?

Log in

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

Primeval fic: Traffic, Take 2 (Second Life verse)

October 25th, 2012 (09:40 pm)
scared

feeling: scared

Title: Traffic, Take 2 (aka The Most Dangerous Predator of the 21st Century)

Disclaimer: I do not own Primeval; feral Stephen was created by lena7142

A/N: More in the Continued Adventures of Feral Stephen. Thanks to lena7142 for the beta.

Summary: Because, less than nine months months after bringing Stephen back from the Permian, here they were: in hospital.



-o-

Cutter sighed.

As the hunter and tracker of the group, Stephen had always been somewhat inclined to end up laid up, at least more than the rest. Barely a month in, and Stephen had got himself attacked and poisoned by an overgrown centipede. While that had been his Stephen’s closest call until the end, it certainly hadn’t been the only one. If Cutter was honest, he’d almost lost Stephen multiple times. The other man was far too prone to going off on his own and putting himself in danger to protect others from potential harm.

Apparently that tendency was fairly central to Stephen’s genetic code.

Because, less than nine months months after bringing Stephen back from the Permian, here they were: in hospital.

And not for the first time, either. The first had been right when they’d got back from the Permian, and Cutter was more inclined to blame himself for Stephen’s infection than he was anything else. The second, not a month later, probably hadn’t been anyone’s fault. A run-in with a nasty flu bug wasn’t something that Stephen -- or Cutter -- control.

But when Stephen had fallen off a roof because of his own blind disregard of caution, Cutter had called a spade a spade and lectured the man on his recklessness. Of course, lecturing was one thing; getting Stephen to listen was another. Still, Cutter had dared to think that they had been making some progress. Stephen had listened more and participated more extensively in briefings. He’d learned to at least check in first before going off and doing something utterly stupid.

With that, they had had a few close scrapes, some cuts and bruises, but Cutter had reckoned they’d improved.

Yet, here they were. Back in hospital.

Stephen was going to be okay; at least that was what the doctors had assured him. The surgery had been a bit difficult, but he was already showing signs of coming around.

Which was why Cutter was waiting so close. After everything, he didn’t want Stephen to wake up alone.

For Stephen’s sake as well as the nursing staff’s. Really, for his own as well. He wouldn’t get anything resembling rest until he saw with his own eyes that Stephen was going to survive this latest mishap.

In the bed, Stephen shifted. His face was badly scraped, a livid mark showing along his hairline. His arm was in a sling -- a sprain, not a break, which was fortunate considering he’d only just got the cast off his arm from last time -- and the bulky bandage around his stomach hid the incision where they’d gone in to fix the small bleed in his abdomen.

Even in sleep, Stephen’s face screwed up. He was still sedated, but given the injuries, Cutter knew the other man would be feeling more than a little pain.

Leaning forward, Cutter put his hand on the rail of the bed. “Stephen,” he called gently.

Stephen twitched, jostling the IV bags slightly. The heart monitor showed a spike in activity.

Cutter reached out, hand on his arm now. “Stephen--”

And just like that, Stephen jolted awake, springing back in a defensive position.

Or at least tried to. He didn’t get very far before his face contorted and he gasped, curling in on himself in total surprise and what Cutter could only assume was sudden pain.

“Easy,” Cutter soothed expectantly, coaxing the younger man back into a position of repose. “Easy.”

Stephen grimaced, breathing heavily. “Are you trying to kill me?” he hissed.

“No, you’re doing a fine job of that yourself,” Cutter returned without hesitation. He was somewhat pleased that this version of Stephen was even more cutting than the original. It made this sort of thing much easier to deal with when there was sarcasm to fall back on.

Stephen swallowed with difficulty, settling back down on the pillows gingerly. “What happened?”

“You don’t remember?” Cutter asked, though he didn’t suspect that Stephen was lying to him. Although his Stephen had been rather practiced in falsehood, almost a decade without human contact had made the original incarnation basically incapable of subterfuge.

Stephen shook his head, looking moderately disconcerted. “Everything’s...fuzzy.”

“That’d be the drugs,” Cutter said.

Stephen frowned. “Hospital?”

Cutter nodded. “You’ve been through surgery,” he said, eyes flicking to the sundry equipment around Stephen. He was stable now, but it had been touch and go for a while. “You had a bleed in your stomach. They think they fixed it, but it’s going to be sore.”

Stephen looked down, more annoyed than dismayed. “A concussion, too?”

“I reckon,” Cutter said, eyes settling on Stephen again. He continued, choosing his words carefully. “You took a hard hit.”

Stephen looked back at him, brow furrowed. “I still don’t remember,” he said. “The creature?”

That would have been the expected thing, of course. But Stephen was anything but expected. “Sort of.”

Stephen just looked confused.

Cutter sighed, seeing no reason to draw this out any further. “You got hit by a car.”

Stephen blinked.

Cutter settled back in his seat, trying to be nonchalant, but it was hard. In his mind, he could still see Stephen’s body flying through the air, landing on the pavement with a meaty thud. The driver had been in a hurry -- spurred on by the sight of prehistoric creatures, no doubt -- and Stephen had stepped right out. It’d been a direct hit -- the driver hadn’t even stopped in his panic.

And there Stephen had been -- broken and limp, blood pooling around him -- totally unresponsive. No matter how Cutter had called for him, Stephen hadn’t so much as twitched.

He’d thought he’d lost the man. Not from a creature. Not from a heroic last act. From a bloody car.

Seeing Stephen carted away by ambulance had nearly overwhelmed him.

Again.

It might almost be funny if it weren’t so damn terrifying. He reckoned it wasn’t the type of thing that would ever get easier. He’d thought he was in control, but when it came to Stephen, nothing was as it seemed. No matter how much practice Cutter seemed to have, angsting over Stephen Hart never got easier. He kept thinking, kept worrying, that maybe this time would go as wrong as the first, maybe this time Stephen wouldn’t be okay. And if he lost Stephen again, after everything...

Cutter didn’t want to think about it. He couldn’t.

He still couldn’t remember how he’d managed the hours in the waiting room. The others had been there, Claudia with her arm around him, whispering in his ear, but it hadn’t mattered. Even now, his relief at seeing Stephen awake and alive and okay was palpable.

Because Stephen was going to be okay. Cutter didn’t know how many more close calls they could survive, if someday their luck would really run out, but for today, he didn’t have to. Cutter had gone back to change the past and found out that he could only change the future. It wasn’t the most reassuring lesson he could learn, but ultimately, it was all he had.

And somehow, he thought maybe it would be enough -- if he could just get Stephen to cooperate.

“Could have been worse, though,” Cutter tried to say.

“You reckon,” Stephen said. “It could have run me over, too.”

No matter how well controlled he was, the bluntness still made Cutter blanch.

Stephen eased back, thoughtfully. “I really don’t remember a car.”

It probably wasn’t funny. In truth, Cutter probably should have torn Stephen a new one, reamed him out for being reckless and short-sighted. They’d had this talk before; they’d had it multiple times. Stephen was one of the smartest men he’d ever met, and he still couldn’t get the point hammered through that (thankfully) thick skull of his. That he had to be careful. That he had to show caution. That he had to think first, act second. That he couldn’t always trust his gut above all else.

Yet, Stephen hadn’t been trying to annoy Cutter. He hadn’t even necessarily been careless with his life, at least not in a suicidal sort of way. This wasn’t Stephen disregarding orders; this wasn’t Stephen putting others first or failing to think things through. The fact was, Stephen just didn’t see things the way Cutter did. Stephen didn’t assess risk in the same way. It was hard to be angry with Stephen because Stephen didn’t even remember the car. Because the car had been entirely superfluous to Stephen -- it probably still was -- even though it had very nearly killed him.

Stephen had almost died, and Stephen hadn’t even seen it coming. Smart, agile, scary-good in the field, and he’d been blindsided by a charging pile of steel. And that was suddenly, inexplicably funny.

“You wouldn’t,” Cutter said with an incredulous chuckle. “You didn’t even look both ways. Just charged across the street, straightforward as you pleased.”

“Well, I had priorities,” Stephen said. “I had a clear aim at the creature.”

Stephen’s single-mindedness had likely saved his life in the Permian; it was his greatest weakness in the present.

“Right, and the car had a clear aim on you,” Cutter said.

“It was an oversight,” Stephen said. “I was so focused -- I’ll have to teach myself to listen to mechanical sounds again.”

Cutter shook his head, because he could argue. He could make emotional pleas and use complicated logic to sway Stephen to his point of view.

But, the fact was, Stephen just needed a reminder on common sense.

Cutter shrugged. “Or you could just learn to look both ways like a normal person.”

Stephen considered that. “Right,” he said, nodding to himself. “Right.”

Cutter sighed, leaning back in his chair. This entire ordeal had scared him deeply, but if he’d learned anything from Stephen, it was to take the good and take the bad for what they were and not to dwell. Stephen had made a mistake. He’d make more mistakes. Cutter could do his best to be there for him, but he was never going to stop it all.

Really, maybe Cutter just needed a reminder about common sense, too. When it came to Stephen, all reason and logic went out the window for him as well. It was easy to let that happen, all things considered. But the fact was, he couldn’t control everything. He shouldn’t even want to. They could plan; they could listen; they could learn. They’d still make mistakes, and maybe someday they wouldn’t be so lucky, but for now, they could only appreciate what they had.

“Don’t worry,” Cutter said, smirking a bit. “At least now we know what the most dangerous predator of the 21st century is.”

Stephen lifted his eyebrows. “Yeah?”

Cutter nodded, smirk widening to a grin. “Traffic.”

And Stephen, bruised and sore and weak as he was, let the corners of his mouth twitch up into a smile, and he didn’t disagree.

Comments

Posted by: goldarrow (goldarrow)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)

Love it.

Cutter had gone back to change the past and found out that he could only change the future.
And that is the perfectest of perfectly profound statements. :)

Cutter shrugged. “Or you could just learn to look both ways like a normal person.”
Stephen considered that. “Right,” he said, nodding to himself. “Right.”

*snorfle*

I really like the development of 'this' Stephen, and the relationship between him and Cutter.

And I quite feel sorry for Stephen; after all those years of straightforward living, to have to re-learn how to navigate the shoals of modern society must be extremely difficult.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
stephen skeptical

This Stephen really fascinates me, in the ways that he's similar and different to the Stephen we knew. And the struggle he has to acclimate himself back to modern life is a fun tension to write.

Thanks :)

Posted by: joshinator (joshinator)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC)
Stephen

“Don’t worry,” Cutter said, smirking a bit. “At least now we know what the most dangerous predator of the 21st century is.”

Stephen lifted his eyebrows. “Yeah?”

Cutter nodded, smirk widening to a grin. “Traffic.”

Awesome!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

:) Thanks!

Posted by: freddiejoey (freddiejoey)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
Stephen - eriah

Feral Stephen is the best.

Great fic.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
stephen shocked

I'm so glad people seem to love him as much as I do :)

Thanks!

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 09:10 am (UTC)
Blurred


*flails happily*

I love Cutter's inner observations about his relationship with Stephen - relationships ;)

And their conversation was brill!

Yep, a genetic disposition towards recklessness and hospitalisation, and it will never get easier for Nick *hugs them both. Carefully*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
stephen's eyes

I sort of love making Stephen disaster prone :) It fits my h/c cravings quite nicely.

But yes. While Stephen is pretty oblivious, poor Cutter takes the brunt of the angst.

Thanks!

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 01:13 pm (UTC)
Nick/Stephen

I love a accident prone Stephen. *g*

*chuckles at* "Are you trying to kill me?” he hissed.
“No, you’re doing a fine job of that yourself.”

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
stephen goodbye

I'm quite fond of him, too. There's never enough h/c in fandom for me :)

Thanks!

Posted by: natchris (natchris)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
Racoon

Sweet and brilliant!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
stephen cutter

Thanks so much :)

Posted by: reggietate (reggietate)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
scampiscorpions

Stephen wouldn't be Stephen if he didn't leap blithely into danger to save Cutter, regardless of safety ;-)

I love this version of their friendship and its ups and downs. More, please!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
stephen smiles

LOL, there's still a handful of ficlets more before I'll be out of what I wrote. But I hopefully I'll get around to writing even more after that before Lena manages to get on her sequel.

Thanks!

Posted by: clea2011 (clea2011)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
Stephen black white

Most people seem inclined to just step out into traffic without looking round here, so maybe Stephen's fitting in better than everyone thinks! *g*
Lovely addition to the series

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:35 am (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

LOL, some places are more prone to bad pedestrian behavior, so I guess Stephen has that in his defense :)

Thanks!

Posted by: knitekat (knitekat)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)

Lovely addition to the series and great conversation between the boys.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:35 am (UTC)
stephen hair

I really love having these two continue to bond :)

Thanks!

Posted by: flaccidduck (flaccidduck)
Posted at: October 27th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
Nick and Stephen

Poor Cutter. He has the patience of a saint. *g*

Lovely!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
stephen and cutter

Heh, yeah, Cutter goes through more than Stephen most of the time, I think :)

Thanks!

Posted by: judithjohn (judithjohn)
Posted at: October 27th, 2012 07:32 am (UTC)
Dino eye

"Really, maybe Cutter just needed a reminder about common sense, too. When it came to Stephen, all reason and logic went out the window for him as well. It was easy to let that happen, all things considered. But the fact was, he couldn’t control everything. He shouldn’t even want to. They could plan; they could listen; they could learn. They’d still make mistakes, and maybe someday they wouldn’t be so lucky, but for now, they could only appreciate what they had."

*melts*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

Thank you :)

Posted by: fredbassett (fredbassett)
Posted at: October 28th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)

Typical Stephen, tunnel vision all the way.

Great story.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 30th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
stephen cutter

It seems like Stephen's always had that problem.

Thanks!

Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: November 3rd, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
Adorable!

There's just something about the innocence of Stephen's lack of common sense or of modern sensibilities that makes him all the more heroic. He is so focused as a hunter should be and his reckless disregard of his own safety just makes him almost sweet.

Fave part:

Yet, Stephen hadn’t been trying to annoy Cutter. He hadn’t even necessarily been careless with his life, at least not in a suicidal sort of way. This wasn’t Stephen disregarding orders; this wasn’t Stephen putting others first or failing to think things through. The fact was, Stephen just didn’t see things the way Cutter did. Stephen didn’t assess risk in the same way. It was hard to be angry with Stephen because Stephen didn’t even remember the car. Because the car had been entirely superfluous to Stephen -- it probably still was -- even though it had very nearly killed him.

Stephen had almost died, and Stephen hadn’t even seen it coming. Smart, agile, scary-good in the field, and he’d been blindsided by a charging pile of steel. And that was suddenly, inexplicably funny.

--sigh!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: November 9th, 2012 04:04 am (UTC)
Re: Adorable!
stephen breathing

I really do love that about feral Stephen. He's really capable and yet so strangely naive. It makes him so much fun to write :)

Thanks!

Posted by: Evil Insane Monkey (eviinsanemonkey)
Posted at: November 18th, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)

love this! :D

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: November 20th, 2012 12:56 am (UTC)
stephen sad

Thanks!

28 Read Comments