wildforce71: Hatter trying to let Alice go (Hatter can't let go)
[personal profile] wildforce71
Yes, I have inflicted myself on another fandom. Primeval, tag for 3.5. Connor had a really bad day, and it's up to Lester to pick up the pieces. No slash.

Primeval: People hunt dinosaurs and other pre- and post-historic creatures that arrive through rips in space/time anomalies. In ep 3.5, the team face a fungal parasite that's spread by touch and utterly consumes its' host. Connor, team genius and woobie, is accidentally trapped in a lab with the fungus and hits on the idea of freezing it, but can't leave. They have to drop the room to -30 C to kill the fungus, while Connor is still inside. Later, while dealing with another infestation, another team member is infected. Connor physically prevents her removal from a superchilled area until her infestation dies, risking her life in the process.
Abby is Connor's not-so-secret crush. Sarah is another teammate. Jenny is the infected teammate. Cutter was Connor's mentor until his death two episodes before this one. Just prior to this episode, Abby, Connor's flatmate, asked him to evacuate for a few days in favour of her younger brother. Connor attempted to live in his lab; Lester figured it out and reluctantly offered him space in his own apartment until something more permenant could be found.
This icon is vaguely suitable because it's Connor's actor in a different role.

Night Terrors

James Lester had made a lot of decisions in his life. Most of them he never thought about again; he wasn't the type to worry over decisions that had already been made. His decisions had given him a family and a career that, if not as calm as he might have liked, at least let him help people.

But he wasn't quite sure what he'd been thinking when he'd given Connor a key to his flat.

Connor Temple was a genius. Even better, from Lester's point of view, was that he didn't seem to realise he was a genius. It made dealing with him far easier when he could be quelled by a raised eyebrow or sarcastic turn of phrase.

The ARC needed him. In the wake of Nick Cutter's death Connor had somehow become their palaeontology expert, though his heart seemed to belong to his beloved machines, and his unrequited crush. Abby Maitland, skilled as she was becoming, simply didn't have the background to identify their 'visitors' as quickly as they sometimes needed. So Lester was willing to do a lot to keep Connor happy.

(Besides, Lester was a father, and the sight of the boy gamely trying to live in his lab without a hint or word of complaint made him uncomfortable in a way he normally ignored at work.)

But really, he had limits, and being woken at ten past two in the morning, sweltering in the far-too-hot flat – that was fast approaching them.

Climbing out of bed, he headed for the living room and the heating controls. One of Connor's pet whatever-they-weres snorted at him as he paused in the doorway. The light in the kitchen was on, throwing a dim glow over the living room; it was just enough for him to see the crumpled figure under the window.

Connor, wrapped in two blankets and the throw from the back of the couch, was huddled against the radiator, eyes closed. Lester considered him for a moment – he couldn't tell if the boy was asleep, though he doubted it – before heading into the kitchen, where he set the kettle to boil. Coming back into the living room, he switched on a small lamp, giving him enough light to see by without blinding either of them.

Connor opened his eyes when Lester crouched beside him. "Sorry," he muttered. Lester could see him grit his teeth to keep them from chattering. He was far too pale, even in the dim light. "It's too hot, I know."

"Well, you were hypothermic seven hours ago. I'll overlook it this time. When did you last eat?"

Connor shook his head, closing his eyes. "I can't."

"We'll see." The kettle boiled and he rose to his feet, pulling the desk chair across. "At least get off the floor. You do have to sleep in those blankets."

Lester dug out some ginger biscuits while the tea steeped – better than nothing if Connor was feeling sick – and left the bread out, ready for toast. He was thinking carefully as he moved, running through the day's events again.

Connor had been hypothermic for only minutes. He'd been checked out by a medic straight after leaving the lab, and again at the end of the hurried chase to catch the fungus and save Jenny. He'd been fine all that afternoon and evening, right up until...

"Right up until I took him from the ARC," Lester muttered.

Connor had made it off the floor, at least, huddled in the chair with his legs pulled up. Lester tapped his knees until he lowered them, unwrapping the throw from around him and laying it back over the couch. Connor watched without speaking, obediently taking the cup Lester offered him.

"It's the wrong way to warm up," Lester told him. "Start from the inside out. It's quicker and less likely to give you a heart attack."

Connor stared at the cup, braced against his knee. "I don't...I was fine."

"You're in shock, not hypothermic. Were you dreaming?"

"I...yeah, maybe. I don't remember." He didn't raise his eyes, still staring at the cup.

"Do you need me to feed it to you?" Lester enquired, voice deceptively mild. Connor shook his head quickly, ducking so he wouldn't have to lift the cup too far. It still shook hard enough to spill, but he did at least swallow a little. Lester had been careful to add plenty of milk, so it wasn’t hot enough to scald.

He thrust the kitchen paper at Connor; he had to disentangle his other arm to use it, and the blankets started to slip. Lester moved quickly, rescuing the cup before anything worse could happen.

"Let's try again," he said, once Connor was settled. This time he offered him the biscuit first, watching him nibble.

“Ginger. Yum,” he said unenthusiastically. Lester raised an eyebrow, and Connor ducked his head, still eating.

When he finished the biscuit Lester gave him the tea back. The heat and sugar were having an effect already, he was pleased to notice; Connor was still pale, but the shaking had calmed and he wasn’t gripping the blankets quite so tightly.

When he’d finished his tea Lester went back to the kitchen, putting the toast on. Connor was still sipping when he came back, but he put the cup down to accept the plate.

“What were you dreaming about, Connor?” Lester asked, watching him.

“Told you I don’t remember,” he muttered, staring at his plate. He crammed most of a slice into his mouth; mostly, Lester suspected, to avoid answering any other questions.

“Yes, of course you did.” Lester studied him for a moment, remembering the absolute horror on his face while the others had laboured to bring Jenny back. He’d seen it clearly in Connor’s eyes, the belief that he had killed her. “Did she die?”

Connor’s head jerked up so fast Lester heard his neck crack. “What?” he breathed. The plate of toast, forgotten in his hand, tilted alarmingly.

“Jenny, or maybe Sarah? In the control room? Or was it something else? When we were freezing the spores, did it not work? Were you trapped in there while the temperature kept dropping?”

“Stop,” Connor protested, shuddering. The little colour he’d regained fled his face.

“Was it Abby infected with that thing? Abby dying in the control room, freezing to death while you watched? Turning into one of those things?”

“I killed Jenny!”

The plate smashed against the floor. Neither moved.

“Jenny’s fine,” Lester said after a moment. “You know that.”

Connor shook his head impatiently. “Not...when we stopped the thing in the control room, Jenny was infected. Danny wanted to take her out, but I wouldn’t let him.”

“Yes,” Lester agreed when he didn’t go on. “But we got her back.”

“We didn’t,” Connor whispered. “Not when I...we didn’t. It wasn’t fast enough. She froze to death while I made Danny wait.”

“Yes, we did, Connor. You know we did. She’s alive and happy and...”


“And alive. You saved her, Connor.”

“Yeah.” Connor laughed bitterly, looking down at his cup and noticing the plate. “I broke your plate.”

“I’ll dock it out of your wages. Leave it, Connor.” Connor sat up, a piece of plate in his hand, and Lester took it from him. “Listen to me, Connor Temple, because I don’t like repeating myself. You saved Jenny. You may have saved London. You did it at huge personal risk, and you did it well.” Connor stared at him, and Lester groaned. “Oh, god, you’re not waiting for a hug, are you?”

“No,” Connor said quickly. “No, that’d be...no. Weird.”

“Right. Drink your tea, and don’t move until I’ve cleared that plate away. Do you want to eat any more?” Connor shook his head quickly, and he turned the heat down on his way to the kitchen.

Connor had finished the tea when he came back and he pulled his feet up while Lester cleared up the pieces of plate and toast. “I can wash the cups,” he offered when Lester stood.

“No, thank you. I am obliged to leave you some wages, so you might be paying it off for a while. Just go to bed, if you think you can sleep.”

“Yeah.” He sounded surprised, and Lester had to restrain himself from rolling his eyes. “I think.”

“Connor Temple thinking,” he muttered. “God save us all.”

“Lester,” Connor said when he turned away, suddenly serious. “Did you—“

“Goodnight, Connor. Oh, and touch my heating again and I’ll have you at a homeless shelter before you can blink.” He continued into the kitchen, loudly running the water and emptying the kettle and generally tidying up until he heard Connor leave the room.

Then he quietly finished up, turned off the light and went back to his own room, hoping for a few hours without dreams.


wildforce71: Takeru smiling. Sort of. A bit. (Default)

March 2017


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