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Primeval fic: Five Futures That Never Were

July 7th, 2011 (07:09 am)
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Title:  Five Futures That Never Were (And One That Was)

Disclaimer:  Not mine.

A/N:  Another one because this show made me flail a lot.  Beta’ed by the ever-kind and eternal enabler sendintheklowns .  And has spoilers for key events up through Nick’s death in S3 and includes preseries spec--sort of--with general AU qualities that returns to canon in the end.  Also, again:  I’m an American writing for a British fandom, so you’ve been warned :)

Summary:  After Stephen, after Claudia, after everything, Nick’s just lost too much of himself to worry about losing the rest.



Helen can’t pull the trigger; she runs instead.  Safe on the outside, Nick figures out the artifact enough to know where she’s going.  After all this time, finding her is actually easy.  And when they’re face to face again, Nick thinks of Stephen, and doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

At the ARC, he gets a commendation.  Lester is almost beaming.  Under Nick’s expanded leadership, the program flourishes.  There’s an expert team to control the anomalies and a fleet of scientists to study the past and the future.

He would be the best man at Connor’s wedding, but Abby insists that she needs someone to walk her down the aisle.  As it is, Jenny is a beautiful date.

When he and Jenny finally retire, they live a simple, quiet life.  Their son, Stephen, visits often, and all of Nick’s grandkids know that despite his bluster, he’s a total pushover. 

Even with all he’s done, Nick never talks about the past.  When anyone asks, Jenny smiles and tells them that such things are really for the best.


Someone has to go back in.  Nick’s made up his mind, and he sees Stephen’s punch before the younger man has a chance to throw it.  Stephen’s almost crying when he says he can’t let Cutter go.

It’s a stalemate, because Nick can’t let Stephen do it either.

Helen says nothing while they argue, and in the end, he and Stephen come to the same conclusion.

Inside, they stand back to back.  Helen is on the other side of the door, pounding and screaming, but they don’t hear her, don’t even spare her a fleeting look back.  As the predators close in, they’re united one last time, just like they should have been all along.


Outside the anomaly in the Forest of Dean, Claudia begs him, “Don’t go.”

Nick looks at her, and, there’s something in her eyes.  Something he can’t quite identify, but enough to make him stop and reconsider.  It seems like an easy choice to make.  Nick says, “Okay.”

Stephen goes instead, and when he comes back alone, everyone has questions.  His answers are sparse, but he explains that the men are dead and Helen has run off and should not be trusted.  No matter how much Nick wants to press the matter, the haunted look on Stephen’s face says enough.

As a team, they dedicate themselves to tracking her.  When the time comes, Stephen pulls the trigger before she even has a chance to explain herself.  Stephen assures him in the aftermath that it was the only thing to do, and Nick has no reason to doubt Stephen after all this time.

At Nick’s wedding, Stephen is his best man, a favor Nick returns when Stephen marries Sarah Page a few years later.  Claudia and Sarah arrange play dates for their children.

When they’re old, Nick sometimes asks Stephen what Helen did in the past.  Stephen allows the question, even as his expression darkens.  He says, “It doesn’t matter.  It’s in the past.  Besides, by now, we have plenty of reasons to move on.”

Nick suspects there’s more to it than that, but the fact is that Stephen’s right and for all the questions Nick’s answered in his life, he’s content to have this one last mystery.


Helen comes to him, says she’s found something.  Nick’s skeptical; her ideas have gotten increasingly eccentric and her passions are almost blindingly single-minded.  He’s worried that he’s losing her, both in terms of intellect and love.

But she’s still his wife, and he can’t help it if he still loves her.  When she asks him for trust, he gives it one more time.

Years later, when they’ve traveled through time, Nick understands her.  Understands everything.


Helen’s the most beautiful women Nick’s ever seen.  Strong and passionate.  She challenges him, invigorates him.  He thinks maybe he could spend his life with her.

But the offer to teach abroad is compelling.  He asks her to come with him, just for a while to see if what they have is real. 

Helen says no.

When he’s been gone for years, he gets word that she’s gone missing, somewhere in the Forest of Dean.  In this, he feels a pang of regret as he gets back to his work.

And One That Was.

Nick doesn’t move from Helen’s aim.  He could, but he’s tired.  After Stephen, after Claudia, after everything, he’s just lost too much of himself to worry about losing the rest.

When he dies, he hopes Connor can carry on like he needs to, for Abby, for the world, but Nick’s only real regret is that this didn’t happen a long time ago.


Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)

I can't draw my attention away from option number four. I think I've fixated. It's bloody perfect in my estimation.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
stephen skeptical

:) As always, you are far too kind to me in all possible ways. I think I would probably go seriously insane without your consistent support and enabling :)

Thank you!

Posted by: Jay (canadian_jay)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)

Oh very nice. Lovely fic, all five of the scenarios are fascinating.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
stephen's eyes

Thank you :) The AU possibilities in this show are too fun not to consider.

Posted by: lukadreaming (lukadreaming)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC)
Nick S3 angst

These scenarios are so vivid and all so intriguing - I love the hints of darkness and melancholy.

If you ever want a Brit checker, do say! There's only a stray gotten (always got in UK English).

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC)
stephen's eyes

I've been more than a little nervous about writing for a British show because of the language differences, so I may take you up on that someday. I've got some fics that have more dialogue and I worry that my Americanisms will be especially prominent in those :)


Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
Dial Denial new

I like those five possible futures. I wish number four really happened. HELEN! eaten by the predators. Good riddance!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 9th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
stephen's eyes

Sometimes I think I'd prefer most possible futures than the one they gave us. Thanks :)

Posted by: reggietate (reggietate)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)

Fascinating different timelines - and the last one made me go *meep*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 9th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
stephen skeptical

Thank you for reading :) The entire show makes me go meep sometimes.

Posted by: knitekat (knitekat)
Posted at: July 8th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)

Great what-if AUs. meep for most.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 9th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
stephen broken

Considering the way things worked out early on, thinking about the what if's is my main coping mechanism. Thanks!

Posted by: Whuffle (whuffle)
Posted at: July 9th, 2011 07:55 am (UTC)

Some of these seem so close to possible and others are just not doing it for me. Interesting premise either way. Thanks!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 9th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
stephen blue sky

Some were probably more personal wish fulfillment than anything else.

Thanks :)

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: July 10th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)

That's a great variety of intriguing AUs!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 10th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
stephen skeptical

Thanks :)

Posted by: bigtitch (bigtitch)
Posted at: July 15th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)

These are great scenarios. Four made me snivel.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 21st, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter

I'm very glad you liked them :) Thanks!

Posted by: lsellersfic (lsellersfic)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)

I love the way you've constructed these, moving backwards through time - and then the One That Was, so sad!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 31st, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

Thank you :) The canon of this show never ceases to make me sad.

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