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fanfic: Home - athene
fanfic: Home
Happy birthday telperion_15 . Hope you have a great day, here's a little fic for you.

Title: Home
Author: Athene
Fandom: Primeval
Pairing/characters: Nick/Stephen
Rating: PG
Warnings: none
Spoilers: none
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: approx 2500
Summary: Home was closer than Nick had thought.
AN: Birthday fic for telperion_15. This fic was inspired by the film Under the Greenwood Tree. It’s a very bad film, but it does feature a lot of James Murray in period costume doing manual labour work and getting wet; something that seemed to go down rather well with most of the Denial ladies at the last get-together...

The view over the valley looked like a Christmas card picture. Stone cottages huddled together in the little village, plumes of smoke curling up from chimneys, and a blanket of soft snow covered roofs and the cobbles of the village square. The river that meandered along the bottom of the valley past the village was almost frozen over, and the ducks that normally inhabited its banks the rest of the year looked particularly disgruntled.

It was idyllic. But it wasn’t home.

Their house was further up the valley slope away from the main village, and there was no shelter from the biting wind. Nick wrapped his coat tighter around himself, cursing the itchy shirt for the millionth time. What he wouldn’t give right now for a proper pair of jeans and a decent t-shirt. They still had their old clothes in the house, well hidden, of course, and just for tonight Nick was tempted to dig them out and be comfortable, instead of spending the entire evening fiddling with his shirt in a way that both amused and irritated Stephen in equal measure.

Speaking of Stephen... Nick turned around to look back at the house. Stephen was standing outside their little outbuilding chopping logs for firewood. Despite the cold he had obviously worked up a sweat and had stripped to just a shirt, and Nick couldn’t help standing and admiring. He preferred this view to the one of the village any day.

Stephen must have felt himself being watched, because he stopped and leaned on the axe and looked up at Nick.

“You could help, instead of just watching,” Stephen commented, although there was a smile touching his mouth as he said it.

“What, and miss a prime ogling opportunity?”

Stephen smirked and made a show of raising the axe above his head before bringing it down onto the next log. “Ogle all you want, but if the fire dies in the night and we both freeze to death it’ll be your fault,” Stephen said, grinning.

Nick eyed the pile of firewood.

“I don’t think we’re going to run out. Bloody hell, Stephen we need wood for one night, not the next ice age.”

“Not all for us,” Stephen replied. “I said I’d take some extra down to Mrs Harrison and check on her before it gets dark.”

Nick nodded. Mrs Harrison was an old lady who lived on the edge of the village about five minutes walk from them. She had slipped on the snow and injured her knee a couple of days earlier, and most of the village were rallying round to help in one way or another. Like most of the ladies in the village, Mrs Harrison had a soft spot for Stephen, and Nick wondered what sort of pie or cake she would try to give him this time.

“Well, you’d better hurry up, it’ll be dark soon,” Nick commented, glancing in the direction of the setting sun even though he knew it had remained stubbornly hidden behind white, snow-filled clouds all day. “I’ll get dinner on for when you get back.”

He headed over and took an armload of wood into the house while Stephen put his coat on and piled some of the chopped wood into a sack for Mrs Harrison. When Nick came back out to collect the rest, Stephen was already walking down the slope towards the village, the sack slung over his back like a nineteenth century Santa, minus the costume, and infinitely sexier.

Once all the wood was inside, Nick stoked the fire and fed it until it was blazing, and then went round and lit candles at strategic points around the house. By the time Stephen got back it would be toasty warm, no matter how much the wind howled outside. But it still wasn’t home.

They had been here for almost eight months now. Granted, it was better than being trapped in the Carboniferous forever, but neither of them had bargained on being forced to make a life for themselves in a remote Somerset village in 1843.

For the first few weeks they had loitered in the vicinity of the anomaly, hoping that it might return and that they might be able to find another way home. But as time went on and the batteries in their hand held detector ran down, they finally had to admit that they needed a long term plan.

Nick had wanted to go to a city, somewhere they could have access to libraries and research, but the need to remain relatively anonymous, and a desire to stay close to the original anomaly site, had won out in the end. The villagers had initially been suspicious, but when both he and Stephen proved to be willing workers at any number of manual labour jobs they had slowly been accepted. Especially after Stephen had rescued young Jimmy when he fell in the lake. That, more than anything, seemed to have been the point when they were finally accepted as part of the community, and not just those two strangers who had moved into the abandoned house up the valley.

They were still keeping a close eye on the anomaly location, and keeping an ear open for any reports of strange animals, but as time wore on they had found themselves slipping into a routine of life and work that Nick would never have thought he could be happy with in a million years. Somewhat surprisingly, Stephen had settled to their new life remarkably easily, and the lifestyle seemed to suit him. Nick sometimes wondered if it was simply down to the friendly community spirit here. It was all a million miles away from the politics and backstabbing that had existed in the university, and which had followed them to the ARC.

Nevertheless, if they were still here after the snows had gone, Nick was hatching a plan to write Connor a letter detailing exactly what had happened to them, and then travelling to London to have the letter kept in a safe deposit with instructions of exactly where and when to deliver it. He had no idea if Connor would be able to do anything to find them, but it was worth a shot, at least.

In the meantime, he supposed it could be a lot worse. They had a house, they had work and money, and they had each other.

Nick started to prepare their evening meal while he waited for Stephen to return. It was a particularly uninspiring vegetable stew, but it was hot and it was filling, and they had some nice fresh bread to go with it, at least.

Once the stew was simmering away, he left it and went and sat in the warmth of the living room to write his journal. It was something he had started doing when they moved into the house, once they had accepted that they would probably not be going home any time soon. He wasn’t even very sure why he was keeping it, somehow it just seemed important that some record should remain. If the worst happened, if they never found an anomaly that would take them home, then maybe he could leave the journal with the letter for Connor. Then at least the rest of the team would know what had happened to them. In amongst the notes about how they had settled down and were living here, he was also writing down any thoughts or theories about the anomalies, anything that might give him an idea for how to get home, or else something more to pass onto Connor so that Nick’s own work wouldn’t die here with him.

He became so engrossed in his work that it was only when the smell of burning stew filtered through from the kitchen that he suddenly jumped up and ran to stir it and take it off the heat. A few experimental pokes told him it was still okay to eat, although they should probably avoid scraping the bottom of the cooking pot too enthusiastically unless they wanted the burnt bits as well.

That was when it occurred to him that Stephen was late. Even given Mrs Harrison’s ability to talk for England, Stephen should have been back in time for food.

Nick went to the front door and peered out into the darkness, looking for a familiar figure coming up the path. There was no one there. He wasn’t entirely sure whether he wanted to be annoyed or worried, but either way, he was letting all the heat out of the house so he closed the door and went back to the simmering stew and stirred it unenthusiastically.

It was another twenty minutes before he heard the door bang.

“It’s about bloody time, the potatoes have damn near dissolved into nothing already.”

There was no reply, and more to the point there had been no gust of cold air indicating that the door had been opened. Nick went to investigate, opened the door, and Stephen collapsed at his feet.

Nick swore loudly and dropped to his knees at his friend’s side.

“Stephen? Stephen, what the hell happened? Are you all right?”

Stephen didn’t reply, his expression seemed as frozen as the rest of his body, and he could only shiver violently as Nick gathered him up and dragged him away from the door so he could close it against the night air. Then he pulled Stephen to his feet and half carried him into the main room to deposit him in front of the fire.

“Stephen, what happened?” Nick asked again. His hands roamed all over Stephen’s body looking for signs of injury, but there was no obvious blood. What was obvious, however, was that Stephen was utterly soaked to the skin, every item of clothing was sodden and beginning to stiffen as the water froze.

“Slipped... fell... stream,” Stephen managed to gasp out.

Christ, if he’d fallen into the stream and then walked all the way back up to the house in this weather it was no bloody wonder he was frozen.

“Why the hell didn’t you go to one of the nearer houses in the village, you idiot?” Nick muttered as he started to strip the wet clothes off him. Stephen was still shivering too hard to be able to help with this task.

“Wanted... home.”

“Damn stupid stubborn sod,” Nick muttered, stripping away the coat and shirt and dumping them on the floor. Suddenly Stephen all but fell onto him and wrapped his arms tight around Nick’s chest.

“Gah!” Nick gasped at the sudden cold against his body. Then, without hesitation, he held Stephen close and rubbed his hands up and down Stephen’s naked back.

God, what if he had hypothermia? There was no hospital within easy reach, no modern medicine. Of all the dangerous creatures they had faced together, he couldn’t lose Stephen like this.

He lost track of how long they stayed like that in front of the fire. A little colour started to seep back into Stephen’s skin, enough so that eventually Nick let go and pulled back. Stephen tried to follow him, and Nick had to push him away.

“Stay here. I’ll get you some dry clothes and blankets. I’ll be back in a minute, I promise.”

Stephen nodded and hugged his arms around his chest. Nick ran to their bedroom and gathered up as many clothes and sheets and blankets as he could possibly carry. Once back in front of the fire he helped Stephen to take off the rest of his wet clothes and then rubbed him dry with one of the sheets, before wrapping him up in three layers of sheets and blankets and propping him up in front of the fire.

“Feeling any warmer yet?”

Stephen nodded, although he was still shivering desperately.

“I’ll get you some food, that’ll help.”

Nick ran into the kitchen and served up two great big steaming bowls of stew. Then grabbed the bread and put them all on a tray and carried them back to where Stephen was huddled.

“Get this into you.” Nick shoved one of the bowls to Stephen and watched until he had managed to get a spoonful into his mouth. Stephen grimaced.

“I know you’re a bad cook but you’ve excelled yourself this time.”

Nick chuckled. Stephen was definitely recovering if he could complain about the food.

“Yeah well, it wouldn’t have been so overcooked if you’d been home on time.” He prodded the bowl again. “Eat,” he urged.

Nick thought he caught Stephen muttering something about Jewish grandmother, but he could tell that Stephen was looking better by the minute. Nick tried a mouthful from his own bowl of stew. Then he tried very hard not to mirror Stephen’s grimace. It was hot. Admittedly that was probably the best thing that could be said about it, but it was certainly hot. He broke off a big lump of bread and pressed it into Stephen’s hand before breaking off another chunk and dipping it into his own stew. He chewed carefully, his gaze never leaving Stephen as he ate.

“Why are you watching me?” Stephen said eventually. He glanced up and the firelight seemed to reflect in his eyes.

“Making sure you’re alive,” Nick admitted. He hoped the heat of the fire was disguising the fact that he had probably just gone rather red in the face.

Stephen’s eyebrows rose slightly. Then he went back to eating his dinner.

They both ate in silence until the last of the stew and bread were gone. Then Nick shoved the bowls to one side and settled down behind Stephen and pulled the younger man into his arms, blankets and all. Stephen snuggled against him and Nick wrapped his arms around him again. Even through the layers Nick could tell that Stephen was warmer now. The colour had returned to his skin, and the shivering had finally stopped altogether.

“Don’t do that to me again,” Nick whispered. “You scared the hell out of me.”

Stephen responded by twisting his head so he could nuzzle Nick’s jaw. Nick turned until their lips met, and then they shared a long, slow kiss until the need for oxygen finally became an issue. They cuddled for a while, Stephen occasionally wriggling in Nick’s arms.

“I think I twisted my ankle when I fell,” he said after a while. “By the time I was halfway up the hill I thought I’d never make it back.”

“Well, you’re home now so don’t worry about it.”

Stephen wriggled again, and then turned to look at Nick with a curious expression.

“That’s the first time you’ve called it home.”

Nick paused for a moment. Stephen was right.

“Humph. Maybe,” he admitted.

Stephen smirked and leaned close for another kiss. Nick indulged him, holding him even closer. Stephen was here with him, and as far as Nick was concerned, wherever they were, that meant they were home.

Oh, and to feed your other favourite pairing, have a jigsaw as well

cutterconnor3 - online jigsaw puzzle - 120 pieces

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50 comments or Leave a comment
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munchkinofdoom From: munchkinofdoom Date: December 15th, 2009 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooooo! This is entirely too plausible... love Nick's concern about losing Stephen to the lack of modern medicine instead of dangerous animals.

But their domesticity was lovely.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I still dislike how they magically seem to come back to the right time and place if an anomaly is inconsiderate enough to close on them in the show. There are a lot worse places to end up than the nineteenth century, but there's still going to be a hell of lot of things that they would need to adjust to living without.

I was quite surprised at how domestic the boys were being by the end of this *grin*
bigtitch From: bigtitch Date: December 15th, 2009 08:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh - period domestic bliss. I love it! Great fic!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
hee, I've had the idea for this fic ever since October when we watched that film at the get-together. James Murray in period costume seemed to push a lot of buttons in that hotel room!
kristen_mara From: kristen_mara Date: December 15th, 2009 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)

*Squees in stereo*

////James Murray in period costume doing manual labour work and getting wet////

That's just summed up a number of my kinks ;) And you put hypothermia and Nick/Stephen snuggling in there too, yes!!!!

I love the idea of the two of them having to make their living in the past, and how it can be managed because they have each other. Am always happy when Nick gets angsty over Stephen's welfare...

deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
excellent, it's always nice to hit people's kinks with a fic.

I suspect Nick and Stephen are probably the two people who could cope best with living in such a time, but there would be a lot of changes to get used to, and they'd both have to look out for each other. I do like a bit of hurt/comfort, though *grin*
fififolle From: fififolle Date: December 15th, 2009 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
OMG!! This is too adorable for words!! Stephen all helpy and rescuey, and chopping wood *guh* And the sheer terror of knowing Stephen might be seriously ill will no modern emergency services, bloody hell, that was a great moment.
A fabulous and delicious scenario, and yay for plans to let Connor know somehow *g*
I utterly adored this, and will definitely be re-reading and savouring later!!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can just imagine Stephen being handy with an axe! Although he probably shouldn't let Nick cook too often. I'm trying to imagine the looks on their faces when Nick tries to explain to some poor desk clerk that he wants them to keep this letter safe for over 150 years and then deliver it to a building that doesn't exist yet to a person who won't be born until nearly the end of the next century!
From: madcatt82 Date: December 15th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, timey-wimey, stuck in the past and making the best of it fic!
The pair of them trying to survive in the past is completely adorable, and I love how it's the lack of modern medecine that they now consider to be the biggest threat.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's quite scary trying to imagine what they wouldn't have then that we almost take for granted today, modern medicine being one of them. Of all of them, I suspect Nick and Stephen might cope best, partly because they seem to have been on expeditions into the wilderness and lived for at least short lengths of time away from civilisation. Not the same thing as this, granted, but it's probably less of a shock to the system to these guys than it would be to, say, Connor.
lukadreaming From: lukadreaming Date: December 15th, 2009 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, this is adorable! It's a really neat idea and I love the domesticity as well as the fact the lack of medicine is more threatening than the scary critters. And Stephen stripped to the waist chopping wood is a verrry nice image!

*Huggles the lovely fic*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
hee, I thought people might like that image of Stephen chopping wood *grin*. The boys are surprisingly cute when they're being domestic, although I think perhaps Nick should be domestic *away from the cooking area*!!!!
fredbassett From: fredbassett Date: December 15th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was adorable! I loved Nick's idea of writing a letter to be delivered to Connor to tell them what had happened. Delightfully timey-wimey.

And cold and wet is always yummy.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Stephen in period costume and getting wet; yep, I thought that image would go down well *grin*. And I was quite fond of Nick's letter to Connor idea, although explaining it to the post office might be tricky.
joereaves From: joereaves Date: December 15th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely. I do love the idea of people being stuck in another time for a long time.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
People getting stuck in the wrong time is one of my favourite plot ideas (as you may have guessed). I'm really quite surprised there isn't more fic with it in.
telperion_15 From: telperion_15 Date: December 15th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
*big happy sigh* Oh this is just too wonderful! I love, love, love them making a home for themselves in that setting, and Stephen chopping wood is a lovely image! ;)

But I will admit to being terrified there for a moment when Nick realised no one had come through the door - a simple soaking was actually quite a relief! And the idea of Nick leaving a letter for Connor is brilliant - lovely little timey-wimey touch! I love it, hon, thank you!

And also, a tip re. the jigsaws - if you want to make them even harder, try doing them after a glass of wine. This one took me ages... *g*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hugs* Glad you liked it. I've had that mental image of Stephen chopping wood ever since October when we watched that film at the get-together. It was just a matter of finding a plot idea to go with it.

Hope you've had a lovely birthday, anyway.

I haven't done that jigsaw yet, I'll probably have a go at it tomorrow.
unseen_quill From: unseen_quill Date: December 15th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fabulous fic. :D

It's very typically Cutter, hanging on to the thought of their real home and not wanting to get attached to the one they had at the moment. It's understandable the slight resentment one might feel then. It's so sweet when he finally admits that the really important part of home is Stephen.

And I loved your comment on modern medicine. That has always been the actual true threat for situations like these, and it's the one people always forget.

I also really loved Nick's idea of leaving a letter for Connor. Very Back to the Future. :D

This really should be a new sub genre that is thoroughly explored. :P
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 15th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you liked. I do love fics that deal with characters getting stranded in thw wrong time, whether that's prehistoric time or something else, and I wish there was more of it. I suppose it's the kind of thing that needs a lot more research, though, which probably puts people off if they don't have access to decent books or don't have much time to go into lots of detail.

The medicine aspect is something that is important for these scenarios. It would be terrifying for someone used to modern medicine to realise that a simple accident or illness that today's antibiotics would see off in a week, might be fatal in another time or place.
knitekat From: knitekat Date: December 16th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely bit of timey-wimey and the boys in a new world (to them), and snuggles too. Nick still can't cook, I see *g*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 16th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nick and cooking just don't seem to go well together *grin*. But there had to be snuggles for T_15's birthday.
mysteriousaliwz From: mysteriousaliwz Date: December 16th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely - period clothing (or lack of) and domesticity :)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 16th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do like men in period costume, I bet they'd both look rather tasty like that.
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: December 16th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Walking back home instead of to a closer house in the village sounds very much like the sort of stupid thing Stephen would do! I can see how Nick would chafe horribly at being trapped in the past, and being unable to do his preferred work, and Stephen would fit in much more easily.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 16th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect it would be very hard for Nick to adjust to living in such a time and not being able to make use the vast majority of his knowledge and skills. Poor Nick. But for some reason I can see Stephen being much better at it, and still finding lots of things he can do.
auntypam From: auntypam Date: December 16th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey if I had to be stuck in the 19th century I'd want it to be with Stephen*VBG* The wood chopping scene in the movie was one of my favs, so I'd be ogling too!!!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 16th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can think of very females who *wouldn't* ogle Stephen when he was doing something like that! If he's going to show off his body like that then he should expect to get stared at *grin*
reggietate From: reggietate Date: December 16th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)
We don't often see 'curtainfic' for these two; very sweet. It's great to see them happy together :-)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: December 16th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't often write fic for this paring to be honest. Usually I only write Nick/Stephen for yours and Tel's birthdays, but they can be surprisingly cute together when they're not being all angsty post 1.6.
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