?

Log in

No account? Create an account
do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Primeval fic: The Art of Being Fine (Second Life verse)

August 15th, 2012 (10:35 pm)
quixotic

feeling: quixotic

Title: The Art of Being Fine

Disclaimer: I do not own Primeval. lena7142 created Feral Stephen.

A/N: Another fic in the Continued Adventures of Feral Stephen. Beta provided by lena7142. Remaining mistakes are my own.

Summary: Stephen gets sick. Not that he wants to admit that.


-o-

Stephen sneezed.

“You’re sick,” Cutter observed.

Stephen wiped his nose with a scowl. “I’m fine,” he muttered. Then, he promptly sneezed again.

Cutter raised his eyebrows.

Stephen growled, and Cutter wisely held his tongue.

-o-

Stephen coughed.

The first time, it was a small thing.

By the fifth time, it was a deep, hacking sound, rattling and wet.

When Cutter lost track of the number, Stephen was curled over with it, working desperately to bring up the sputum in his lungs with questionable success.

“You sure you feel alright?” Cutter asked, one eyebrow raised.

Stephen glared, slinking off without another word.

-o-

Stephen shivered.

It was almost unnoticeable at first, but as Cutter came up behind Stephen to check out his latest research, he brushed against him accidentally. It was a brief touch -- and really, he expected Stephen to stiffen -- but instead he could feel the fine tremors in Stephen’s body. Surprised, he reached out, and it was a testament to how poorly Stephen felt that he didn’t flinch away.

Instead, he let Cutter turn him and press a hand to his forehead.

Cutter pulled in a gasp and replaced it with a disapproving look. “You’ve got a fever.”

Stephen blinked at him tiredly. “I’ve been in the past for almost ten years,” he said. “I don’t have any exposure to the common illnesses here.”

Cutter tsked his tongue. “You need to go home.”

At that, Stephen hissed, yanking himself away with force. “I’m fine,” he said, insistent now. “There’s no time to be sick.”

Cutter usually trusted Stephen’s self-assessment, but he was a proud and stubborn man. Sometimes to a fault.

In that, some things never changed.

-o-

Stephen collapsed.

Cutter had come up to share the latest results. Stephen had been at the counter, getting himself a cup of coffee, if the cup in his hand was any indication. Cutter started off, asking if Stephen had run the second batch of tests yet, but Stephen didn’t reply. He didn’t even move. True, Stephen was a bit asocial at times, but to flat out ignore a question with a simple, concrete answer wasn’t like him. It wasn’t like him at all.

Concerned, Cutter had reached out to touch him--

And Stephen went down.

His eyes rolled back and his limbs went loose. The cup in his hand fell, splashing hot liquid on the floor as Cutter scrambled to brace the other man’s graceless fall. As it was, they both ended up on the floor, Stephen sprawled half on top of Cutter, while the Scottish man gaped helplessly.

Stephen’s entire body was hot, ravaged by fever. His cheeks were red, brow soaked with sweat. Cutter adjusted his grip, moving slightly so he could cradle Stephen better, and the small movement jostled Stephen enough so his eyes opened.

The blue eyes were too bright, glassy with illness, but they still settled on Cutter’s with a trace of awareness.

“See,” Cutter said, nodding as a matter of fact. “You’re sick.”

“You may be right,” Stephen murmured, his body relaxing as he slipped toward unconsciousness. “For once.”

-o-

Stephen slept.

It was a restless sleep, monitored by the doctors at the ARC. He’d been taken by stretcher, and when the doctors had examined him, they’d found Stephen to be dehydrated and fighting a high fever.

“A flu bug, most likely,” one explained. “Without any exposure for the last decade, his immune system is somewhat compromised.”

Cutter listened, but only just. He kept his eyes on Stephen, who was stretched out on a bed now, an IV inserted in a vein at his wrist.

It was going to be fine, he told himself. Because he didn’t know what else to think.

-o-

Stephen dreamed.

They were restless nightmares, and Stephen moaned on his bed. Cutter remembered the last time he did this, the last vigil he’d held when Stephen had been injured in the Permian. He remembered the delusions, the screams, the wary conversations about clones and regrets and what might have been.

What should have been.

Cutter wasn’t so foolish as to think those problems had been left in the past, but he had to believe that things were better now. They were different.

Stephen was home, with people who cared about him. It wasn’t the life he remembered, but it was one that still offered him more than he’d had before.

And if this Stephen wasn’t the one Cutter remembered, it was still one that offered him a second chance -- and more.

So they could handle the dreams. They’d endure the nightmares. And they’d still come out together.

-o-

Stephen got worse.

It had only been a day, but the doctors were already fretting, upping Stephen’s medication in a desperate ploy to improve his odds. But Stephen struggled, his breathing turning raspy as his face stayed lax and the fever picked up.

It was bad, and Cutter knew it. Stephen had survived predators and anomalies, Helen and his own mistakes. And now, it was nothing but sheer dumb luck.

And there was no anomaly to save them. No change in the timeline to set things right. It was just persistence and unwavering belief.

Hope.

A foreign concept, indeed.

-o-

Stephen fought.

This was what Stephen always did. He gave everything he had, and held nothing back. Stephen’s body rallied, breath by breath, against the illness that had taken hold. The doctors talked about extraordinary measures. They talked about worst case scenarios.

Cutter didn’t listen anymore.

He knew that there weren’t always happy endings. He knew that Stephen didn’t always have the best of luck. But Stephen was still there -- and Cutter wasn’t going to leave until this was over.

One way or another.

-o-

Stephen was dying.

After a few days of fighting the fever, his breathing faltered, and they put him on a ventilator. His fever climbed and they said he was in a coma. A week into the illness, his heart stopped because the toll was just too much.

Cutter watched, ignoring the tube as it snaked down his throat. Cutter stayed close, absorbing any heat he could. And Cutter didn’t breath, his heart stilling with Stephen’s, stuttering once and twice -- before paddles worked and Stephen came back to him again.

He’d lived without Stephen once.

He didn’t think he could do it again.

-o-

Stephen had nothing left.

No matter what his skills or his traits, he was just a man. Mortal and breakable. Weak and fallible.

Cutter held his hand, closed his fingers around it, and said, “I don’t know if I can watch you die again.”

Stephen’s heart beat.

“I don’t want to, anyway,” he admitted.

And Stephen’s heart kept beating.

-o-

Stephen got better.

They removed the tube. They said he was stable. The flush in his cheeks abated, and the doctors called it a marvel of modern medicine.

Cutter smirked, because he knew better. It had nothing to do with medicine, modern or otherwise.

It had everything to do with Stephen.

-o-

Stephen opened his eyes.

He was weak and his voice was strained. It took effort for him to swallow, and his breathing was still compromised.

Still, when Cutter leaned close, he tried to speak.

“Hush,” Cutter said. “You’ve been out of it for awhile.”

There was a question, an uncertainty in Stephen’s eyes.

“I told you you were sick,” Cutter said coyly.

Stephen’s brow furrowed and he moistened his lips with obvious effort. “I’m fine,” he croaked.

And Cutter laughed. Stephen still looked more dead than alive, still looked like a ghost of himself, but somehow, that didn’t matter.

Grinning, Cutter leaned close, hand on Stephen’s pillow, almost touching, but not quite. “Yeah,” he agreed. “I suppose you are.”

Comments

Posted by: goldarrow (goldarrow)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 04:00 am (UTC)

Okay, that was terrific.

I love the way you set up each section with "Stephen xxx"; it was absolutely perfect, pulling me along.

And you scared me! *g*

Good take on how the illness would hit Stephen hard since he had no immunity.

*sighs happily*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
stephen smiles

I wouldn't ACTUALLY kill feral Stephen. I love him far too much.

And I'm glad you liked the structure! I wrote this on a whim one night, so I'm relieved it turned out!

Thanks :)

Posted by: freddiejoey (freddiejoey)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 06:29 am (UTC)
Nick eriah

This is a lovely and really well structured fic. That note of hope at the end is beautiful too

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 11:59 am (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

I have an affinity for strong structures, so I'm glad this read okay.

Thanks!

Posted by: lukadreaming (lukadreaming)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 06:39 am (UTC)
Stephen bruise

The structure of this works very well - it builds up the intensity. And there's hope at the end!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 11:59 am (UTC)
stephen smiles

I'm glad the structure works! I fretted a bit over it.

Thanks :)

Posted by: joshinator (joshinator)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC)
Stephen

"And Cutter laughed. Stephen still looked more dead than alive, still looked like a ghost of himself, but somehow, that didn’t matter.

Grinning, Cutter leaned close, hand on Stephen’s pillow, almost touching, but not quite. “Yeah,” he agreed. “I suppose you are.”

Awesome!

Edited at 2012-08-16 06:51 am (UTC)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 11:59 am (UTC)
stephen hair

:)

Thank you!

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 08:49 am (UTC)
Hottie Nick/Stephen


**So they could handle the dreams. They’d endure the nightmares. And they’d still come out together.**

YES! Poor Nick went through the wringer too... Great twist about the lack of immunity, and this Stephen being even more stubborn than Nick.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
stephen's eyes

I imagine this Stephen is probably more stubborn than any of them. Surviving that many years on his own, I think it's inevitable.

And his lack of immunity was too easy of a plot point not to take advantage of, given my penchant for h/c. Getting sick is just one of many things poor feral Stephen must endure.

Thanks :)

Posted by: reggietate (reggietate)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
scampiscorpions

That was splendidly done. I really enjoy this 'verse :-)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 12:01 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter

Lena did a great job coming up with such a vibrant character. I'm just glad she lets me play with him.

Thanks!

Posted by: clea2011 (clea2011)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
Stephen

Great addition to the series. I liked the structure of this one very much. And having been away for so long it's logical that he'd be vulnerable to any nasty viruses going.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
stephen hair

I'm so prone to writing h/c that such a scenario was too good not to write.

Thanks!

Posted by: knitekat (knitekat)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)

Lovely, after the eek moment.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter

LOL, at least it had a happy ending :)

Thanks!

Posted by: flaccidduck (flaccidduck)
Posted at: August 16th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
Nick and Stephen

What a terrific read for the morning. Thank you

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Thanks!

Posted by: judithjohn (judithjohn)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC)
1970s slash

"Stephen got better.

They removed the tube. They said he was stable. The flush in his cheeks abated, and the doctors called it a marvel of modern medicine.

Cutter smirked, because he knew better. It had nothing to do with medicine, modern or otherwise.

It had everything to do with Stephen."

Lovely!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
stephen smiles

Thank you!

Posted by: natchris (natchris)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
Ryan/Nick

Love the way you have divided this into paragraphs and the note of tenderness throughout.

*smiles and crosses fingers*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
stephen happy

I'm glad the structure was effective. Thank you!

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: August 20th, 2012 12:21 pm (UTC)
Hurt/comfort

Phew! He's fine now.

Very clever fic. Love the first lines of every paragraph.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 29th, 2012 03:30 am (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

Sometimes I get obsessed with form in fics. This was a classic example :)

Thanks!

Posted by: lsellersfic (lsellersfic)
Posted at: September 4th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
Primeval:Stephen

I do so love the prose you write. Sometimes it is simply gorgeous, like here!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 14th, 2012 03:35 am (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

Aw, thank you! I feel like I'm spewing nonsense most of the time, so that means a lot.

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: November 17th, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
PE: Danny Quinn

eep, I was scared we were gonna lose another Stephen!! This is great!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: November 20th, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

I couldn't be that cruel as to kill Stephen after everything they've suffered already. Thanks :)

28 Read Comments