were rather vicious curses. “Buggers grabbed me right out of my bloody car.”

Stephen nodded, lowering his voice to a whisper. “We know. That’s how we found you. Connor managed to piggyback onto the CCTV traffic signal so we could see what happened.”

Eyes wide, Cutter stared first at him then at the young genius who was heading toward them at speed. “Bloody hell, Stephen, that’s… that’s…”

“Agreed,” Stephen replied, still speaking softly. “Keep it quiet for now, okay? We don’t want this lot to have anything to hold over us.”

“Right.” Cutter clapped him on the shoulder before turning to Connor, who’d arrived breathlessly at their sides. “Thanks, lad. Well done.”

His smile bright enough to rival the sun, Connor gave Cutter a slightly awkward hug. “As long as you’re okay, Professor. That’s all that matters.”

“I’m fine, Connor. I just want these arseholes to end up in a deep dungeon somewhere. Stupid gits were trying to harvest primordial plants – and they were even talking about taking horns and hooves from creatures, for fuck’s sake. Idiots wanted me to help them. They knew I was Evolutionary Biology Chair at CMU, thought I’d help them just for a chance to go back in time.”

“Christ.” Stephen felt sick. He’d seen the aftermath of the depredations of modern poachers a few times, and just the thought of something like that being done to the creatures of the past made him want to either throw up or throw these people straight into a snake pit.

“Let’s go.” Ryan came up with Kermit on his six. “Kermit and Fiver are staying here to watch the anomaly for now. We need to get this lot back to the ARC.”


Stephen stood in the atrium, watching as Lorraine Wickes put the fear of God and Lester into the group of people sitting around the conference table. By the time she handed each of them their very own copy of the Official Secrets Act, they were all white-faced, staring either at her or down at the table in front of them.

“Looks like they’re not going to be any more trouble.”

Stephen turned to Ryan with a smile. “I don’t think I’d care to go up against Lorraine, either.”

“She’s certainly efficient.” Ryan glanced up at the group. “Any idea when they’re going to be done?”

“Not a clue.” Stephen shrugged. “Doesn’t matter anyway. I’m taking Cutter home as soon as Ditzy gets through checking him over.”

“Was he injured? He looked okay when we found him. Furious, but not bruised.”

“Bloody but unbowed?” Stephen replied, grinning. “He swears he’s fine, but Ditzy wasn’t about to let him out the door without a few tests. You know his motto.”

“Hmm.” Ryan replied absently, giving Stephen a piercing look he couldn’t decipher. “Better safe than sorry.”

“I’ve had those words handed to me on a platter too many times to count.”

Ryan laughed shortly. “As have we all, Hart. As have we all.” He clasped Stephen’s shoulder for a moment. “See you later.”

“You finished for the day?” Stephen asked, throttling down a definite sense of disappointment. He enjoyed any interactions with the handsome captain more, perhaps, than he was willing to admit even to himself. Wait, what? Handsome? When had he started noticing the captain’s eyes, such a clear blue, the strong cheekbones, the frankly fucking amazing body hidden under those bulky combats?

He was so caught up in his own epiphany that he almost didn’t hear Ryan’s reply.

“Done, yes. Have a nice night, Hart.”

Stephen shook his head, trying to align his thoughts again. “Not going to be too good,” he said wryly. “I’ll be stuck listening to Nick’s bitching all the way to his place, until I can get him to bed so I can escape.”

Ryan actually laughed. “So good luck, then.”

He walked away, leaving Stephen still feeling a bit flustered, until Cutter’s voice brought him back to reality.

“Ready, Stephen?”

Stephen turned to his old friend. “Ready. Ditzy let you out without a minder?”

Cutter snorted. “Like I’d have one.” He grinned. “Thanks for the offer to take me home. Ditzy was holding me so long I was beginning to think I’d have to catch a bus.”

“Come on, then. Let’s get you back home.” Stephen started off, then stopped as a thought hit him. “Wait, do you have your house key?”

“Yeah. They kept my car keys, but I still have the house key.”

“Good.” Stephen clapped his friend on the back. “If you didn’t always put your keys on the rack, we never would have known to look for you.”

“Huh. And you’ve been teasing me about OCD for all these years.”

“I’m glad of it, now. Let’s get you home.”

“You have no idea how good those words sound,” Nick said on the tail end of a sigh as the two men passed through the doors to the garage.


“Goodnight, Nick, sleep well,” Stephen said softly as he stepped out the front door of Cutter’s house. Nick’s calm state of mind surprised him, after everything the professor had been subjected to since last night. The man had been yawning almost before they got through his door. He’d refused anything to eat, telling Stephen that he’d been fed and allowed a shower at the ARC. All he wanted was to hit his bed.

He shook Stephen’s hand, then with a slightly embarrassed expression, he’d surprised Stephen immensely by adding a quick hug before disappearing upstairs.

Stephen yawned himself as he walked slowly toward his car.

“So, do you have any plans for the night, Hart?”

“Christ!” Stephen’s heart almost leapt out of his chest at the sudden voice behind him. “Fucking hell, Ryan, you damn near gave me a heart attack!”

“Sorry.” Ryan’s expression didn’t match his words. He looked more pleased, even perhaps a bit smug, than repentant. And he was wearing jeans and a leather jacket, which as far as Stephen was concerned was taking completely unfair advantage. The captain was distracting enough in his bulky combats. Seeing him in the leg – and crotch – hugging jeans, with the soft leather of his jacket outlining his shoulders and chest was close to making Stephen’s mouth water.

Stephen decided to forgive him anyway. “Plans? No, no plans.” He ran his eyes up and down the soldier’s trim body as he allowed a smile to form. “Do you happen to have any ideas?”

“Lots of them,” Ryan replied. “Are you interested in finding out what they are?”

Laughing in delight, Stephen reached out and ran his finger down Ryan’s cheek. “Yes. I am.”

“That’s a relief.” Ryan leaned forward and gave Stephen a much too quick kiss. “Since I had Lyle drop me off here.”

“I’ll take you wherever you want to go.” Unable to resist the double entendre, Stephen was delighted to see Ryan’s eyes go intent.

Without another word, the two men turned and headed for Stephen’s car.

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