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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Primeval fic: Weekend Holiday (Second Life verse)

February 14th, 2013 (09:14 pm)
happy

feeling: happy

Title: Weekend Holiday

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

A/N: With thanks to lena7142. I have no words for her awesomeness. No. Words. This is part of the Continued Adventures of Feral Stephen.

Summary: Cutter wasn’t sure how Stephen had talked him into this.



-o-

Cutter wasn’t sure how Stephen had talked him into this.

While in the Permian, Stephen had been the one in charge. He’d given the orders and did the leading. Befuddled, stunned and injured, Cutter had had no choice but to comply, but he couldn’t deny some satisfaction in finding himself with more authority back in the present. After all, Stephen was completely out of his element. He needed reminders to bathe and to eat like a human being. In the months that had followed, Cutter had found that while this Stephen was still fiercely independent, he was almost more needy than his cloned counterpart.

That was okay with Cutter. It occurred to him that he liked being needed. One of the hardest things about the revelation of his affair with Helen had been Stephen’s fledgling attempts to stand up for himself, which had just rubbed Cutter the wrong way. This Stephen had no qualms about making his opinions known, but his complete lack of common sense made him rather more dependent than he probably wanted to admit.

So Cutter coached and cajoled and commiserated. He was the best friend Stephen could want -- and exactly the one he needed. He’d helped Stephen transition, helped turn him from a relative caveman to a functioning part of a team and a reasonable member of society. It hadn’t been easy for either of them, but it had been largely successful.

But Stephen was still that fiercely independent man who had survived in the Permian. There were only so many lessons on civilization he could endure before he needed a break.

Really, Cutter should have expected it sooner. But still, when Stephen made his announcement, Cutter found himself taken off guard.

“This weekend, we’re doing what I want.”

This sounded ominous to Cutter, but Stephen had allowed himself to be dressed, fed and trimmed, and Claudia’s voice kept ringing in his ear don’t forget he’s a person, not just your personal pet project, so he said, “Okay.”

Still. Cutter wasn’t sure how Stephen had talked him into this.

Because Cutter was standing, half naked and barefoot in the blazing sunlight. He was waist deep in a stream with a stick sharpened to a point in one hand and his eyes trained on the fish moving beneath him. When Stephen had asked him to drive into the countryside, Cutter hadn’t been sure what to expect, especially since they’d brought no food or supplies or a map or anything.

It hadn’t bothered Stephen, though. He’d marched them through the woods and rolling hills, found the stream and proceeded to strip to his boxers. Using his pocketknife, he’d created two spears and handed one to Cutter, who stared at it, bewildered.

“What’s this for?” he’d asked.

“We need food, don’t we?” Stephen had said, and Cutter had been too afraid to ask.

In this, Cutter supposed that he should be grateful they were only fishing.

Rather, he should be grateful that he was only standing half naked in water pretending to fish.

Nearby, Stephen was in a similar stance, but he was so focused that he didn’t see Cutter wavering awkwardly in the stream. He lashed out, clean and fluid, pulling the spear up out of the water with a triumphant smirk. Wading back to shore, he put the fish with the others in the pile.

Cutter looked back at the stream, watching as another fish darted between his legs. Frustrated, he stabbed at it but it skirted away.

“Aim a few inches ahead of it,” Stephen advised.

Cutter glowered and tried again, yelping when he almost hit his foot.

“And never stab between your legs,” Stephen said. “I learned that one the hard way.”

Cutter tried not to harrumph, but as he stabbed at another fish -- and missed epically -- it was hard.

Even more so when he looked up to see Stephen holding another wriggling fish aloft on his home made spear.

“Another one?” Cutter asked, trying not to be disdainful.

Stephen grinned. “I never considered how modern times might make them more sluggish,” he said, admiring the still twitching fish. “This is going much faster than I intended.”

Faster was relative. They’d been in the stream for the better part of two hours and Cutter was wrinkled, sun burnt and annoyed. Annoyed that this was how he was spending his day off, annoyed that he hadn’t caught one bloody fish, and annoyed that Stephen caught as many as he wanted without even trying.

Just annoyed. “You know, we could have just gone to the pub if you wanted fish.”

Stephen’s face scrunched up, even as he made his way back to shore to add the fish to the pile. “And over pay a poorly trained chef for what we can catch for free?”

Cutter glared. “Do you even have a fishing license?”

Stephen just rolled his eyes. Turning back toward Cutter and wading into the stream, he shook his head with a rueful smile. “That’s something I miss about the Permian,” he said. “No regulations or government trying to dictate what I know or how I live. It was liberating.”

Stephen went back to work, eyeing another fish. Cutter looked back down and glared at the fish, muttering to himself, “If you want to live like bloody Tarzan, maybe.”

“What?” Stephen asked, squinting back at him.

Cutter lifted his hand and forced a smile. “Nothing!”

-o-

Cutter tried.

And failed.

When Stephen had caught enough fish, Cutter hoped the younger man might see fit to end the misery. Instead, he shook his head. “You’re still not aiming right.”

Frustrated, Cutter glared. “I’m aiming a few inches off, just like you said.”

“Right, but you’re not feeling the movement of the fish,” Stephen said.

“Because I’m not a fish,” Cutter pointed out, cross.

“But you’re smarter than the fish,” Stephe reminded him. He moved closer, looking down. “I mean, just look at them down there. They’re not guided by higher reasoning. It’s all simple reactions to their environment. You have to gauge that environment and figure out what decision the fish would make.”

“It’s a fish,” Cutter said emphatically, hoping the torture would end soon.

“No,” Stephen said. “It’s lunch. If you want to eat, you’ll catch this, otherwise it’ll be a long day.”

It figured that Stephen would hold out on him. Eyes narrowed, he stared hard at the fish, watching it dart about. Focused, he thrust down--

And missed.

Frustrated, he almost threw the spear away. “This is stupid!”

Stephen was closer now, a rough hand on Cutter’s arm. Stephen still shied away from touch, so the suddenness of the contact was surprising. But before Cutter could consider its implications, he realized Stephen was guiding his arm.

“Watch the fish,” he said. “Understand the fish. Overcome the fish.”

It felt ridiculous, but Cutter watched. The fish moved, darting here and there, moving against the current, drifting back, against, and back.

“Know the movements,” Stephen advised, voice low and steady over the rushing water. “Anticipate them.”

Cutter saw the pattern, saw the habits. Saw it all.

“And strike!” Stephen said, and Cutter plunged his spear down--

Right into the fish.

Howling with joy, Cutter held it aloft. “Did you see that!” he said, fish mounted high over his head. “I got it!”

Stephen grinned, a large, wide smile. “You got it,” he agreed.

Cutter looked up at it proudly, watching it wriggle helplessly with satisfaction. “A fine fish, if I do say so myself,” he said.

Stephen nodded. “Go put it with the rest,” he said. “We still have work to do.”

Cutter frowned. “We have enough fish...”

Stephen just grinned. “We’re not going to get any more fish.”

And somehow, even in the euphoria of his catch, Cutter had a bad feeling about that.

-o-

Cutter’s instincts were, as always, almost infallible. A short time later, with their catch of fish in a satchel on Stephen’s back, they were traipsing through the woods. Cutter had wanted to get dressed again, but Stephen had advised against it.

“With the water, you’ll just chafe,” he said.

Chafing or no, Cutter was starting to worry that his feet would never survive the acorn strewn floor as they treaded about barefoot.

Stephen, however, was unphased, padding lightly through the brush, stopping and leaning down periodically, looking at things that looked like ordinary sticks and leaves, as far as Cutter could tell.

He paused, uprooting a plant and sniffing it. Seemingly satisfied, he got out another pack and held it out to Cutter. “Just hold it open,” he said.

Without anything better to do, Cutter did as instructed, holding the bag open while Stephen started putting the roots inside.

“You do know that it’s customary to let weeds grow in the wild, don’t you?” Cutter asked.

Stephen didn’t look up, making his way over to a bush and plucking a few berries off. He licked one and threw it away. “I do,” Stephen said. “Which makes our job so much easier.”

Cutter made a face while Stephen cracked open one of the acorns. “And what is our job exactly today?

Stephen added the acorns to the bag. “You’ll see.”

-o-

After an hour, all Cutter could see was his cut up feet, his sore back, and a bag full of weeds. When Stephen stopped to taste the bark off a tree, Cutter had had just about enough.

“Bark?” he asked, indignant. Because he had put up with a lot. He had put up with too much. He was tired and he wanted to go home but instead he was playing Swiss Family Robinson with a real live Tarzan. “I put up with the fish; I endured the acorns. But bark? When I could be watching the football game at the pub? Are you serious?”

Stephen straightened, looking at him with wide blue eyes. He cocked his head. “Very.”

Cutter gaped, flinging his arms out. “But what’s the point?”

Stephen’s face twisted, almost confused. “Do you trust me?”

Cutter’s anger stopped short. It was like Stephen to see the crux of the situation and go right at it, nothing held back.

And what was Cutter supposed to say? What did Cutter really think? Did he trust Stephen? Did he trust the man who had slept with his wife? Or the man who had saved his life more times than he could count?

Did he trust Stephen, or was this just his community service project for the sake of the best friend he’d lost?

There was only one answer. Cutter didn’t particularly like its implications right now, but it was the only answer he could possibly give. “Yes,” he said.

Stephen grinned. “Then hold open the bag and shut up.”

So Cutter bit back his grumbles and obeyed for once in his life.

-o-

It was almost twilight when they got back to the stream. The day was cooling off, and his clothes were now dry enough to put back on. While he pulled on his shirt and socks, Stephen set about lighting a fire, using two stones.

“I have a lighter,” Cutter was going to say, but found there was no need, as the two stones sparked and Stephen leaned over to blow and the fire caught and spread on the kindling, lighting up the night.

“Not bad,” Cutter observed as Stephen set about organizing their day’s bounty.

Stephen didn’t look up, but Cutter could see him smirk. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

-o-

It was dark, but the fire was raging. Stephen had cooked the fish across the open fire, smearing them with the roots and toasting the bark and acorns in an adjacent bed of stones, placing the finished fish on top to simmer.

They ate straight from the bone. It was messy and unclean, but Stephen had stripped away the scales with his pocket knife, exposing the lean meat below. The fire embers gave it a rich flavor, and the woody taste of bark was an odd but refreshing complement.

There was more fish than Cutter had thought he could eat, but after a long day in the sun, he found himself ravished. Between the two of them, they demolished the catch, and Cutter even found himself snacking on the acorns with some satisfaction.

“Okay,” Cutter said finally. They’d ate mostly in silence, sharing complements and quips, but with his belly full and the stars above, Cutter was feeling reflective. “I hadn’t seen anything.”

Stephen laughed. “I thought you trusted me.”

“I did,” Cutter said. “I mean, I do.” He paused awkwardly. “I just--”

“Thought I was completely incapable of doing something entertaining during the weekend?” Stephen suggested.

“I just thought you had a very different idea of fun,” Cutter clarified.

Stephen shrugged. “I do,” he said. “It’s not like I had a pub or a football team to follow in the Permian.”

Cutter inclined his head. “I reckon not.”

Stephen sighed. “I hated it for a while,” he admitted. “Everything. Resented every moment of every day. But then I sort of...understood it. Saw something in it. Because everything we have in the modern world makes our lives easier, but it doesn’t always make it...I don’t know. Better?”

It was a thought, Cutter supposed. That somewhere in the technology and the planning, it was easy to lose sight of the simple things that mattered. Of the people that mattered.

Stephen reached for another acorn, running it through his fingers. “We make life complicated, but it’s really not,” he said. “If I had learned that earlier, I might have never ended up in the Permian at all.”

And Cutter might have never met Stephen -- clone or otherwise.

But there was no room for regrets. They could go back, but there was no telling what they would change. And that wasn’t Stephen’s point anyway. The point was to stop and appreciate where you were and what you had. Whether you were stuck in the Permian with nothing but your wits, or sitting by a stream with your best friend: you had to appreciate it.

Stephen nudged him. “One more acorn,” he said. “You want it?”

Cutter looked at the acorn. He looked at Stephen. “Why not?” he shrugged, catching it as Stephen threw.

Popping it in his mouth, Cutter crunched down, half wondering when he’d actually become a human-sized squirrel.

Half wondering why he cared. Because it wasn’t just a question of whether or not Cutter trusted Stephen, but the fact that Stephen trusted Cutter enough to bring him here, to share this with him.

Overall, Cutter still wasn’t sure how Stephen had talked him into this, but he was sort of glad he had.

Comments

Posted by: freddiejoey (freddiejoey)
Posted at: February 15th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
Nick -sally

"Stephen sighed. “I hated it for a while,” he admitted. “Everything. Resented every moment of every day. But then I sort of...understood it. Saw something in it. Because everything we have in the modern world makes our lives easier, but it doesn’t always make it...I don’t know. Better?”

It was a thought, Cutter supposed. That somewhere in the technology and the planning, it was easy to lose sight of the simple things that mattered. Of the people that mattered."

Wonderful fic.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
stephen up

I'm really glad you liked it :)

Thanks!

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: February 15th, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
Hottie Nick/Stephen


**Did he trust Stephen, or was this just his community service project for the sake of the best friend he’d lost?**

Meep! I'm glad they both ended up having fun. Nick needs to go feral now and again to see the other side of things ;) Great look at the contrasts and how Stephen rebels now and again

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

I really love the emotional tension for this version of Stephen. I really need to sit down and write more of his (mis)adventures.

Thanks!

Posted by: natchris (natchris)
Posted at: February 15th, 2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
Ryan/Nick

Entrancing story

Love it

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
stephen smiles

Aw, thank you :)

Posted by: fredbassett (fredbassett)
Posted at: February 15th, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
PriWriMo - Stephen - plot

Nice look at both of them, with Cutter finally making a sort of connection to how things were for Stephen.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
stephen smiles

I think the dynamic between these two is just so interesting, so I'm glad people aren't tired of them just yet :)

Thanks!

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: February 15th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
Nick/StephenBW

I'm so glad I'm learning about survival by reading about it in the comfort of my home *g* I can so understand Cutter's frustration. But great bonding time and so sweet that in the end Cutter was glad Stephen had talked him into it.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
stephen hair

Hah, I'm with you. I would not fare well in Stephen's world here.

Thanks :)

Posted by: reggietate (reggietate)
Posted at: February 15th, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
stephen-nick-m25

Oh dear, poor Cutter! :-D I feel for his frustration, but it's rather fun to see him out of his depth and learning from Stephen.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter

Yeah, most of the time, Cutter gets to be in charge so it was nice to turn the tables :)

Thanks!

Posted by: knitekat (knitekat)
Posted at: February 15th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)

Poor Cutter and nice bit of the boys spending time together.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

I'm glad you enjoyed it :) Thanks!

Posted by: goldarrow (goldarrow)
Posted at: February 16th, 2013 12:08 am (UTC)

Loved it.

Cutter's frustration, and Stephen's patience with him were a lovely turnaround from their usual actions :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
stephen shocked

Poor Cutter -- he puts up with a lot :)

Thanks!s

Posted by: flaccidduck (flaccidduck)
Posted at: February 17th, 2013 06:04 am (UTC)
Nick/Stephen/Helen

What a grand fic!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

Thanks so much :)

Posted by: lsellersfic (lsellersfic)
Posted at: March 23rd, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
Primeval:Nick/Stephen (Team Mates)

Lovely to see Cutter coming to an understanding at the end there.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 31st, 2013 03:13 am (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

Yeah, I can't blame Cutter for almost any of his feelings -- Stephen doesn't make it easy. But it's nice when they can come to a deeper understanding.

Thanks!

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