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Primeval fic: The Life You Save (May Be Your Own) 2/6

April 24th, 2013 (09:26 pm)
hungry

feeling: hungry

PART ONE
PART TWO
PART THREE
PART FOUR
PART FIVE
EPILOGUE



PART TWO



Leek didn’t lift his head. He kept his gaze ahead, eyes fixed at the floor unblinkingly. He ignored Lorraine, even when she asked if he was okay. He moved ahead, almost on autopilot, taking the corners quickly as he charged on.

Back in his office, he sat down at his desk. He looked again at the neat stacks, looked at all the work he’d done that morning. All the hours, all the meticulous effort. He’d given everything to this job. Everything.

He’d taken criticism and he’d taken degradation. He’d accepted the lack of respect and the constant struggle to just be recognized. He’d skipped lunches and worked overtime; he’d done the paperwork when no one else would. He’d been Lester’s right hand man through it all. He’d handled the man’s scorn, kept his standing with the Home Office. He’d picked up Lester’s dry cleaning.

And for what?

To be dismissed at every turn? To be belittled and rejected and totally humiliated? Leek was right; Leek had done everything right.

And for what?

Everything -- for nothing.

It was poor leadership, that was what it was. It was poor leadership and a lack of direction and sloppy management. Lester was letting things get out of control; he was risking lives and safety and national security. It was only a matter of time before the slipshod policies led to actual disaster, and Leek would have every right to say I told you so, but knowing Lester, the man would fire him for it all.

Everything for nothing.

It was just like Helen had said.

Leek’s mind stopped, looking over the files again.

It was just like Helen had said.

She had a plan; she had purpose. She wanted to get things done -- not just tread water.

All she needed was some information.

A little information.

Face set, Leek opened the top file. He fiddled with the page, hesitating just for a moment. He glanced at the windows in his office, noting that Lester had pulled the blinds on his side. Leek was alone.

No one could see him. No one would bother to look.

Mind made up, he pulled out his phone and took a picture.

His heart was racing, and his cheeks burned. But nothing happened. Security wasn’t alerted; Lester didn’t storm in. Nothing happened.

Everything for nothing.

Leek picked up the next page and took another picture.

-o-

For a week, he carried the photos on his phone. He locked them, put in a passcode and still found himself checking them in every spare moment.

It seemed too simple. Helen had only asked for information. A few wayward files wouldn’t make or break the nation. And if Helen were right about any of this, it would be such a small price to pay. Hardly anything at all. No one even read those reports except Leek.

It wasn’t a big deal.

It wasn’t.

-o-

The second week, Leek was anxious. Helen hadn’t come back; the pictures were still there.

He had to think that maybe this was a bad idea after all. He didn’t really know Helen after all. And the people here could be difficult, but they weren’t so bad. This was all an over-reaction.

He had a place at the ARC; he was a part of it.

That mattered.

Until it didn’t.

-o-

Leek didn’t make a point of going into the field, but his position did sometimes necessitate his presence. This was one reason he was so adamant that they still needed a PR member on staff. Leek was more of a behind the scenes liaison, which he very much preferred.

Not that it always worked out that way.

He got the call in the middle of the night. The ringing mobile pulled him out of his sleep, and he groped hazily for it before putting to his ear and mumbling, “Hello?”

“Leek?”

Leek’s eyes snapped open. “Sir?”

“What on earth are you doing?” Lester’s voice came over the line.

Leek squinted toward the clock. 2:33. “Sleeping, mostly,” he said.

“Well there’s no time for that now,” Lester said curtly. “Every alarm is going off back at the ARC; apparently we’ve got a sizeable incursion in the north part of the city. Cutter and his team are en route, but we need someone on scene--”

Leek shook his head. “Isn’t there someone else?”

“Everyone else seems to be unavailable,” Lester said hotly. “Anyway, it’s not like you have anything better to do.”

“Well, actually--”

“Just go,” Lester ordered. “The tech center is texting you coordinates.”

Leek sat up, swinging his legs off the bed. “Do we know what’s come through?”

“That’s the whole point of sending a team,” Lester replied tersely. “Now go on, and don’t make a mess of things.”

With that, Lester hung up.

Leek sighed, dropping his hand. “I’m the only one who doesn’t make a mess,” he muttered.

The mobile buzzed again, and Leek accepted the text, noting the coordinates. It wasn’t his favorite thing, to be woken up and insulted in the middle of the night. But this did confirm it, though. He was needed. He did have a place.

And he couldn’t bugger that up now.

-o-

When he got to the location, the team was still setting up. Connor looked like he’d already had a few too many energy drinks, but Abby at least looked appropriately sleepy. Hart was at the trunk of his car, sorting his guns with Cutter when Leek came up.

“Do you know what it is we’re dealing with?” Leek asked.

Hart glanced at him, but Cutter made a face. “You’re all we get?” Cutter asked.

“Apparently,” Leek replied. “Lester put me on this one.”

Cutter grunted, reaching over Stephen to grab a gun of his choosing.

“So, do we know what it is?” Leek pressed again when Cutter seemed intent on ignoring him.

Hart picked up a rifle, slinging it over his shoulder. “Signs in the foliage suggest something smaller -- but fast.”

Connor bopped closer. “Maybe a deinonychus,” he said. “Did you know that their name means terrible claw? How cool is that?”

Hart closed the trunk, shaking his head.

Cutter nodded toward Abby, who picked herself up off the seat of the car where she was still sleepily perched.

Leek waited another moment. “Well, the conjecture is fascinating, but--”

“But we have work to do,” Cutter replied shortly.

“Certainly,” Leek said. “Have you heard from Special Forces? We should really have a perimeter--”

Cutter rolled his eyes. “That’s your job, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Well, I was thinking as a matter of practicality perhaps we should be methodical--”

“We already got a report from a passing car about unexpected lights and some aggressive movement in the brush,” Cutter said. “We can’t afford to delay while something may be out there. Every moment we wait, it may be trying to get away.”

“Especially if it is a deinonychus,” Connor said, most unhelpfully. “Think of the damage--”

Leek sighed, interjecting more forcefully. “Really, Cutter, I don’t intend to interfere--”

“Then don’t,” Cutter snapped, moving off toward the tree line.

Leek was about to call after him -- to attempt reason with him, despite all evidence that such tactics would be utterly pointless -- but then, the trees rustled. There was a flash of movement and the sound of twigs breaking before Leek looked up to see the creature leap through the air--

Right at him.

-o-

When Leek discovered what the ARC really did, he’d taken it upon himself to learn everything he could about their line of work. He’d spent weeks doing online research, studying up on the historical time periods and learning about as many different creatures as he could. He’d developed a keen knowledge of the species, and had taken some pride in having a working knowledge of the creatures the team encountered. He even found that he liked to visit the animals taken into custody, seeing how well the pictures captured the likeness.

It was fascinating.

This was not fascinating.

Unarmed and in an uncontrolled setting, Leek was no longer fascinated. He didn’t care if it was Connor’s bloody deinonychus or an utahraptor or anything else. As it bored down on him, crashing into him at full speed, Leek was just scared.

In the dark, he rolled, losing his sense of direction. He ended up on his back, his head clearing in time to see the yellow eyes gleaming in the dark as the creature bared its fangs a short distance away.

This was not fascinating.

This was terrifying.

The animal screeched; in the distance, Leek could hear yelling, but he found himself unable to move. He was a pencil pusher, and yet here he was, lying on his back, ready to be devoured, depending on people who barely tolerated him to save his life.

Leek wasn’t ready to die, but then, Leek never did have much say in things.

The creature twittered -- someone was screaming now -- but Leek could only lay there, still and ready. He’d done everything he could. He’d done everything.

For nothing.

The creature’s body unfurled, its claws glinting in the moonlight as it came at Leek with a horrifying velocity he would have no hope to outrun.

Pain blossomed across his chest, and his shoulder blades were pushed back to the ground. He kicked feebly, but it did nothing and Leek could feel the creature’s hot breath against his skin in the chilled night air. He’d never wanted this. He’d never asked for this. He’d done his job; he’d played a proverbial good soldier in the bureaucracy. He was no martyr; this wasn’t a job he wanted to die for--

And then, it stopped.

There was an echo of a gunshot, and the creature howled. Another report and the creature’s head exploded, the body falling limply next to Leek, twitching a few times before going very still.

Shocked, Leek could only stare, seeing the massive claws gleam with blood.

Then above him, haloed in the moonlight, Hart was there. He had his gun trained on the creature, kicking it once with his foot before looking down at Leek.

“You all right?”

It was a ridiculous question. Leek had just been attacked, almost eviscerated. He’d seen he’s pathetic, meagre life at its very end.

“Leek,” Stephen pressed, kneeling now. “Talk to me.”

Shocked, Leek glanced down. His shirt was shredded, the dark red blood welling up even as his chest hitched. It hurt, but--

He laughed.

Hart looked concerned. “Cutter,” he said, looking off. “Maybe call an ambulance--”

“I’m okay,” Leek realized, reaching a hand up to touch his ruined shirt. “I’m okay.

Hart winced, offering him a hand as Leek sat up. The movement hurt, but the pain was manageable. “You might need stitches,” Hart said, ducking his head and squinting as someone positioned a torch to illuminate the scene.

Leek chuckled again, feeling shaky. “I reckon that’s not as bad as it could be.”

Stephen looked at the creature again. He didn’t disagree.

Leek laughed again, almost feeling hysterical. The rush of adrenaline was leaving him lightheaded. “Next time we wait for the Special Forces,” he said.

Hart’s expression was grim. “Just stay there,” he said. “I’m going to go see about that ambulance.”

As Hart got up, Leek didn’t disagree. Sitting there, chest cut open, next to a predator that nearly killed him, Leek could only laugh again.

-o-

Getting to his feet was a precarious thing, but when he wavered, Abby took his arm. “Here,” she said. “Just take it easy.”

Wherever Abby was, Connor was never far behind, and he laughed giddily on Leek’s other side. “Did you see that?” he crowed. “That was positively wicked. You didn’t even scream.

Leek focused on moving his feet; there didn’t seem to be a point in telling Connor that screaming had seemed too futile to even attempt -- or that he’d thought, on some level, that perhaps no one would come.

“And the scars -- you’re going to have the best scars,” Connor continued.

Leek stepped gingerly, Abby’s warm hands still wrapped around his forearm. “Well, I’m just glad I wasn’t wearing a suit,” he murmured absently.

Abby shifted him to the open back of the Hilux so he could sit. “It must have been in hunting mode,” she observed. She hesitated. “You’re lucky to be alive.”

Luck. Leek didn’t know much about luck, at least not of the good variety.

Abby smiled slightly. “I’m sorry it took us so long,” she said. “We hadn’t even prepped--”

“And that thing was scary fast,” Connor added.

Leek swallowed, looking up with a smile of his own. “And did you see the claws?” he asked.

Connor’s face brightened. “If that wasn’t a terrible claw--”

Leek huffed, his chest hitching a little painfully. “Then I don’t know what is.”

-o-

It hurt. The torn skin chafed, and the blood was sticky and unsettling as it soaked down his shirtfront. Abby applied a makeshift bandage, holding it against his chest firmly while he braced himself against the open trunk of the Hilux. The fading adrenaline made the pain more palpable, and after several minutes his head felt a little funny, his ears buzzing just slightly.

And yet, it was sort of nice. Abby was gentle and considerate. Connor stayed close by and joked. Hart seemed intent on scouting the area for other possible creatures – in case their friend the deinonychus wasn’t alone -- and when Cutter approached, he looked Leek in the eyes.

“I’m sorry about that,” Cutter said, just a little sheepish. “Maybe a perimeter would have been a good idea.”

“We never would have had it set up in time,” Leek said.

“Still,” Cutter replied, looking down. He took a breath, meeting Leek’s gaze again. “I’m glad you’re all right.”

Leek shrugged. “I have to say, we agree for once.”

-o-

When the medics arrived, Special Forces were already on scene, fanning out and forming a perimeter. Hart and Cutter were leading a more thorough expedition of the area to make sure that Leek’s friend was acting alone.

The medics cleaned and treated the wound, cutting away Leek’s shirt. Leek grimaced when he saw the slashes in the bright lights -- they were red and raw, tearing fully across his chest in jagged lines.

“It could have been a lot worse,” the medic said encouragingly.

Leek looked away from his torn flesh and back at Abby and Connor and the rest of the team.

His
team.

“Yes,” he murmured. “I rather think it could have been.”

-o-

After a nice shot of something soothing from the medics, Leek was more than content to do whatever was demanded of him. Even the doctor who meticulously cleaned out his wound at the hospital seemed pleasant enough, and Abby and Connor even met him there to make sure he got along alright.

When he was ready to go, his mobile chirped. In everything, he’d almost forgotten.

Dragging it out of his pocket, he didn’t forget now. The mobile still had the pictures -- Helen’s so-called easy task.

Leek’s stomach churned for the first time since this whole night started. It was a text from Lester: See me ASAP.

Nearby, Abby looked pensive. “Something important?”

“Oh, just Lester,” Leek said, adjusting his borrowed scrub top. He smiled. “I imagine he wants an update on the situation.”

“Well, you would think he could leave the injured alone,” Connor said. “Though truth be told, you do have the best story.”

Leek chuckled, slipping the mobile back into his pocket. Those pictures had seemed so important last night. Now, they didn’t seem important at all. When he got home -- after he’d slept and showered and recovered -- he’d delete them all.

“We can fill him in for you,” Abby offered.

“No,” Leek said. “Lester does hate to be kept waiting.”

“That never stops us,” Connor said.

Leek shrugged. “I think I’d rather just get it over with,” he said. “If you could spare me a lift, though?”

“Yeah, of course,” Abby said.

“Seems like the least we can do,” Connor said.

Leek smiled. “It’s more than you know.”

-o-

When they got to the ARC, Leek was half asleep. Still, he decided it was a pleasant sort of buzz as he floated through security. He stopped at his office, signing a few papers and putting them in the out pile, before locking up and heading over to Lester.

Lorraine waved him in quite seriously, and Leek merely nodded his thanks. He’d settled in the chair, feeling his weary muscles start to relax when Lester looked up at him.

“Would you like to tell me what the hell happened?” he demanded.

“Seems that the creature came looking for us before we could go looking for him,” Leek mused lightly. “Not our most graceful mission, but last I heard they had it under control--”

“Yes, Cutter and Hart seem to have coordinated Special Forces to monitor the area until the anomaly closes again,” Lester said.

“Good,” Leek said. “Fortunately I don’t think anyone else saw the creature--”

“No, just you,” Lester said sharply.

The cutting edge in his voice was unexpected. Tilting his head, Leek had to work to focus his eyes, and when he did he quickly realized that Lester was upset.

More than that, he was angry.

“I’m not sure I understand the problem,” Leek offered.

Lester scoffed. “The problem? That I sent my so-called right hand man down to take care of a situation and instead he gets himself mauled? I’ve told you that we have experts for a reason; you’re there to organize and facilitate--”

Leek’s mouth opened. “We had just started formulating a plan--”

“Which involved frolicking about with dangerous predators nearby?” Lester asked.

“We had literally just started--”

“That’s an excuse,” Lester snapped. “I have enough to deal with trying to keep Cutter and his team alive -- I do not need you throwing yourself haphazardly into the mix.”

“You told me to go down there!” Leek protested.

“To make things better,” Lester said. “I trust you to minimize the stress in my job, but now I’ve got to explain to the Home Office why a damn pencil pusher will be need medical payouts over a mission that hasn’t even been properly documented.”

“I’ll get the documentation,” Leek began.

Lester shook his head. “No, you’ve done enough,” he said sullenly.

“It won’t take much time--”

“I said no,” Lester said again. He pursed his lips, taking a deep breath. “You should go home and rest.”

Leek swallowed.

Lester shook his head, going back to his paperwork. “And maybe when you finally come back I won’t feel so inclined to sack you for being stupid.”

Leek waited for more; there had to be more. There had to be something of gratitude and sympathy. Even a touch of concern. Leek had almost died for this job; Leek had almost died for Lester’s orders.

But Lester didn’t look up.

Numb, Leek stood on shaky feet and walked out.

-o-

Leek didn’t stop at his office. He didn’t go over his paperwork one last time. He didn’t check in with Lorraine to make sure everything was in order.

Instead, he made sure he had his mobile, called a cab and went home.

This time, he was the one who didn’t look back.

-o-

Climbing the stairs to his flat, Leek felt so tired that he thought he might not make it. It was nearly midday now, and the pain in his chest was starting to flare. Each pull of tender skin made him remember. Not just that he’d risked his life for the job, but that there was no gain for it. He’d done his job, gone above and beyond the line of duty -- all willingly. So willingly.

And all he’d got for his troubles was a ruined shirt and a reprimand.

This was a problem of leadership; this was a lack of direction. The ARC was a reckless organization that had no checks and balances. They fought the impossible with the mere hope that everything might turn out okay.

When it didn’t, they found a scapegoat and cut their losses. Leek had seen this from the beginning, but he was living it now.

He felt it with the damage to his chest and the burn of humiliation in his cheeks. He’d been so loyal, and he prided himself on that -- but the ARC didn’t deserve his loyalty. Lester didn’t deserve his loyalty.

The keys were heavy in his hand as he unlocked the door, and he staggered across the threshold, half-collapsing into the nearest chair. As he sunk into it, he felt the tension drain from his body and he reckoned he would be asleep within minutes.

Except for the voice: “Hello, Oliver.”

Normally, Leek might have been surprised. He was too tired to muster up anything resembling that today. Instead, he sighed. “Helen,” he said, tipping his head back warily and looking at her through half-mast eyes. “Nice to see you’ve made yourself at home.”

She was curled up on the couch, sipping a cup of tea. Her boots were off and she appeared to be reading a magazine. “You do have such a lovely home,” she said. “Though it seems maybe my visit is poorly timed?”

Leek huffed a small laugh. “No,” he said, because he knew what he wanted to do now. He reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out his mobile, tossing it at her. “I think you visit is perfectly timed.”

-o-

Helen didn’t stay long, which was probably for the best. She looked at the pictures -- quite pleased -- before leaving Leek to sleep. He managed to go to the bathroom before settling under the sheets. There, he slept soundly for the rest of the day and throughout the night.

When morning came, he felt better than ever. His chest was sore -- but healing -- and as he traced over the raw wounds he knew they would remind him of the choice he’d made yesterday.

No regrets.

He smirked as he got dressed.

No looking back.

-o-

The following month, Leek developed a new sort of routine. He still did his job, of course, just as diligent as ever. If anything, he was more punctual, more meticulous. He cross-referenced everything, spending every spare moment of his day poring over documents in the ARC. He studied research and procedure, learning more about every aspect of the program.

Lester thought it was Leek finally starting to earn his keep. Leek didn’t care; Lester could think whatever he wanted. Because Leek took pictures of every file with his mobile, uploading them to a new storage device he’d purchased. Helen started visiting weekly, downloading the files to her own device, thanking him each time.

“This is more than I could have hoped,” Helen told him. “You’re doing me a great service.”

“I’m doing the country a great service,” Leek replied. “The ARC nearly got me killed with no remorse. I have a duty to make it better.”

Helen smiled, squeezing his arm. “And you’re fulfilling it,” she assured him. Her eyes glinted. “And something tells me that you’ll teach them a thing or two about remorse as well.”

“It’s not about that,” Leek replied quickly. “Most of them aren’t bad people.”

“Of course not,” Helen said. “And those are the ones who will understand in the end.”

Leek knew she was right. Because he’d been skeptical at first, too. But now he understood.

He truly understood.

-o-

The funny thing was, no one noticed. Lester made a few offhanded comments about his productivity, but he was mostly his same, withering self. The team smiled a bit more than they used to, and Abby asked if he was healing all right a time or two, but he still wasn’t a part of them. He showed up on calls and no one knew how to make chitchat with him. They nodded at each other in the halls, but no one stopped by his office just to catch up.

Nothing changed.

Except Leek.

If no one noticed, then Leek mostly reckoned that was their own fault.

-o-

After another month, Helen looked over his latest pictures, face composed.

“You’re not happy,” he said. During their time together, he’d come to know her. She had her moods, of course, and he was starting to note the times when her facade seemed more forced than normal. She was secretive by nature, and measured in her enthusiasm and withdrawal in equal turns.

But when she smiled -- when her hand touched his forearm -- it made him want to do so much more, just to experience it again.

Unfortunately, such a response seemed increasingly difficult to elicit.

“This is good, of course,” she said, sitting back. She sighed, putting his mobile down on the coffee table between them. “It’s just...”

“Just what?” Leek pressed. These visits from Helen were the highlight of his life now. His light in proverbial darkness. She was the only one who knew him. The only one who cared.

The only one.

“Well, it’s just the more I see, the more I realize that we’re closer to this than I thought.”

“Closer?” Leek asked.

“To the point of no return, I’m afraid,” Helen clarified. She flattened her lips, tapping her fingers on the table. “We have to take it up a notch.”

Blinking, Leek waited for her to explain. “What do you mean?”

Helen took a breath, then looked at him critically. “We need more specific technical data,” she said.

“I’ve taken pictures of everything--”

“I’m talking about the wiring of the anomaly detector, the scientific data that drives the activator,” she said. “I need Connor Temple’s prototype designs, complete with Nick’s notes.”

“Well, a lot of that is beyond my purview,” Leek explained. “I’d raise some eyebrows if I pulled some of those files.”

Helen’s gaze didn’t waver. “This is important, Oliver.”

Leek furrowed his brow. “But why--?”

She shook her head. “I can’t explain it all now,” she said. “But things are about to change – a lot. I need to know every aspect of the ARC. From its procedures to its exact technology.”

“But--”

“Can you do that for me, Oliver?” she interjected forcefully, her gaze so intense that he nearly flinched. “For the fate of the universe, can you do that for me?”

For a moment, he felt uncertain. Over the last few months, he hadn’t been prone to doubt. If anything, he’d enjoyed his newfound purpose and all it entailed. And he so looked forward to seeing Helen.

Yet...Helen had her secrets. She had her half-truths. Leek didn’t know what they were, but he was receptive enough to know they existed. Sometimes, the dark look in her eyes made him doubt. Sometimes, when he invited her to go out for a drink and she made up an excuse, he wondered.

Sometimes he wasn’t completely sure -- even if he wanted to be.

“Oliver,” she said, her voice dropping and her expression softening. “Please. I need you to trust me. No matter what happens, you know I will always have your back.”

Leek found himself smiling. “Of course,” he said. “Just tell me exactly what you need.”

-o-

At first, Leek was nervous. The more classified the file, the more likely he was to get caught. But after a week of poring over the most protected files the ARC offered, Leek realized no one would catch him.

Because no one was looking. The scientists were studying; the engineers were building. The animal experts were tending; Lester was overseeing it all like an unrestrained symphony that was too cacophonous to stop now. They all went about their jobs assuring themselves of their utmost importance, and trusting someone else to look over the details.

Trusting Leek. That had always been his job. To look at the details that no one else cared about. Lester had essentially trusted him to filter the big picture and make sure all the truly relevant information got to him. They trusted him -- but they never included him.

Their loss.

Leek opened another file and picked up his mobile.

Their loss -- in more ways than one.

-o-

It wasn’t just the past; it was also the future. Helen had told him that, and he’d believed her to a large extent. But now Leek knew it to be irrevocably true.

Still, when Helen Cutter showed up, offering her help to contain a predator from the future, Leek was terrified. But her eyes looked over him as she made her pitch, like he wasn’t even there.

Leek had never been more relieved to be ignored.

Even so, the entire case made Leek anxious. A Future Predator was a daunting foe, and even from his safe position at the ARC, Leek knew the rules had changed. When Helen and Cutter came back through the anomaly in the Forest of Dean, they were short a man, and Helen lingered. For what, he couldn’t say, but Leek began to fear the worst.

What if she outed him? What if she turned on him? What if she used him and left him to fend for himself?

But it was Hart she wanted; Hart she invited with him. Hart who she’d had the affair with all those years ago.

Hart said no, but Cutter was gutted. Hart was mortified.

Standing there, Leek should have been relieved again.

He didn't know why he felt jealous.

-o-

It was another week before she came back.

“I thought you’d gone,” he mused, feeling a little bitter.

She idled next to him. “We have too much going on for that.”

Leek shrugged stiffly. “You sure you don’t want to ask Hart?”

She paused, cocking her head. “You think that’s what I want?”

Leek didn’t respond.

Helen laughed. “Oh, my sweet Oliver,” she said. “Can’t you see a plan when it’s being laid out? This isn’t about Stephen. It’s not even about Nick.”

“Well, you could have fooled me,” Leek muttered indignantly.

“Look at how things are,” Helen pointed out. “Tell me about the team dynamic.”

Chewing his lip, Leek was thoughtful. “Stressful,” he said. “You did expose an affair between two friends. Cutter says everything is fine, but it’s not, and anyone can see it.”

“Exactly,” Helen said, eyes bright. “Oliver, I did this for you.”

He was skeptical.

“I know the pressure you’re under getting me the information we need,” she said. “A little extra strife at the ARC is exactly what you need. This way, everyone is so busy talking about Stephen and Nick that they won’t be looking out for you.

It made sense, actually. A lot of sense.

He looked at her, wondering. “You really did this for me?”

She moved closer. “Of course,” she said. “Didn’t I tell you I had your back?”

She had. More than that, she’d given him no reason to doubt her.

He smiled, feeling a giddiness start to build in his stomach. “So tell me,” he said. “What information do you want next?”

-o-

The more he learned, the more Leek realized Helen was right. The ARC was a problem. The program was bloated; its operations were obtuse and redundant. The policies were poorly enforced and highly unpredictable. Even with the apt addition of Jenny Lewis, team members were routinely imperiled, and sometimes civilians were unnecessarily killed. Lester said this was the nature of the game, but Leek knew better. Lester thought if they could predict the anomalies, it would get easier. Cutter thought if they could understand why they existed, things would fall into place.

They were both right, in a sense. Not that it mattered.

Because Leek knew it was about control. They could research and predict to their heart’s content -- but until they had a structured approach, none of it would do any good at all.

Leek didn’t know what Helen’s plan was, but as he cleaned up another mess from the latest incursion, he had to think it was better than this.

-o-

“What exactly is the plan?” Leek finally asked one night. Helen had been there when he got home, and he’d convinced her to stay long enough for dinner.

She took a bite of Leek’s improvised beef skillet. “You don’t trust me?” she asked coyly.

He made a face. “Don’t take it personally. You’ve always been good to your word. But I’ve come to very much question all people in a position of power,” he replied.

Chuckling, she took a sip of wine. “As you should,” she said, placing her glass back on the table. “And you have every right to ask. I’m sorry I haven’t been more forthcoming about it. I’ve wanted to confirm as much as I can, and since you’re not at liberty to travel with me--”

“I could go with you,” he offered readily, almost surprised by his own eagerness.

Helen was almost surprised. “But I need you here, Oliver,” she said. She leaned forward, hand snaking across the table to rest on his. “The work you’re doing is hard, but it is essential to our endgame.”

Leek pursed his lips, withdrawing his hand. “And what is our endgame?”

Sitting back up, she shrugged. “Well, it’s really pretty simple in theory,” she said. “The ARC has always been a good idea -- a necessary one, even.”

“But poorly implemented,” Leek added bitterly.

“Exactly,” she said. “So we don’t need to start from scratch here. I want to take what works in the ARC and build a new one with the right changes.”

Leek tilted his head. “Wait, you want to...”

She nodded. “Build a new ARC.”

Pausing, he found himself laughing incredulously. “But how?”

“I’m still working on that,” she admitted.

“But how?” he persisted. “Not just the facility itself or the manpower or resources -- but the ARC isn’t about to just shift over because we ask them to.”

“No,” Helen agreed. “But we’re not going to ask them.”

Leek’s frustration flared. “Then I don’t see--”

“The ARC is accountable only to the highest levels of government, and even then, the jurisdiction is murky at best,” Helen explained. “The only thing that is going to change the course of the ARC is the public.”

“But the public doesn’t even know about the program!”

Helen lifted her eyebrows, smirking. “Not yet.”

Suddenly, the implications became clear. His mouth dropped open. “You mean...”

She nodded. “We set up an alternate ARC facility with better systems and protocols. Then we leak the story regarding the program, highlighting its massive ineffectiveness and citing the risks that have been posed to common citizens while the government twiddles its thumbs and hopes for the best.”

“And then when the government is coping with the fallout, we cut a deal with Lester to open the new facility,” Leek concluded, a little awestruck.

“Lester would be a fool to disagree,” she said. “He’ll even say he knew about it the whole time to save face with his superiors.”

Leek shook his head, laughing again. “It could work.”

“It will work,” Helen said. “Plus, with our involvement in the new facility, Lester will have to include us in the higher management. We have far too much information about his outright negligence for him to refuse.”

“It could really work,” Leek said, still trying to believe it.

Helen beamed. “I’m glad you’re excited.”

“I’m more than excited,” Leek said. “We need to start moving ahead, though. If we’re serious about this, we’re going to start needing resources. Electrical systems and research facilities--”

“And a base,” Helen interjected. “I admit, that’s where I’m having trouble. I know what we need, but since I’m legally dead, I don’t have any way to secure a facility to start our work.”

Chewing his lip, Leek thought for a moment. “Let me look into that.”

Helen’s face broadened with a smile once again. “I knew I wasn’t wrong when I picked you.”

“You know,” Leek said with a shy smile of his own. “I’m starting to agree with you.”

-o-

Leek spent the next week locked in his office. Instead of pulling files about the ARC, he requested special information from Home Office about abandoned facilities. On the requisition form, he said the ARC was looking for alternate expansion plans.

He didn’t even have to lie.

The files arrived, no questions asked. When Lester called him in, he didn’t even mention them. At the end of their meeting, Lester merely asked, “I assume everything else is in order?”

“Oh, yes, sir,” Leek said, getting to his feet with a grin. “Everything is in perfect order.”

-o-

There were a number of interesting possibilities for locations. The government had control over a vast supply of abandoned buildings, and Leek systematically went through, narrowing the list. Too small; too visible. Too large; too unsecured.

After several days, he had the list whittled to just a handful of choices. After work one day, he drove to each one, noting their features in person.

Then, he found it.

The building had been used by the Ministry of Defence, which meant that it was well secured and easy to defend. Its location was urban but remote, which meant it would take a lot to raise eyebrows. Better still, the interior would have appropriate functionality with many of the systems easily updated for use as an alternate ARC. It was still within the city and far enough away from the real ARC to avoid incidental attention.

In short, it was exactly what he needed. As he walked through the bare bones, he looked up and saw possibility.

For the first time in Leek’s life, the future looked bright indeed.

-o-

The next morning, Leek filled out the requisition form. There was a lot of red tape, opening a closed facility. There were procedures and cost-benefit analyses. At first, providing the details made him hesitate. There was no lie he could tell that would pass muster; the only option was the truth.

The project sounded legitimate -- and the ARC had the funds to support it. To the Home Office, nothing would look amiss. Given the lapsed paperwork trails at the ARC, no one on staff would even notice. But it required a signature from Lester, which would be more problematic.

Leek could attempt forging it, but he doubted he could pull that off. He could see if Helen wanted to try, but that would take too long.

No, there was one solution that was far better than the rest. It was risky...but Leek was starting to think it might work.

-o-

When he got to Lester’s office, Lorraine made a face.

Leek winced. “Bad?”

“I wouldn’t go in there,” she recommended.

Leek glanced through the window, watching briefly as Lester rocked back in the chair, clearly exasperated as he talked on the phone. The man did look mad; and tired and stressed out and generally horrible company.

He sighed. “I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to,” he said. Then, he held up the stack of papers in his hand. “But I need his signature or no one is getting paid next week. Can you buzz me in?”

Lorraine chewed her lip. “I’d rather not--”

“Payday means nothing to you?” Leek asked.

Lorraine sighed. “Okay, okay,” she muttered, picking up the phone and pressing a button. “Sir? Yes, I know, sir. I know, but Mr. Leek has something important to talk to you about.”

Even through the glass, Leek could hear the perturbed litany.

Lorraine hung up the phone. “You can go in now,” she said. “But I still don’t know if you want to.”

Leek offered her a smile. “Trust me,” he said. “It’s the best for all of us.”

-o-

Lester’s look was withering.

Still, Leek smiled. “I know you’re busy--”

Eyebrows raised, Lester asked, “Do you? Do you really now?”

“Of course,” Leek said, crossing over toward Lester’s desk. “I’ve brought the forms you asked me about.”

“I ask you about a dozen or so forms every day,” Lester grumbled. “I’m not sure why you suddenly think these are important enough to bother me.”

“Well, I pushed a little harder and got the requisitions Cutter requested so he and Connor could set up the next generation of the detection system,” Leek said. He shrugged. “If you wanted me to wait...”

Lester sighed. “And listen to that raving Scotsman tell me about how I fail to appreciate the importance of his job?” he muttered. He lifted a hand. “Give me the forms.”

Leek promptly handed them over. “More than I expected,” he said apologetically. “The request for equipment had to be funneled through three different agencies, and some of them needed triplicate--”

With a shake of his head, Lester huffed. “You made one critical mistake, Mr. Leek.”

Leek froze, his stomach going cold and his body feeling heavy. He’d known it was a risk, of course, sneaking in the paperwork with the rest. He’d known all along he could get caught. He’d known there were risks -- real risks -- and that he’d been upping the ante all along. Lester wasn’t stupid, after all.

Lester scribbled his name on the last one, and held them back up to Leek. “You assume that I care at all about anything you’re saying,” he said with a prim smile as Leek’s stomach unclenched. “Now, carry on.”

Leek took the papers back with a grin. “Thank you, sir.”

Nose scrunched, Lester went back to his papers. “You sound dreadfully grateful over paperwork.”

Beaming, Leek looked over the last form, Lester’s unmarred signature at the bottom, making the request official. Lester had just signed away his rights -- and he didn’t even know it.

He turned to leave, almost unable to contain his glee. “You have no idea.”

-o-

When Helen showed up a few days later at his flat, he had just got the confirmation. Excited, he didn’t even offer her dinner but insisted on taking her on a field trip.

She cocked her head. “Well, this is a side I haven’t seen of you before,” she said curiously.

Leek’s cheeks brightened. “No one’s ever trusted me with something so important.”

Helen smiled. “Then I certainly hope you won’t disappoint.”

“Don’t worry,” he said, opening his front door for her and gesturing for her to proceed. As she passed, he leaned close. “I won’t.”

-o-

When they got to the newly acquired Ministry of Defence Building, Leek parked. “Now,” he began. “I know it doesn’t look like much from the outside--”

Helen leaned to look out the window. “Is this...?”

“It was abandoned just over five years ago, originally built in the 1990s. Which means it has acceptably up-to-date features, which shouldn’t need too much tweaking to get back into working order,” Leek continued. “Plus, it used to be used for weapons development, which I think lends itself very well--”

Sitting back, Helen looked at him. “Wait,” she said. “You’re saying...this is it?”

Leek hesitated, his enthusiasm flagging uncertainly. “It was the best I could find that fit all of the parameters,” he said, slower now. “But there were no hitches in gaining access, and--”

“And it’s ours?” she asked, eyes lighting up as her face split with a grin. “You mean, you found us our base?”

Smiling widely, Leek’s heart swelled. “You think it’ll work, then?”

“Please,” she said, reaching over and taking his fingers in his own. “I know it will.”

-o-

It happened quickly after that. Diverting shipments was a mere technicality, and the impact on the actual ARC was negligible. With his keen understanding of the ARC’s inefficiencies, he merely cut out redundancies without indicating the changes on the budget and inventory forms. As far as Lester knew, nothing had changed.

In reality, however, the ARC was running leaner with less excess, and Leek was funneling Helen everything she needed to start setting up the alternate site.

From computer systems to reinforced security, Leek found what she needed. There was some small construction needed, and Leek offered to fund a discrete construction crew, but Helen said that wouldn’t be necessary.

He shook his head. “There’s no way you can do all this on your own.”

“I don’t intend to,” she said.

“I don’t think I understand.”

She took a breath and let it out. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to show you, actually.”

He frowned. “Something?”

Nodding readily, she continued. “You have had such wonderful surprises for me,” she said, smile widening. “Now it’s my turn.”

-o-

“Clones?” Leek asked, the air feeling tight in his chest. “They are actually clones?

“Essentially, yes,” Helen said, nodding toward the room where about ten men, all identical in appearance and dress were currently working on the exposed electrical systems. “Though these aren’t high quality models. They’re capable enough but lack the ability to decide much for themselves. Though I can’t say that’s all together a bad thing.”

That was all well and good, but Leek was still stuck on an earlier bit. “Clones?!”

Helen chuckled, patting him on the shoulder. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

-o-

The clones were unsettling, but Leek had to admit, they were efficient workers. With Leek’s funding and Helen’s leadership, things were really starting to come together. After everything that had gone wrong in Leek’s life, something was really starting to go right.

-o-

In the day to day, his drudgery hardly changed, but the truth was, it hardly mattered anymore.

“Are you sure everything is all right?” Jenny asked after a few weeks.

“Hm?” Leek said, looking up at her benignly.

She loitered near the doorway to his office, hesitating. “The team has expressed some concern.”

“I don’t recall any altercations--”

“Yes, and that’s what concerns them,” Jenny said. “You haven’t second guessed Cutter or demanded an incident report for any of their...antics.”

Leek frowned. He hadn’t thought about it, but it was probably true. He hadn’t seen the point, really. He had other things to worry about now. If Cutter wanted to get himself and his team killed, that was his business. “Well, I would have thought they would prefer it that way.”

Jenny smiled. “I didn’t say they complained,” she said. “I merely said they had noticed.”

Leek smiled slightly in return. If he was insulted, there was no time to let that bother him. The ARC was a disaster; he couldn’t fix it. He wasn’t going to try -- not when he had Plan B so perfectly underway. Everyone would see that soon enough -- and if they didn’t, then that would finally be their problem and not his.

Finally, he merely shrugged. “The concern is noted,” he said. “But really, Ms. Lewis, of all the things to worry about in the ARC, I would hardly think I’m at the top of the list.”

She chuckled. “I’d wager you’re right,” she said, sounding genuinely reassured. “I just wanted to check in.”

“Thoroughly checked,” Leek told her.

She made to leave, but glanced back. “You know you can tell me if something’s wrong, right?” she asked. “That is my job, after all.”

There was something sincere in her voice, something unexpectedly understanding. Jenny Lewis was good at her job, and Leek had always thought she was probably a good person. She would be a good asset in the new facility, when they transitioned. She’d fit in there -- hell, Leek might push to give her a promotion. She’d be just as good at Lester’s job, and far less annoying.

Not that he could tell her. Even if part of him wanted to.

“Just business as usual,” he told her.

“Honestly,” Jenny said. “I don’t know how we’d get on here without you. Someone who does what needs to be done. I appreciate that about you.”

With that, this time she did leave, letting his office door swing shut behind him. He stared after her, his conscience panging. He had to remember that this wasn’t about the people -- it wasn’t even about what they did. It was how they did it. So many good intentions gone awry.

Leek couldn’t let that happen.

Not for the incorrigible Nick Cutter or the smarmy James Lester. And definitely not for the earnest Jenny Lewis or any of the eccentric and ennobled rest.

Leek would make it all work together the way it was meant to.

Then they would understand.

-o-

The less he worried about the ARC, the more Leek invested into their alternate base. Helen spent more time there than he did, and after a week, he noticed she’d set up in one of the old living quarters. She still disappeared without notice, coming back with new supplies of her own and always getting straight back to work.

He did what he could, checking on the supplies and the progress. He brought her food, and they ate together while they worked and planned.

And dreamed.

About the operational center, about the research facilities. About the logical flow; about a fully staffed armoury. And the crowning achievement: a fully electrified and adaptable holding room for the predators, which allowed for easy observation of the creatures.

“It’ll be perfect,” Helen said, looking over it in wonder.

Leek kept his eyes on her. “Yes,” he agreed. “It will.”

-o-

After another few days, Lester called him in. At first, Leek feared the worst. Maybe he’d been careless; maybe he’d been sloppy. Maybe Lester knew.

When he sat down, Leek spread his hands across his legs, consciously keeping himself as still as possible, even as his heart fluttered and his stomach churned. Lester looked up from his work, pinning Leek with a persistent and curious look.

“Is something the matter?” Leek ventured finally.

“Why don’t you tell me?” Lester asked.

Leek swallowed, his fingers itching as his palms started to sweat. “I’m not sure...”

Lester sighed. “Did you think I wouldn’t notice?” he said sharply. “Do you really think me so utterly complacent?”

Throat constricting, the blood drained from Leek’s head and his breathing hitched. “I can explain--”

“Can you?” Lester asked. He produced a file and tossed it across the desk.

With shaking fingers, Leek picked it up, expecting to see any of the delivery requests or requisition forms. But it wasn’t.

“Since when do we let Cutter and his team operate with no oversight?” Lester demanded. “Did you even read the report Cutter tried to file with the Home Office?”

Leek skimmed the document, trying to foggily make through the details. “I, um,” he began. “I thought you wanted me to give them more freedom.”

“To make smart tactical decisions in the field, yes,” Lester replied. “But this still has to function as a government facility. Cutter only filled out a small fraction of the page and actually said exactly what happened.”

Leek winced, reading the sparse blow by blow. “He didn’t even use the right form,” he observed.

“Exactly!” Lester said. “Because we’ve never trusted him to fill out his own reports. The ARC functions because we have different layers. Cutter and his team handle the field; the Special Forces team covers broad scale operational measures. And you and Ms. Lewis are here to make sure that what happens in the field is palatable to the Home Office. Do you know what they would do if they saw this report?”

Leek shrugged. “Probably request a full inquiry and start seeing the procedural complications that need to be address at the ARC.”

“Yes,” Lester said. “And then they would cut funding, restructure, and gut the program. Is that what you want?”

Leek found himself hesitating.

“Is it, Mr. Leek?” Lester demanded.

“No, no,” Leek said. “Of course not.”

“Then fix it,” Lester ordered. “Or any restructuring will start with you.

Leek closed the file and stood back up. “Is that all, sir?”

“Not quite,” Lester muttered distastefully. “You’ve been rather reticent lately. Usually I have to fend off your stupid questions several times a day and I don’t think I’ve seen you in here for a week at least.”

“And that’s a problem?”

“I don’t know, Mr. Leek,” Lester snapped. “Is it?”

Tucking the file under his arm, Leek merely smiled. “Of course not,” he said. “I’ve just been trying to handle things more on my own.”

“Well,” Lester said with a small roll of his eye. “You better start doing it a bit better.”

“Most certainly,” Leek said. “I fully intend to.”

Lester sighed, flitting his hand in the air. “That’s all.”

Leek inclined his head, moving toward the door. That wasn’t all. Not even close.

Lester would know soon enough.

Patience, Leek reminded himself. Lester wouldn’t matter once he had everything in order, neither would any of the rest of them. Patience.

-o-

When Leek arrived at the facility a few days later, he found Helen muttering to herself in the cage room. “Everything alright?” he asked, skirting around the equipment toward her.

She cursed, kicking at a console. “I’ve got a bloody PhD,” she said. “And I can’t make this work.”

Leek looked down at the exposed wiring with a small wince. “Last I checked, your PhD was in evolutionary biology,” he pointed out. “Not electrical engineering.”

“Working parts, human or mechanical,” she said. “It should be all the same.”

“We can outsource this bit,” he offered. “You’ve done a remarkable job.”

“No,” she said shortly, squatting back down and picking up a tool. “I refuse to settle for your platitudes. We need this online; and it will happen.”

He was going to talk her out of it -- or at least try -- but she was so focused, tinkering and cutting and suddenly something sparked. Leek startled, alarmed, but the machine started to hum and a current came alive, running from the machine and up the panel, lighting the entire first unit of the cage room.

Leek wasn’t prone to boyishness, but as the implications sunk in, he yelped. “You did it! You actually did it!”

Helen stood up, wiping her hands on her pants. “And you doubted,” she said with a smirk, looking at the working cell.

Leek sighed contentedly. “Our first system is operational,” he said.

“And the most important system,” she said.

It was a heady feeling. So much work; so much time; so much risk. He’d always believed in the cause, but now it seemed possible.

Closer than ever.

He grinned. “We should celebrate.”

Helen shook her head. “Later,” she said. “First we need to test this out.”

“With what?” Leek asked.

She looked at him, eyes gleaming. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”

-o-

As the months had passed, Leek had learned to trust Helen. She’d been good to her word, and she’d never led him astray. He’d never found reason to doubt her. Once he’d really put some thought into it, she was the only person left in the world who actually made sense.

Sure, he’d been hesitant a few times.

But not like this.

“I’m really not sure about this,” he said, and not for the first time, as he parked the car in the lot as Helen specified.

“I told you, there’s really no other way,” she said.

“But usually we handle anomalies with an entire team,” Leek said. “That’s one of the first things I intend to change when we have our say -- first contact should always be made with a full force of armed men.”

“And that’s a smart stipulation,” she agreed.

“But right now you want to take us to an anomaly site to capture a predator -- with just the two of us!”

Helen looked at him, sympathetic. “Quite frankly, Oliver, I can handle this on my own,” she said. “You forget sometimes just what I’ve been doing for the last nine years.”

Leek took a breath, letting it out slowly as he tried to be reassured. He knew Helen was good; she’d been wrong about nothing else. He had to count on that. “How do we know that an ARC team isn’t going to show up?” he asked finally.

“The ARC is only marginally functional,” she said. “Sometimes I’m amazed you get anything at all done there.”

“It’s the latest technology,” Leek said, finding himself oddly defensive.

She looked bemused. “And I have the latest technology from the future,” she said. “Connor Temple’s trinkets will eventually be able to accurately detect an anomaly, but I know how to predict one -- and a whole lot more.”

“So, the anomaly here hasn’t even opened yet?” Leek asked, squinting curiously out the window.

“Not yet,” Helen said. “We have about ten minutes.”

“And then the ARC will be notified,” Leek said, checking his watch nervously.

“Which should give us at least another twenty minutes before a team is mobilized to come out,” she said. “You’ve said it yourself: their response time is lacking.”

Leek nodded, chewing his lip. “It’s true,” he said. “And this one is a bit farther out.”

Helen reached over, a steadying hand on his arm. “Relax, Oliver,” she said. “This is a necessary phase of our development. We have to be fully equipped and operational if we’re going to pass ourselves off as a viable alternative to the ARC. That means we need creatures; we need a proven response and care routine. We need this.

She believed it. Leek had his doubts -- his mind was screaming with them and his stomach was fraught with uncertainty -- but he believed her.

“Okay,” he said. “Then tell me what to do.”

Comments

Posted by: reggietate (reggietate)
Posted at: April 26th, 2013 09:25 pm (UTC)
oilyollie

Seeing this all from Leek's side is very enlightening :-) Enjoying it immensely.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 12:28 am (UTC)
stephen smiles

It was interesting to look at things through his eyes.

Thanks!s

Posted by: knitekat (knitekat)
Posted at: April 26th, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC)

Interesting to see events from Leek's pov. The team does not come over well ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 12:29 am (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

The team definitely has its moments -- to an outsider, it would be difficult to tolerate them.

Thanks :)

Posted by: fredbassett (fredbassett)
Posted at: April 27th, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
Leek 3

Leek's tentative rapport with the team being smashed by Lester's insensitivity was pretty painful.

I really do feel sorry for him in this.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

I admit I flinched when I used Lester in that way -- I didn't think it was completely OOC but I do know Lester has moments of softness. My theory is that poor Lester has such a hard time trying to manage the ARC that he has to vent his frustrations somehow.

Thanks :)

Posted by: fififolle (fififolle)
Posted at: April 28th, 2013 09:37 am (UTC)

I can actually believe that this is exactly how it happened!! Oh Lester, you fool. He really was ghastly in S2. If only! I have some sympathy for Leek, poor baby. Enjoying reading this a lot.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 12:31 am (UTC)
stephen hair

Lester is a character that is pretty fun to watch but you have to think in real life, he might not always be so great. And sympathy for Leek was my lofty goal so I'm glad I achieved it.

Thanks!

Posted by: fififolle (fififolle)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 07:23 am (UTC)
Primeval - Leek (reggietate)

My own art fic (post later, flail) is going to push the boundaries of Leek-sympathy a little further. It's not as long and plotty and wonderful as yours, but I am still curious to see how it goes across, LOL!

Posted by: lsellersfic (lsellersfic)
Posted at: April 28th, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
Primeval:Leek

I love the way you are showing us Leek's POV, but also hinting at how unreliable it is - that sense that he must have been driving people spare with trivial problems and queries until he was distracted by Helen.

Lester not coming out of it well, of course, but even on screen Lester's behaviour towards Leek is pretty questionable.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

Unreliable narrators are always fun -- the shifted POV is always inherently valid even if limited. We all have our own distinctive worldviews, which are always more limited than I think we want to admit. Understanding someone through their eyes is a difficult but rewarding tasks. To do it with Leek was a challenge :)

Thanks!

Posted by: goldarrow (goldarrow)
Posted at: April 28th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)

By this time in the story, I was torn between feeling very sorry for Leek, and yelling at him to stop being such a perfectionist and RUN FROM HELEN!!!

I can easily see how he was seduced by her, though. She gave him the approval no one else would.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
stephen goodbye

Helen is just so good at using people. She's creepy like that. But yeah, I wanted to shake Leek too and just tell him to THINK.

But then, acceptance and validation are so very powerful.

Thanks :)

Posted by: Cordelia Delayne (cordeliadelayne)
Posted at: April 28th, 2013 10:25 pm (UTC)
[primeval] lady emily merchant

This is really fascinating - I'm enjoying it a lot.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 12:52 am (UTC)
stephen cutter

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

Thanks!

Posted by: basched (basched)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2013 09:23 am (UTC)
Mecker02


Oh flippin' hecks! This is truly epic! Again I am amazed at how awesome this is and damn...poor Leek!

I have enjoyed reading this so much! You should be so pleased with this!

16 Read Comments