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Fic: Second Choice - athene
Fic: Second Choice
Having written a 'betrayal' fic from Nick's point of view, I thought I'd see what Stephen had to say on the subject. This was originally intended to be a drabble, but the fic then flat refused to be anything less than 250 words.

Title: Second Choice
Author: Athene
Fandom: Primeval
Pairing/characters: Stephen, Stephen/Helen, Nick/Stephen (implied)
Rating: PG
Warnings: slash (implied)
Spoilers: episode 6 (takes place during the final scene)
Disclaimer: Not mine, ITV and Impossible Pictures own them
Word count: 250
Summary: Why did Stephen say no to Helen when she offered him everything?


           Stephen is standing there in front of them all, caught like a rabbit in headlights. No, more like a rat, caught in Helen’s expertly manipulated trap. He’s aware of everybody staring at him and Helen. Everybody trying not to stare at Nick. Stephen takes a moment to consider his answer.

            “You know what I’d forgotten Helen? Sometimes you can be a real bitch.”

            It’s a good answer, accurate, and yet in no way reflecting the real reason why he refuses. It’s not because she’s done this to him, revealed their secret in front of everybody, so calculatingly putting him in this position. It’s a part of why, but it’s only a small part.

            It’s not because of the intense guilt he feels when he sees the terrible look of betrayal on Nick’s face. Although that, too, is part of it.

            It’s not even some effort to save face in front of the others and their accusing stares. That’s not really a consideration at all right now.

            Stephen says no because deep down he knows that he is the second choice. He knows that she asked Nick first, and it was only after Nick refused that she asked him. And Stephen doesn’t like the thought of being the runner up, the second choice.

            But there’s something else that Helen failed to take into account. Something that is the largest, most important part of his decision. Because when it comes to Stephen’s relationships with the Cutters, Helen was, and always will be, his second choice.


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36 comments or Leave a comment
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fredbassett From: fredbassett Date: June 28th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Spot on! Helen is a bitch (and indeed one could plagiarise the "Kyle's Mom's a bitch" song from South Park and sing it about her!)and anyway, Stephen has had the last 8 years with Nick to work that out!

Let's hear it for homo-erotic angst! Wins every time :) Nice fic, thanks.

PS Also like the competitive edge you bring out here.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 28th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

This was one of those that just suddenly appeared in my head out of nowhere while I was stood waiting for a bus, and wouldn't go away until I'd written it.

Helen is indeed a bitch, and I have to admit Stephen isn't really my favourite character either, but then again, if they were all happy and nice there wouldn't be any drama for us to write fic about, would there?
adafrog From: adafrog Date: June 29th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Good story. Thanks.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 29th, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
noxnoctisanima From: noxnoctisanima Date: June 29th, 2007 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, Helen's a bitch, and Stephen's a smart boy. God i love this line "Helen was, and always will be, his second choice." Thants exactly how i see the Helen/Stephen relationship. Bless you. Love it.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 29th, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Quite apart from the fact that he'd probably rather have Nick, he's probably worked out that once she gets bored she'll dump him. And getting dumped is one thing, getting dumped and abandoned in the prehistoric past is something else entirely!

lil_shepherd From: lil_shepherd Date: June 29th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Liked this one a lot. It is a proper story despite the length and the stream of consciousness restricted pov. In fact, that helps. You've also got a really good line to finish on, which is half the battle with these really short-shorts. (2 and a half Drabbles?)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 29th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

It's good to know the last line worked, usually I have problems with how to finish fics and they always seem to end a bit lamely. Although this one I think that final line was one of the things that came first, and the rest of the fic was built around it.
telperion_15 From: telperion_15 Date: June 29th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, more like a rat, caught in Helen’s expertly manipulated trap.

Oh, she really is a nasty piece of work, isn't she?!

And yay for the angst - I love it so!

Very nice story.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 29th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

You just can't beat a really angsty love triangle, can you? Although I think where Stephen is concerned, by the end of the series it was turning into a love polygon!
seraphina_snape From: seraphina_snape Date: June 29th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I liked this. I love the parallel of Stephen and Helen both being each other's second choice, with Nick kinda in the middle. That's exactly how I see their relationship(s).

~ sera
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 29th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cheers for the comments. Glad you liked.

Nick is rather the victim, caught in the middle of that nasty little triangle, isn't he? Poor Nick. Or possibly lucky Nick, depending which way you look at it.
cordeliadelayne From: cordeliadelayne Date: June 29th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a really good look at Stephen's relationship with the pair of them. I can see him realising that she's just using him to hurt Nick and not wanting to be part of it. Very nice :D
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 29th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

When I first wrote this I didn't intend for it to be slash (however 'implied'). That ending was more supposed to be about how Stephen chooses his friendship with Nick over the affair with Helen. But then I admitted defeat and called it slash instead.

Either way works, because Stephen *does* know he's being used, and everything he does from then on is about trying to protect Nick from the worst of the fallout, and distance himself from Helen's mind games. I'm glad it seems to work.
enchantersnight From: enchantersnight Date: September 16th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very nice, like the rat trap line.

Can I see the fic from Nicks point of view anywhere?
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: September 17th, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

The betrayal fic from Nick's pov is a fic called 'Lost and Found', and it's not actually on my LiveJournal! I posted it way back before I got the hang of linking and cross-posting, and so instead of posting it here and linking to the fanfic sites, I just posted straight to the fic sites. So, if you want to look for it, it's on Primeval_fanfic or Primeval_ITV sites, somewhere in the archive around 20th June. I was going to put a link here for you, but realised I only know how to link in an actual LJ post, and not in a comment, sorry about that.
sunsets_dinos From: sunsets_dinos Date: April 19th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
*claps* Bravo. That's it, right there. So very very true. I can truly imagine him thinking that. And yes, I always interpreted their relationship like that. Stephen and Helen both wanting Nick but sort of getting tangled up in each other too. :) Great writing. :)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 19th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. hey, this was a blast from the past - it's from two years ago, and was maybe the third primeval fic that I ever wrote. And yeah, the whole Nick/Helen/Stephen triangle was very messy and tangled, and such a gift for writing fic!
daxie42 From: daxie42 Date: May 27th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
This is a fantastic insight into Stephen's thoughts at that time and I love the last line!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 27th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
thanks. Stephen isn't a character that I write very often, these days, but this was one of the earliest fics that I wrote in this fandom before I got bitten by the Connor bunnies.
fififolle From: fififolle Date: June 26th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. That's great. A real turn up for the books. Fabulous. :D
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 26th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks. I don't write Stephen very often, he's not a character that interests me an awful lot compared to some of the others, but every now and then I try to get into his head. It seemed easier to do that in S1 than in S2 for some reason.
lukadreaming From: lukadreaming Date: June 26th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very neat! Another one I read but didn't comment on at the time *g*. I love this look inside Stephen's head, and that little twist in the table . . .
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 26th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Stephen, he really was completely caught in that situation. You could see the look on his face when he reaised what Helen was about to say in front of everyone.
knitekat From: knitekat Date: June 26th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great look at Stephen's thoughts during that scene. Love that he knew he was Helen's second choice, and that she was his.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 27th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)
thanks. Stephen must have felt pretty hurt about the fact that Helen only actually bothered to ask him to join her after Nick had rejected her no less than twice. Talk about being the runner up! No wonder he decided to tell her where to stick it as well. But I don't think he would have gone with her even if he had been the first choice, he has too many ties keeping him here. He only went with Helen in S2 after practically everybody else has utterly rejected him from the team.
auntypam From: auntypam Date: June 26th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Stands in line to call Helen a bitch. Stephen and Nick suffered enough at her hands.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 27th, 2009 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
You kind of have to wonder if she ever actually really expected Stephen to go with her at that point, or if it was just a malicious knife-twist to hurt Nick after he had rejected her.
kristen_mara From: kristen_mara Date: June 27th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)

That covered so much in such a short lot of words! Great look into Stephen's head, his true alliegance, and the comments were just as interesting ;)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 27th, 2009 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
thanks. Stephen is actually quite a complex character to get into, and I think I was aiming to show that his actions at this point were driven by a variety of emotions, not just a straight choice between Helen and Nick.
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