goldarrow: (Stephen-Ryan)
[personal profile] goldarrow
Title: Merry Christmas to All
Author: goldarrow
Word Count: 2000
Characters/Pairing: Claudia/Lyle*, Julia Denton*, Blade, Ms Sanderson* *{OCs}.
                                    Lyle, Blade and Julia are [ profile] fredbassett's, Ms Sanderson is mine.
Rating: 15 for language
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: Primeval belongs to Impossible Pictures, not me. I will return them when I’m done, slightly mussed but in superb spirits.
Beta by the always delightful [ profile] fififolle.

Secret Santa for [ profile] lonely_candle, who requested Claudia/Lyle. I hope you like it, luv!

Merry Christmas to All

Claudia sighed as she closed her front door and shrugged off her overcoat.

The day had started off drizzly and cold, and had gone downhill from there. Actually, downhill was an understatement. It had gone completely and utterly to shit.

Between Lester being on his high horse all day over Cutter's latest antics, Cutter himself causing havoc between the military teams and the scientific staff, Stephen Hart finally throwing up his hands and letting them go at it after almost being eviscerated himself for trying to keep the peace (verbally by Dr Parsons – the latest Palaeontologist to join the staff – and literally by Blade, who resented being told off by a civilian and was tossing his largest knife up into the air and catching it to show the man what he could do), Abby threatening to go down to ASDA and buy out their vegetable section for the creatures if Lester didn't up her budget, and Connor testing the ADD siren over and over (in what Claudia suspected was a diversionary ploy to keep all the others from committing utter mayhem), Claudia had developed the worst thumping tension headache she'd ever had in her life.

"Here, have this."

Claudia smiled and traded her overcoat for the large glass of wine that Jon was holding out to her.

"I thought you had to work this evening," she said, after a large and perhaps overly enthusiastic swallow of the wine.

The overcoat now nestling on its hook, Jon gave Claudia a quick kiss, turned her around, tucked her shoulder under his and walked her into the sitting room.

"I did. Had a word with Ryan. He's on tonight, so we're covered on the rank side, and Finn's girl is out of town tonight, back tomorrow, so he let the two of us switch." He lowered her gently onto the couch, dropped down beside her and stole a swallow of her wine. "Besides, he'd've let me take off anyway, said you looked like you were ready to kneecap the next person who looked at you sideways and he didn't want to deal with the fallout."

She hummed. "I think I passed the kneecapping point about mid-afternoon. By this evening, I was ready to gut someone." She paused thoughtfully. "With a rusty spoon." Leaning back against Jon's shoulder, she let out another sigh. "This has been an awful day. And the saddest thing is that we didn't even get a call-out to cause any of the craziness that was happening. Or to side-line it."

His shoulder twitched under her head as he shrugged. "That's the problem. It's been a while since we had an anomaly, and everyone is on edge waiting for the next storm to hit. We have too much free time sitting at the ARC, getting on each other's nerves."

"Hmmm, maybe," she said quietly. "Cutter certainly doesn't take to inactivity very well."

Jon snorted. "Cutter doesn't take to anything very well. The man's brilliant, but he's the worst pain in the arse I've ever had to deal with. The next time he flies up into the boughs, I'm going to take a page from Ryan's book and thump him."

Shuddering, Claudia envisioned the resulting fallout with horror. "Please, no. The upshot of that would most likely incinerate the ARC."

The doorbell rang, pulling a resigned grumble from Claudia that even she couldn't decipher – nor did she have the slightest desire to. The last thing she wanted tonight was any sort of company.

Lyle grinned, kissed her quickly and stood. "I sent out for a curry. Stay here and I'll bring it to you."

"You, my dear, are a gem of the first water." Snuggling back, she smiled as the tips of his ears turned pink.

He ducked quickly out the door, leaving her with a stomach that started growling at the smell of the food, surprising her into remembering that she hadn't even managed any lunch today. No wonder she was so knackered.


Claudia slapped irritably at the alarm beside her bed, finally lifting a very heavy head to stare at it when it didn't stop shrieking at her.

"It's not the alarm." Lyle yawned and grabbed the mobile on his side of the bed. "Fuck. We're on. Anomaly in Grosvenor Square."

"Oh, god," Claudia whimpered, staring at the bright 3:23 on the clock. Right now, she was thoroughly regretting that third glass of wine. She normally wasn't much of a lightweight where drinking was concerned, but exhaustion and alcohol had never combined very well for her.


"What is it? What was that?" The woman just kept repeating the questions over and over, looking around at the wreckage of her beautiful Christmas decorations. Smashed bulbs, squashed and tattered wreaths, flattened presents, the chewed remains of her six-foot Christmas tree with its ornaments in shattered bits, and worst of all, the creature lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the floor all contributed to the feeling of surreality.

"It's going to be okay," Claudia said smoothly. She was actually wondering a bit about herself and her reactions that, after working at the ARC for the last few months, she could look at this devastation and not be moved.

"It's not!" The woman stared at her. "This thing is dead on my sitting room floor! And that other thing went straight through the French doors! It smashed them to pieces! God alone knows where it is!" She glared around. "And the fucking thing took my husband's Christmas present with it! What would it want with a new watch, anyway?"

Claudia nodded gently, and with soothing words steered the woman toward her kitchen, leaving the team to try to make sense of what had happened and what the other creature had been, and more important, where the hell it had gone.

Four hours later, Claudia was once more exhausted and this time slightly hoarse from keeping the owner of the house from calling everyone from her local councilman to the Prime Minister to complain. Lester wasn't going to be pleased with her, but a liberal offer of immediate repairs, recompense for the destroyed gifts, and a signed Official Secrets Act form seemed to have finally brought the woman back to earth.

"You promise the work will be done by Friday?" The woman was adamant that she had to be ready for Christmas Eve with her extended family. It seemed that they were of a rather delicate emotional and interactive temperament, and anything out of the ordinary family traditions would be liable to set them off and at each other's throats.

Claudia shuddered at the thought. It was too much like her own family Christmases. "I promise, Ms Sanderson. We'll have a team in to start clearing up by this afternoon. Thank you for your patience. Arrangements are all being finalised now."

Lyle entered quietly, making the woman jump. "Sorry, ma'am," he said in a most official tone of voice. "Everything's clear now. The carcass is heading back to the lab, we've trapped the predator, and we've started a trace on whoever it was who was keeping these illegal exotic creatures."

Smiling, Claudia turned back to the woman, whose eyes had narrowed suspiciously at Lyle's description of the creatures. "Perhaps you might like to stay in a hotel tonight?" Claudia offered, adding quickly, "on us, of course."

Ms Sanderson wavered for a moment, then acquiesced after a glance into the sitting room. "I think that's a good idea. Let me get my things."

She disappeared upstairs, and Lyle gave Claudia a quick hug. "Almost done."

"Here, yes," Claudia replied with resignation. "It'll take the rest of the afternoon back at the ARC to close any loopholes. Getting the repairmen out here this close to Christmas is going to cost. Dearly."


"No, mum, honestly, I'm tied up this year. There's no way I can make it down for Christmas." Claudia rested her head on her fist as her mother's voice kept rattling through the speaker. "I know. I missed last year, too, but there's just no way. I can come down for the New Year instead. You know you'll need me more then to handle Cousin Mabel than you will at Christmas. She's always on her best behaviour at Christmas. New Year's is always when she makes her play for attention."

Jon snorted and turned to look at his mother. Julia Denton was watching with unconcealed amusement and not a little admiration as Claudia used her expert-level civil-servant stonewalling on her mother.

"Yes, mum, I promise I can come down and handle her at New Year's. But you know there's always so much drama at Christmas that they'll never miss me."

Jon reached out a long arm and snagged the mobile from her. "Sorry, Mrs Brown, but you can tell the cousins to sod off and handle their own problem child this year. Claudia has other plans."

Claudia grinned slightly as she took the mobile back. "Yes, mum, that was Jon… And Merry Christmas to you, too. I'll give him your love."

She disconnected the call and tossed the mobile onto the coffee table. "Mum says you're horribly rude but she forgives you anyway. And that after that comment, you'd better be doing something nice for me this year."

"Your mum is a holy terror, and your Aunts are all deaf as posts and sound like mastodons bellowing across primeval swamps."

Claudia glanced helplessly at Julia, fighting hard not to burst out laughing at Jon's description, which was viciously accurate, though somehow familiar.

Julia took a swallow of her drink and smiled lazily at her son. "My dearest Claudia, over the years, I've learned that Jon is very good at creatures such as velociraptors. People, unfortunately, not so much."

Lyle snorted. "Misquoting Amis, mother?" he asked, but didn't add anything else, his expression looking faintly haunted.

Julia raised one delicate eyebrow. "That's no worse than massacring Wodehouse, you heathen."

Lyle buried his nose in his glass, seemingly content with handing his mother an Olympic-level stink-eye.

Claudia and Julia traded grins. His mother was the only person who could ever stop Lyle in his tracks.

"Ah, I knew I was forgetting something." Julia plunked her glass down on the table.

"Premature senility?" Jon's smile would have done a shark proud.

With great dignity, Julia ignored him as she dug into her capacious handbag. "Here, you little horror. You wanted to get away, so go."

To Claudia's surprise, Julia tossed Jon the keys to her ocean-front property in Cornwall, saying, "It's empty, but ready to go. Enjoy yourselves. I spoke to James, and you're both off the roster from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day."

"Sometimes, mother, you actually come in handy." Lyle tossed the keys into the air and caught them with a grin.

Claudia sighed happily. Having Julia Denton on their side was very useful. She and James Lester got on like a house on fire, since Lester rather liked Julia's ability to stand toe to toe with him. As a result, he tended to be fairly amenable to agreeing with her suggestions.


"Mmmm. 'All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by'," Claudia quoted softly, staring up at the glittering trail of stars across the night sky as she leaned back against Lyle's strong shoulder.

She felt the rumble of his chuckle through her skin. "There's a little more I'd ask for," he replied.

She laughed. "For me, tonight, I'll take 'quiet sleep and a sweet dream', thanks." Sitting up, she smiled down at him. "After, of course, 'a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied'."

He pulled her down into a kiss. "That's the other bit I wanted."

"You have it." Thanking her lucky stars that they'd managed to skate away from her family's traditional Christmas, Claudia gave one last look over her shoulder at the surf pounding against the cliff, stood and led the way into the house,

The requests were:
Domestic moments, small details, and humour; people communicating with each other; little character insights and those moments that remind you these characters are people with families and lives.

-  Velociraptors are what he is good at. People are what he is bad at. – Martin Amis.
- It will be a very traditional Christmas, with presents, crackers, doors slamming and people bursting into tears, but without the big dead thing in the middle. – Victoria Wood
- As a rule, you see, I’m not lugged into family rows. On the occasions when Aunt is calling to Aunt like mastodons bellowing across primeval swamps and Uncle James’s letter about Cousin Mabel’s peculiar behaviour is being shot round the family circle… the clan has a tendency to ignore me. – P.G. Wodehouse
- 'All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by' - Masefield
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