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Primeval/Chaos fic: When We Collide 2/16

June 7th, 2012 (06:51 am)
cranky

feeling: cranky

A/N: Thank you so much for the response to chapter one! Now I’m sort of nervous the rest will disappoint :) This bit is pretty expository, setting up the events to come. Also, portions of dialogue in later chapters have been lifted from the actual show, so if something sounds familiar, that’s why!

Previous parts and other notes can be found in the MASTER POST .



PART TWO

-o-

As a spy, Billy was trained to be cool under pressure. All things considered, he thought he tended to do an admirable job.

Of course, going undercover with terrorists and international drug smugglers was easy compared to facing another version of himself.

Up close, the resemblance was even more striking. Stephen Hart had the same shaped face and bright blue eyes. His hair was maybe a touch lighter and longer and utterly unkempt. It looked as if he hadn’t bothered to look at it since rolling out of bed in the morning.

Beyond these features, though, the similarities were scant. Stephen had no fashion sense – the orange cargo pants just got more painfully laughable the more Billy saw them – and his plain t-shirt suggested an utter disregard for appearances.

Billy considered this, watching with interest as the other man reacted. Where Billy had been shocked and awed, Stephen’s hackles went up immediately. He scooted his chair back, mouth open and eyes wide as he shook his head. “That’s not possible,” he said, the suspicion in his voice obvious. He looked from Billy to York with clear accusation. “What have you done?”

York’s expression was bemused. “Merely seen an advantageous coincidence and chosen to exploit it.”

Stephen shook his head, looking back at Billy with a look almost akin to panic. “Is it cloning? Or just someone from a different timeline? Some sort of futuristic science? I know Helen’s been to the future—“

Billy was so amazed at watching his doppelganger speak, that he almost neglected to listen to him. “Easy, lad,” Billy coaxed, edging his way more carefully toward the table. “This is the first I’ve heard of this, too.”

Stephen seemed to jolt at the sound of his voice – the Scottish accent probably threw him – and then he turned back toward York. “I don’t know what you’ve been planning, but I came here to help—“

Billy’s mind caught on the words, his instincts kicking back in. Spies had to read people, and Billy had always thought it a particular skill of his. He’d always managed to charm the girls and to make fast mates, because he was good at understanding people. A few glances, a couple of words exchanged, and Billy could usually piece together enough about a person to get a sense of who they were and what motivated them.

Stephen Hart was easier than most.

The lack of concern with personal appearance meant he was a simple person. Probably an outdoorsman of sorts, more akin to spending his time out and about so practical clothing was more important than style. More than that, he probably had a tendency to put the greater good ahead of his own needs – which was why he was at MI5 without even bothering to brush his hair.

The fact that he was here also suggested that he had some education. Though, being involved with a top secret project also probably suggested something of skill and/or intellect. It was also apparent in his sharp eyes, which were always probing and searching, appraising Billy as much as Billy was appraising him.

But where Billy knew how to hide his emotions, Stephen had no such pretences. He was probably the strong and silent type when he could pull it off, but when the situation got personal, Stephen Hart was a hot mess. Uncertain and critical – this was a man who’d been tested and tricked, probably duped more than once. He had power issues, which told Billy that he’d had control taken from him one too many times in his past. It probably hindered all his relationships and made it difficult for him to know who to trust in times of crisis.

Which was why he was here.

In this light, his suspicion of Billy was probably understandable. Billy had some sympathy for it, but it was too damn interesting not to gawk.

This just seemed to unnerve Stephen more.

With a pang of sympathy, Billy attempted to smile disarmingly. “Then maybe we should listen to what our fearless leader has to say,” he suggested, sauntering over and sitting across from Stephen. “Fredericks has been sparse on the details.”

Stephen glanced nervously toward Fredericks, who inclined his head by way of introduction.

York smiled, adjusting his tie. “Yes. Well, as I’ve said, we’ve been watching the situation at the ARC with some trepidation for a while now, but it’s been strictly on a need to know basis,” he explained. “The level of sensitivity around this project demands that we only keep necessary parties in the informational loop or we risk a devastating breach. However, the closer things seem to be spiralling out of control, the closer we’ve been to pulling in Collins to the assignment.”

Stephen jittered in his seat, swallowing convulsively as he eyed Billy with doubt. “And who exactly is Collins?” Then his expression shifted. “Or should I say what?”

“My mother has equated me to a pig based on my living habits, but I assure you I am entirely human,” Billy said. “Born and bruised in North Edinburgh, as a matter of fact. My dear mum is still there, if you’d like a corroborating witness.”

His offer did nothing to assuage Stephen’s fears. He shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

“It’s a coincidence,” Director York interjected, stating the obvious assumption that Billy had come to some time ago. The odds of two people sharing so many similarities wasn’t high by any means, but genetics did not rule it out.

There was possibly some distant relation, even. He knew of no Harts in his background, but considering the muddied Collins line, it was entirely possible, especially given the inherent Collins propensity toward seduction.

And really, given their looks, sometimes fate was just kind like that. Billy had to admit, having given Stephen Hart a once over, he knew why the girls had always complimented his eyelashes.

These observations were so distracting that he had to force himself to focus again on the conversation.

Stephen sat in his chair, taut now. His expression was still wary. “You mean it’s just chance that I happen to look like a MI5 agent?”

“Completely,” York said.

Billy shrugged as Stephen looked back at him. “First I’ve heard of it, mate.”

Stephen’s eyes narrowed and darted back to York. “You’ll have to forgive my scepticism,” he said bitingly. “I’ve got my reasons to doubt.”

“Of course,” York said. “Or you wouldn’t be here.”

Therein was the point. Stephen’s posture shifted subtly. It wasn’t trust but it was reluctant acquiescence.

It made Billy smile. “So, then,” he said. “Now that we’re all on board, what exactly did you have in mind?”

York looked at him, with careful consideration, as though he was looking at Billy in earnest for the first time. He took a small breath. “We’re going to play with our assets,” he said. He looked purposefully from Billy to Stephen. “Let us take stock here of what we have. We have one sceptical ARC employee with access to all key areas and members. He is the team leader’s second in command and has established knowledge and relationships that can yield better intel that we’ve accounted for on the outside.” He paused, looking at Billy. “And here we have an ever-eager MI5 agent, primed and ready for his first major solo assignment who just happens to share an uncanny similarity to said ARC employee.”

Stephen seemed to be struggling to keep up – the shock, no doubt – but Billy’s mind followed the supposition to the only logical conclusion.

“You want me to go in undercover,” he concluded, the idea fluttering in his chest and buoying his spirits.

York didn’t deny it.

Stephen’s brow creased. “Undercover?” he asked.

“You want me to take Stephen’s place,” Billy continued, the idea of it igniting his senses. His mind worked through it, the test of his skills, the weight of deep cover, the potential to do good -- it was everything he wanted. His mission. His first solo mission.

Stephen shook his head. “But he’s no good for it,” he protested.

“The looks are a given,” Billy said. He reached up, tousling his hair. “It’s a bit short, but I can pull it off. Give myself a bit of a shave and dump the suit, I think it’s passable.”

“But he doesn’t know any of the people,” Stephen said, looking toward York and bypassing Billy altogether, as if ignoring him would make him go away.

“I can read the file, spend some time with you. I promise I’m a quick study,” he said. “And I’m good at picking things up quickly. I can play any part, I assure you of that.”

York had a look of benign scepticism.

“Developing a cover has always been one of Collins’ more pronounced skills,” Fredericks chimed in with faint praise.

Still, Billy would take it. He nodded readily. “I did excellent work undercover in Russia last year,” he said. “I can do any accent, so English shouldn’t be much trouble if I’ve mastered Russian.”

Stephen was still aghast. “They’d know,” he said.

“People believe the easiest answer,” Billy said. “It’s far more likely that you’re having an off day, not that you’ve been replaced by a dashing and energetic MI5 agent, don’t you think?”

Stephen shook his head, still gaping. “But—“

“But you want us to work out who the traitor, yes?” York interjected.

Stephen nodded, blinking blankly.

“You already said by your own admission that you are alienated from your team?”

Stephen nodded again, mouth closing as he swallowed with apprehension.

“And you would like to protect them but see no other viable means to complete the task?”

Stephen’s nod was resigned now.

“Well, this is how we can help you,” York said. “We’ll send in Collins and have him comb the ARC facility with the impartial eyes of a spy. He can better assess your contacts and better determine who can be trusted and who is most likely problematic.”

Stephen didn’t even nod this time, eyes looking down hard at the table. If Billy had to guess, he would assume that the other man was struggling to rein in his emotions. He had probably come to the MI5 to help regain control of a situation he thought was spiralling away from him and the solution being offered was usurping his control altogether. It was a tough pill to swallow, no doubt, even if it was the best option.

The only option, really.

York continued, unrelenting. “With Collins in place, we can then readily ascertain the traitor and then determine how best to foil his or her attempts to compromise the project, thereby protecting the ARC, its employees and the UK population.”

It was a grandiose conclusion, perhaps, but the flourishes were well deserved. That was what being a spy was all about. This was what Billy had trained for, worked for, lived for.

This was it.

Billy’s moment to shine.

Stephen, however, took the news badly. His shoulders finally slumped and his head dropped. He nodded. “Okay,” he agreed, voice quiet and strained.

York nodded back, smiling. “Very good,” he said. “Fredericks, I want you and Mr Hart spend some quality time with Collins to explain the facility, his job and the nature of his acquaintances. Once Collins has a working grasp of Mr Hart’s life, we can best determine when to send him in and where to start looking. Hopefully we’ll have this little mess solved in no time.” His smile widened. “Does that sound good to everyone present?”

Fredericks nodded readily. “Yes, sir.”

“Fantastic,” Billy chimed in.

Stephen merely nodded again.

“Great,” York said, pushing to his feet. “Keep me fully informed. “Good luck, people. Good luck.”

Billy almost couldn’t hide his grin, but as he watched the director leave, he saw Stephen sit dejectedly in his seat, and Billy reminded himself that perhaps good was a relative thing. There was more to this than the simple presentation. Billy wasn’t sure what, but Stephen Hart was telling them the important things, Billy had no doubt, but his secret was one of omission. Some people were flagrant liars, to boost themselves blindly. Others were liars by fear or embarrassment, because the truth was something that they themselves didn’t know how to face.

Stephen Hart was the latter.

The problem with lies, however, was that they rarely ended up well. That was perhaps what had brought Stephen to them in the first place, and Billy could only hope that it wouldn’t ruin this mission in the end.

-o-

It was true that as far as plans went, this hadn’t been one of Stephen’s better ones. Though, in truth, he wasn’t much of a planner. He liked routines well enough and flourished with structure, but when it came to most things, he just trusted his instincts to guide him. If he had any sense whatsoever when it came to forward thinking, he probably never would have slept with Helen Cutter at all and spared himself all the ensuing grief.

Still, he had thought this particular part of the plan would be a little less…difficult. Going to MI5 was supposed to make things better.

Sitting in a small conference room with a bright-eyed, exuberant version of himself really was not what he had counted on. He’d already endured dinosaurs and giant insects. He’d survived rifts in time and getting trapped in the past. He’d been left lovelorn and used, humiliated and ignored. He’d lost the trust of everyone he ever cared about and had the interest of the one person who had ruined everything.

In short, Helen was the worst first love ever, Connor was too busy for him, Abby thought he was a prat, and Nick wouldn’t even acknowledge him enough to hate him.

Right when he thought things couldn’t possibly get worse, his apparent alter-ego grinned. “I still can’t get over how undeniably remarkable this is,” he said, propping his chin up on his hand and staring at Stephen intently.

Stephen made a face that he hoped passed for the shadow of a smile in return. “I deal with dinosaurs on a weekly basis,” he said. “I’m well over remarkable.

“True, true,” Billy said quickly. “Your day job is something that I haven’t even begun to wrap my mind around, mostly because of this. My God, man, have you noticed that we are in fact devilishly handsome?”

Stephen frowned. People had commented on his looks. He’d never been wanting for attention, from school until now. He’d been aware of the flirting but he’d always been uncomfortable with it. Not necessarily oblivious, but he didn’t want a relationship based on that. Of course some girls had been nice. Allison certainly had been and Abby was sweet, but they weren’t quite right. No one seemed to fit the way he needed them to.

And of course, Helen had always liked his looks. He’d mostly suspected he’d been her pet because of the way his arse looked in a pair of jeans. Helen was many things, but subtle in her advances, not so much.

In this, Stephen had found his looks more of a burden. He didn’t want to be the pretty boy or some attractive plaything. He wanted to be taken seriously.

Which was not happening now.

He eyed Billy with a plaintive expression. “Let’s just get down to work,” he muttered.

“Yes,” the other man – Fredericks, if he recalled – interjected, leaning forward across the open file. “We have a short amount of time to get this operation off the ground. So we need to get all players on the same page. If Collins is going to pose successfully as you, we’re going to need more details about your status within the organisation and your relationship with others.”

It was said simply, a clinical task to be completed. As if Stephen could easily summarise his entire life into a few condensed paragraphs for someone to replicate.

Though, given the number of forms and the multitude of questions he’d already answered on the topic, it would at least be old hat by now.

Fredericks shifted through is papers. “Ah, yes. Let’s start here,” he said, putting a picture of Helen in front of him. “Helen Cutter.”

Stephen’s stomach roiled. Of course. Everything seemed to start with Helen.

Billy leaned over with interest. “A striking woman,” he said. “Friend of yours?”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Stephen said. “Maybe once…”

He didn’t know how to say it. The information was on file; MI5 knew about his affair but laying it out there, explaining it was something else. Not just because he was ashamed but also because it didn’t mean what people thought it would.

“Ah,” Billy said knowingly. “So you go for the older women? Can’t blame you there, mate.”

“It’s not like that,” Stephen said, his exasperation flaring. He sighed. “She was my teacher, back when I was a student at university. She was my thesis supervisor.”

“And a whole lot more,” Billy mused, watching him carefully.

Stephen glared. “We spent a lot of time together. She was smart and beautiful and brilliant….”

And he’d been so young, so naïve, so desperate to please. He hadn’t even known what he’d wanted back then, willing to try anything and discovering that most of it hadn’t worked at all.

“No judgments here,” Billy assured him. “I just need to know what we’re talking about. Love? Or just torrid passions?”

Stephen blushed at the insinuation, the memory of that night stark in his mind. Even Helen had been pleasantly surprised about his performance. An average student in the classroom, but in the bedroom…

Straightening, Stephen didn’t let himself think on that any further. Fredericks was watching him banally and Billy looked positively amused.

This just made Stephen get more flustered. “It was a one night stand,” he said. “For a brief while, I fancied we could be something.”

“If not for her husband,” Fredericks concluded, eyeing the file anew.

The frankness of it made him wince. “She’d said they were separated,” he said. “No one believed they had been together in months.”

Billy nodded sympathetically. “And it is rather hard to pull back when someone puts the forbidden fruit so close to grasp,” he said.

It was true, but it was more than that. It had been infatuation, too. It had been surprise that she’d even thought of him that way. It was back before he knew Nick, before he’d understood what kind of man he was.

“And you still worked with her husband?” Fredericks continued.

Duly chagrined, Stephen shifted in his seat. “I didn’t think he needed to know.”

Billy shook his head. “Secrets rarely pay off,” he said.

“Said the spy,” Stephen shot back.

“To the wife-stealer,” Billy returned without delay.

Stephen’s cheeks burned.

“So your relationship with Helen – it was terminated?” Fredericks prompted, easily circumventing the awkward emotions.

Stephen was grateful for the reprieve. “Yes,” he said. “I told her I couldn’t do it, not while she was married. I thought she might leave her husband but then she disappeared.”

“I take it not permanently,” Billy said, glancing down at the file. “She decided to take a bit of a trip through time, it says.”

“Yeah, and she showed up about the same time we became aware of the anomalies,” Stephen confirmed. “She started coming in and out, at strange times.”

“And she confronted you?” Fredericks asked.

“Came to me personally, yes,” Stephen said, remembering the hazy memories inside the abandoned tunnels. Then her stalking him on campus. “I went over these instances with York. She said she wanted to help.”

“Did she?” Fredericks asked.

Stephen swallowed. That mission had gone poorly. All missions with Helen had gone poorly. People had died. Everything had fallen apart. He shook his head tightly. “I don’t know,” he admitted.

Billy leaned back. “That’s only partially true,” he said. “You know what it looks like, you’re bright enough, but your instincts are telling you otherwise. You don’t trust her.”

The assessment was accurate, of course. That was why he was here. He wanted to trust Helen – he didn’t want to think her as the manipulative bitch she’d shown herself to be. He wanted to think that the woman he’d seen all those years ago, the one he’d thought he’d loved, might really still be there. That it hadn’t been an illusion, a star-struck fancy of a silly boy.

But every time he doubted his instincts, he remembered the look on her face when she invited him through the anomaly. She hadn’t come back for him. She’d come back to hurt Nick. She was using him then.

She was probably using him now.

He worked his jaw and purposefully looked Billy in the eyes. “She doesn’t exactly make it easy.”

Billy was still watching him carefully, wheels turning in his bright blue eyes. But before he could say something undoubtedly cheeky, Fredericks interjected again. “So your relationship with Helen is complicated, to say the least,” he said. “Her interest in you – either as a person or a pawn – can be quite beneficial toward gleaning more information about the situation at the ARC. What about the staff there? What can you tell us about them?”

Stephen shrugged. “Not much to tell,” he said.

Fredericks turned the page, clearly not satisfied with the answer. “James Lester?”

“Pompous bureaucrat,” Stephen replied easily. “I doubt he thinks twice about me, but I have to suspect his motives in all this.”

“Jenny Lewis?” Fredericks said.

“PR,” Stephen said. “She’s good at her job. You’d all like her; she spins secrets with the best of them.”

Billy’s smile was rueful. “Careful there,” he said. “Wouldn’t want to be the pot calling the kettle black, eh?”

Stephen slunk lower.

“Anyone else from the higher levels of note,” Fredericks said. “Oliver Leek, Lorraine Wicks, special ops…”

Stephen shook his head. “I have a working relationship with all of them but nothing much beyond that,” he said. “To be honest, I’ve never found it relevant to pay attention to that part of the project. I’m much more concerned with keeping people safe.”

Fredericks seemed to accept that, flipping through the pages.

Billy didn’t take his eyes off Stephen. The intensity of the gaze unnerved him, especially since Billy seemed entirely comfortable in a situation that would have most normal people on edge.

“You’re more a man of action,” Billy observed. “You must stick out like a sore thumb at a top secret government facility.”

It was true. And yet, not entirely the point. “Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time,” Stephen said. He shrugged. “Walking away from it now wouldn’t be much help to anyone.”

“Aye,” Billy acknowledged. “And once you’ve gained the insight, it can never be left alone. The weight of secrets upon man’s soul is an irreversible burden.”

“Your team, then,” Fredericks said, laying out a new piece of paper. “Tell us about them.”

Stephen looked at the picture Fredericks had produced. It was one he’d never seen before, an awkward ensemble in front of the Hilux. “That’s Connor,” Stephen said, pointing at the slight, dark-haired man. “He was Cutter’s student. Geeky and awkward but brilliant in his own right. Not that I’d ever tell him that because it’d go entirely to his head and he’d get himself in trouble with the notion.”

“But you’re friends?” Fredericks asked.

Stephen shrugged. “Yeah,” he said. Then he hesitated. “Or we were.”

Before Helen had revealed Stephen’s past, anyway. Before he’d become the expendable one.

“He still looks up to you, I’m sure,” Billy said.

Stephen frowned and looked back at the picture. He pointed to another figure. “Abby Maitland, a zoologist,” he said. “She’s excellent with the creatures but her specialty is lizards.” He thought about the way her face lit up when she saw something new, the way they hadn’t even talked since Helen came back. Swallowing painfully, he added, “We were used to be friends, too.”

They could have been more, Stephen knew. She’d liked him, though being tall and good with a gun probably had more to do with that than anything. He’d entertained the notion once, but Abby wasn’t the right one for him any more than Allison was. Sometimes he could pretend otherwise, but he knew the truth.

“She’s not your type anyway,” Billy said by way of reassurance. When Stephen looked at him, Billy shrugged easily. “You prefer maturity. She’s good for a mate, but she’s like a little sister. Her and Connor both.”

This made Stephen stop, his ruminations turning toward the MI5 agent across from him. “You seem to think you know an awful lot,” he said accusingly.

Billy held up his hands disarmingly. “It’s my job to suss out the truth, even when people don’t want to admit it,” he said. He lifted a finger to his temple and tapped it knowingly. “Spy work is an intellectual craft, which I’m sure you can appreciate.”

Billy said it so easily that it was hard to dispute. Still, he was glad when Fredericks intervened again. “And the last?” he prompted.

Stephen looked back at the page and his heart stuttered, stomach going cold. “Nick,” he said, voice quiet and wavering. He cleared his throat, forcing himself to keep it together. “Nick Cutter.”

Billy’s eyebrows went up. “Cutter?” he asked. “As in Mr Helen Cutter?”

Stephen blushed deeply again.

“Oh,” Billy said. Then the realisation deepened. “Oh.”

“When Helen left, he picked up most of her students,” Stephen tried to explain. “I was going to transfer but we got along so well together, I don’t know…”

“And you didn’t tell him?” Billy asked, half amazed.

Stephen’s chest tightened. “There was never a need.”

“Except that he might see you differently if he knew you slept with his wife,” Billy concluded.

“I thought she was dead,” Stephen said. “And it became obvious after I met him that he’d loved her. I didn’t want to tarnish his last image of her.”

Billy’s smile was almost condescending. “We all lie with the best of intentions,” he said. “But most of the time we’re doing it to protect ourselves.”

Stephen felt his anger flaring. He crossed his arms disdainfully. “Doesn’t matter anyway,” he said crossly. “When Helen reappeared, she told everyone.”

“Ah,” Billy said. “So that’s why you’re out of his favour.”

“Cutter said he’s let it go,” Stephen offered.

“But he hasn’t,” Billy concluded.

Stephen sighed, his posture easing in defeat. He had nothing he could hope to prove, not here, not anywhere. The truth was the last hope he had at any redemption. “He knows something about the traitor at the ARC. Something more than he’s telling me. I tried to get him to talk about it, but he won’t.”

“Can’t exactly blame him,” Billy said.

Stephen’s eyes narrowed.

“It is a mess, is all I mean,” Billy continued. “Your affair coming to light and his wife still coming to you…”

Stephen shifted uneasily at the implication. “I’m supposed to be second in command on the team,” he said. “I can’t do my job if he’s not talking to me.”

Billy’s face lit up. “He doesn’t even know she’s coming to you now?”

Stephen sighed, putting his hands on the table. “At first I thought it wasn’t anything,” he said. “Then the more she came to me, the more I wasn’t sure who to trust at all.”

“You don’t trust Nick Cutter then?” Fredericks asked.

The question hit Stephen deep. He shook his head, adamant. “Nick has nothing to do with it,” he said. “He’s a good man. Pure. He’s got a hard head about him and he’s too confident in himself, but he’s doing what he thinks is right even if I don’t agree with his methods.”

The intensity of his proclamation left his heart pounding and his palms sweating.

Billy inclined his head. “You’re here just as much to protect him as you are anything else.”

Stephen tried to relax, but found it hard, especially under Billy’s inscrutable gaze. He let out a breath, then another. “Nick wouldn’t listen to me now anyway,” he said. “And if we can’t work together to figure this out, then I’ll do what I have to on my own. Even if it means trusting you.”

Billy’s mouth twitched in a smile. “True nobility,” he said. Then he rubbed his hands together. “I think I have what I need to make this little operation work.”

Sitting forward, Stephen gaped. “We’ve only been talking for ten minutes.”

Billy looked nonplussed. “Ten very informative minutes,” he said.

“You have to impersonate me,” Stephen reminded him.

“Indeed,” Billy agreed.

“So how can you possibly do that after ten minutes?”

Billy paused, wetting his lips slowly. His smile was careful but certain. “You’re good at what you do but not exactly ambitious. You don’t seek glory or accolades; you do what you do less for the value of the job than the value of those you work with. Relationships are paramount in your life, even if you’re tentative with all those who call you friend. You want to believe in people but you let yourself be vulnerable with very, very few. Helen Cutter abused that vulnerability; Nick Cutter rejected it. You can’t make a difference with them any more, so you hope that your knowledge will make it for you.”

Stephen stared, throat constricting. He sat back, feeling too tired to argue.

Billy, to his credit, didn’t gloat. “I’m just as good at what I do as you are,” he consoled. “And even if you don’t know me, you can rest assured that I put all I have into the mission. I’ll take care of this for you and when I’m done, things will be much improved. No one will even know what happened.”

It was meant as comfort, but Stephen’s mind caught on a new salient detail. “I have to know what’s going on,” he said. He glanced from Billy to Fredericks. “I mean, I’m going to know what’s going on, right?”

Billy deferred this one to Fredericks, who straightened a bit. “We will keep you here, at a secure location, both for your protection and the integrity of the mission.”

“Sure,” Stephen said. “But he’ll have a wire or something, won’t he? So I can hear? See?”

Fredericks exchanged a cautious look with Billy, who said nothing. “It isn’t exactly protocol to include civilians in the operational phase of a mission.”

“But it’s my life,” Stephen said, feeling desperate now. It was one thing to turn to MI5. It was another to surrender his entire life – and more, the lives of his friends, of Nick – to them

“I can’t see the harm,” Billy said. “And besides, his insights might be a touch useful in the field. What better way to know what Stephen Hart would do than to hear it whispered in my ear? Better than a conscious and more clear that instinct.”

Fredericks looked wary.

Billy gave him an imploring look. “Unless you think my prowess is really so refined that I need no extra support in the field,” he said.

At that Fredericks, sighed. “I’ll see what I can do,” he muttered. Then he pushed his chair back noisily. “Both of you are to stay here while I get the proper paperwork to kick this thing off.”

Billy grinned as he moved to the door. He winked at Stephen, rocking back in his chair with a gleeful glint in his eye.

Fredericks paused at the door. “And don’t do anything stupid while I’m gone,” he said. He looked from Billy to Stephen. “Either of you.”

Stephen was still too stunned to know what to say. Billy nodded his head, saluting. “Aye, aye,” he said.

Fredericks rolled his eyes. Watching Billy, thinking about trusting this careless man with his life, Stephen was pretty sure he knew how the other man felt.

Of course, in Stephen’s case, there really wasn’t much to lose.

NEXT

Comments

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: June 7th, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
James and Cat


The cargo pants! Hee and meep for Billy's assessments of Stephen (both spoken and unspoken). Sporfling re Billy getting visual proof of his own handsomness, especially the eyelashes. Poor Stephen, having to give up so much control to try to keep the team safe. Billy going undercover - that will explain a lot!!

**when the situation got personal, Stephen Hart was a hot mess**

Emphatic nodding

**In short, Helen was the worst first love ever**

AbsoBLOODYlutely!!!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
stephen and cutter

The cargo pants will forever live in infamy. Because they're orange cargo pants!

And being able to write about Stephen's prettiness in that manner was more fun than it should have been :)

Thanks for your continued enthusiasm! It means a lot!

Posted by: freddiejoey (freddiejoey)
Posted at: June 7th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
pic#117539045

This is just the most gorgeous crossover!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
stephen shocked

Aw, thanks!

Posted by: lukadreaming (lukadreaming)
Posted at: June 7th, 2012 01:09 pm (UTC)
Billy

This is just such a brilliant idea! You have Billy and Stephen so much in character ...

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 11:57 am (UTC)
billy thinks

Thank you! I'm glad they seem to be in character. And I still very much appreciate your beta'ing!

Posted by: fredbassett (fredbassett)
Posted at: June 7th, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC)

Seeing Stephen through Billy's eyes is great!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
stephen hair

The description of Stephen from Billy's POV was a blast to write :)

Thanks!

Posted by: scwlc_fic (scwlc_fic)
Posted at: June 7th, 2012 03:59 pm (UTC)

I do like Stephen's sense of fatalism here. There's something really fascinating about all that. Although . . . please tell me you're going to have MI5 have misunderstood just how good at his job Stephen really *is*. Just because I want to watch him eyeroll a bit at them while they panic. What's good for the goose being good for the gander and all.

Okay, I have a fetish for the all-knowing to get kicked in the teeth sometimes.

Great update.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
stephen hair

Hah, yeah MI5 will get taken down a notch or two by the end of the fix. Because as much as they know, apparently no one can predict the insanity of Helen Cutter.

Thanks!

Posted by: reggietate (reggietate)
Posted at: June 7th, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
stephen-neckporn

Billy undercover as Stephen? This is either going to be a massive success, or a total trainwreck. Possibly both :-D Boy, am I looking forward to seeing how he tries to handle Nick!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 12:01 pm (UTC)
stephen skeptical

It's definitely going to have its ups and downs :)

Thanks!

Posted by: knitekat (knitekat)
Posted at: June 7th, 2012 09:10 pm (UTC)

Ooh, great setup for Billy going undercover. Can't wait to see where this end up. *pokes for more*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 12:02 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

I'm glad you liked it! And more will be up tomorrow.

Thanks :)

Posted by: flaccidduck (flaccidduck)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 03:51 am (UTC)
pic#117536825

Lovely intriguing developments. Loving every bit.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
stephen's eyes

I'm glad it's holding your interest :)

Thanks!

Posted by: natchris (natchris)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 04:38 am (UTC)
pic#117351741

What can I say except that I am enjoying this so much!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
stephen angsty

I'm glad it's been entertaining so far!

Thanks!

Posted by: joshinator (joshinator)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 11:09 am (UTC)
pic#117536650

This has to be one of the coolest, most pretty crossovers ever!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 10th, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
stephen up

Aw, thank you!

Posted by: Cordelia Delayne (cordeliadelayne)
Posted at: June 11th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
[primeval] wrappedup!claudia

This is great! I'm really enjoying poor Stephen's emotional rollercoaster and Billy's enthusiasm.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 13th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
stephen hair

Stephen's angst is such a great contrast to Billy's exuberance.

Thanks!

Posted by: lsellersfic (lsellersfic)
Posted at: June 13th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Primeval:Stephen

I'm loving Billy (I know he's not an OC but he's reading like an OC to me, if you see what I mean). His personality is really coming across and he seems to be coming into his own!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 20th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
billy earnest

I'm really glad Billy has come to life for you -- he's a really great character. I can only hope to do him justice :)

Thanks!

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