Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Tim Haines et al and Impossible Pictures. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: vampires, spoilers for s3ep3
Summary: Connor has been trapped on the wrong side of an anomaly for two days thanks to Helen and when he comes back things have changed.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Soph for the beta
Word Count: 3,803
Link: to MMOM 2009 fic links
Long Fics | HP Short fics | All Other Short Fics | Series Fics
Something felt off the moment Connor stepped through the anomaly and it wasn't just that he was exhausted and dehydrated and likely to fall over at any moment. He had just spent two days on the wrong side of an anomaly, alone, with very little water and no food, pretty sure it would open again, but not quite, so he was more than a little on edge as well as everything else. Becker stopped him falling on his face and scooped him into a truck to be taken to hospital to be checked out and that was all run of the mill. So was Abby chattering away to him in the way she did when she didn't want to seem to have been incredibly worried, but actually had been.
There was just something that didn't seem quite right and he had no clue what it was.
Well that was until he finally made it back to the ARC and was walking past one of the labs and saw Cutter standing there with a strange woman. He came to a grinding halt and Abby walked straight into the back of him.
"Connor, a little warning next time," Abby grouched.
"Cutter," he sort of squeaked and looked at her kind of wild eyed, "he's dead."
Abby immediately reached out and touched his forehead.
"Are you sure you're okay," she said, looking him over carefully, "they said you were."
"Dead," Connor repeated.
That made Abby look really worried about him.
"Look," she said, sounding rather unsettled, "I know it was really hard on you, especially when we all thought he was dead for nearly twenty four hours, but we've been through this. It was a shock that he turned out to be an Alpha, but you do remember that don't you?"
Connor had absolutely no idea what Abby was talking about, but one thing did make itself abundantly clear: the timeline had changed. He also remembered how they'd looked at Cutter when he had come back talking about Claudia Brown and he realised there was only one person who could remotely relate to what was going through his head and that was Cutter himself.
The anomaly had been a strange one, pulsing open and closed and Helen had been involved in him getting stuck behind it. Something had to have happened to change the timeline, something that meant Cutter was still alive.
"I think it's the lack of sleep," he said, not wanting to deal with Abby not believing him, "I kind of flashed back for a minute there. I'm gonna go sit down for a bit."
Abby looked pleased with that and patted him on the arm. She left him in the rec area and, as soon as she was gone, he turned and headed back to where he had seen the professor.
"I will return tomorrow," the strange woman with Cutter said as soon as Connor walked into the room and then, smiling at him, walked out.
Connor would have worried about being rude, but his mind was racing too much.
"The timeline changed," he said, feeling like a ship adrift in a huge, boundless ocean.
Cutter immediately came over and placed a hand on his arm, guiding him to a stool before he keeled over.
"Tell me how," Cutter said in his usual demanding, but understanding tone.
"You're not dead," was all Connor could blurt out, looking at the man he thought he had lost.
He had put on a role for those around him, played at being sad, but being a trooper and keeping going, when in fact he had been all torn up inside. Part of him had died with Cutter, or at least he thought it had, but it seemed that it was perfectly alive, it had just been cut off from the rest of him.
"You're not dead," he repeated helplessly and then burst into tears, which was something he just didn't do.
For one moment Cutter looked shocked and then pulled him into a hug where he simply fell apart and sobbed. On top of the exhaustion of not having slept for two days and the stress of not knowing if he would get home, Connor couldn't even remotely hold it together. Cutter was alive and he just couldn't get his head round it.
"Sarah," he heard Cutter say after a few moments, "tell Lester I'm taking Connor home with me. Can you let him know that the timeline has changed again and I'm going to talk to Connor about it and we'll do an official debrief in the morning."
Sarah must have given a non-verbal response because Connor didn't hear her reply, but found himself being carefully stood up and urged towards the door.
"Come on, Connor," Cutter said, sounding as if he totally understood Connor's meltdown, which had to be a first, "let's get you somewhere that isn't all bright lights and computer screens and where I have a very fine bottle of single malt."
Being well aware that he was not firing on all cylinders, Connor just let himself be led and Lester caught them in the parking bay.
"Cutter," Lester said as they reached the car, "what the hell is going on?"
"Connor's had rather a shock, on top of being stuck in the Triassic era for two days, it seems that I should be dead," Cutter said with his habitual directness. "I'm taking him home with me. We'll be back for a proper debrief once Connor's rested."
"Yes, well finding you alive would be a shock to anyone," Lester replied, surprisingly, as far as Connor was concerned, not arguing in the slightest. "I'll expect a full report by end of play tomorrow."
"I'll see what we can do," Cutter replied, but it didn't really sound like they'd be trying too hard.
Connor let himself be sat in the car and then the journey passed in a blur. Cutter didn't try to get him to talk and he spent the time trying to stop his thoughts from screaming 'wrong' at him. When they reached Cutter's house, he found himself ensconced in the living room and shortly after that given a hot coffee and a large tumbler of whiskey. He took both gratefully as Cutter sat down opposite him.
"Are you ready to talk about this, or do you need more time?" Cutter asked, sounding a lot more understanding than Connor would have expected.
Cutter had been harder since the timeline change and remote since Stephen's death, but he seemed less so now.
"Might as well get it over with," Connor replied and decided on drinking the coffee first, placing the whiskey on the table.
"Did I die because of the shooting in your timeline?" Cutter then proceeded to ask.
It was Connor's turn to nod as the images flashed through his head with hideous clarity.
"Then I assume I wasn't an alpha in your timeline," Cutter continued in a very gentle tone, "or they didn't get to me in time?"
That was it, the whole crux of the matter and Connor just looked at Cutter for a few moments.
"What's an alpha?" he finally asked and Cutter appeared completely shocked.
That was definitely not what Cutter had expected, that much was obvious.
"There were no alphas in your timeline?" Cutter finally asked.
"They weren't called that it there were," Connor replied, not really knowing what they were talking about, "and people who die tend to stay dead."
"Good god," Cutter said, running his hand through his hair, "this is huge."
"What is an alpha?" Connor asked; he needed to understand.
If being an alpha had saved Cutter it couldn't be all bad, but this was something he had no concept of and it was beginning to freak him out.
"Being an alpha is a genetic pre-disposition," Cutter began explaining, for which Connor was grateful, "only about one in every hundred and fifty thousand people have it and not all of them become active. OnCe activated alphas are all but immortal; we can be killed, but it's really difficult to do. All children are tested by the alpha council when they are born, but no one is told. People only find out if they die or when they reach their fiftieth birthday. Dying causes the latent genes to activate, but after about the age of sixty the success goes down exponentially, so at fifty potential alphas are offered the choice to be activated artificially."
It was sounding more and more like a fairy story.
"Why would anyone say no?" Connor asked, trying to rationalise what he was hearing.
"Because they don't want to see their friends and families die," Cutter offered one explanation, "or they can't take the side effects for personal or religious reasons."
"What side effects?" he asked, even though his brain was already on overload.
"Well," Cutter said, watching him with a concerned frown, "we're faster and stronger than normal humans, but we have an aversion to sunlight and of course there's the need for blood."
Connor just about managed to put the coffee mug down on the table before he dropped it.
"Vampires," he said in a shaky, breathless voice, "you're talking about vampires."
At that Cutter looked a little upset.
"Connor," Cutter said, sound somewhat hurt, "alphas haven't been called that in centuries. It has very negative connotations."
"Yeah well in my world we don't have alphas," Connor all but yelled back as everything got on top of him, "we only have vampires and they're legends and nasty ones at that. This doesn't make any sense, how can this be real?"
It was all so crazy and he just couldn't cope with it.
Cutter stood up and walked round the coffee table to sit down next to him.
"It must be incredibly hard," Cutter said in a sympathetic tone. "I remember when I came back and the changes then were not so fundamental. You need to forget what you think you know. Alphas aren't like vampires from ancient legends, those are just stories to frighten the faithful. About five hundred years ago the alpha council intervened in a war, they helped bring peace and in so doing went public, ever since alphas have been part of human society. Some of our greatest scientists and artists are alphas, some of our greatest peace makers. The head of the UN at the moment is an alpha."
Connor tried to take it in, he really did, but it was just too fantastic.
"Maybe I should call Denise," Cutter said after a few moments, "she's much better at this than I am. It was a shock to wake up after dying and she's helped me through it all."
"Was that the woman you were with earlier?" he asked, since it was easier than trying to make his thoughts make sense.
"Yes," Cutter replied, seemingly pleased that he was beginning to calm down, "she's my change confidante. All alphas who go through the change are given one. Believe it or not she's three hundred years old. I just can't imagine being that old, although she tells me I will get used to the idea by the time I get there."
Cutter sounded so genuinely dubious about that, that it made Connor laugh. Possibly it was partial hysteria, but it was better than melting down completely.
"You believe in vampires, sorry, alphas," he said as Cutter looked at him questioningly, "but you doubt you'll get used to being hundreds of years old by the time you get there?"
That earned him a shrug and a slight smile; as least Cutter seemed to recognise that that was a weird point of view. Connor retrieved his mug of coffee and took a long drink as he let his mind assimilate the latest fact. Somehow knowing that Cutter had trouble with some aspects of the whole alpha thing made it more human, more real.
"So do alphas have the fangs and the glowing eyes, or is that just legend?" he finally asked after a minute or so's silence.
"Yes," Cutter replied, smiling slightly again as if that wasn't an unfamiliar question, "we have the fangs and the glowing eyes. The fangs are for feeding and the glow in the eyes is to do with seeing in the dark. The eye part is why we wear lenses to protect out eyes during the day."
Connor looked closer and realised that Cutter did indeed seem to be wearing lenses in his eyes.
"Can I see?" he asked before his brain caught up with his mouth.
He realised he had put his foot in it when Cutter looked shocked.
"I just stomped where angels fear to tread didn't I?" he said, feeling strangely normal as he managed to put his foot in it.
"It's difficult to remember that you have no idea about the cultural parts of this that all the rest of us have grown up with," Cutter replied without giving him a proper answer.
Connor had a feeling that he had stepped over a line he knew nothing about.
"Alphas only show their traits for two things," Cutter eventually said, just about the point when Connor thought he was never going to have an explanation; "fighting and feeding. We're forbidden to fight unless it's a dangerous situation and feeding is an intimate thing. Normally we use blood bags, when we feed from a human it is in an emergency or because we're lovers."
It was very clear to Connor that he had just done the equivalent of asking Cutter to drop his trousers so he could have a look. He began to blush. It wouldn't have been so bad if the idea hadn't made his belly swirl in an all too familiar manner. One of the reasons Cutter's death had all but killed him inside was that he had realised he was completely in love with the man a few months before. He had always known Cutter was out of reach, firstly because of Stephen and then because Cutter was just unattainable, but it hadn't stopped the feelings.
"Sorry," he apologised and looked down at his hands, trying his best to banish the mental image Cutter saying 'lovers' in his broad Scottish accent had conjured up.
What he really didn't expect was Cutter to lean slightly closer to him and when he looked, to see the professor's nostrils flair slightly.
"Professor?" he asked, falling back on old habits.
"Pheromones," Cutter said, sounding just a little distracted, "I can smell them; you're giving them off in waves."
Connor swallowed hard as he realised he was probably projecting his secrets all over the room.
"Why, Connor?" Cutter asked and there was confusion in the man's tone.
If there was one thing Connor knew how to do it was pick his battles and he knew this one was already lost. His world was turned on its head and he couldn't see how it could get any madder so he surrendered.
"I'm in love with you," he said with complete honesty, "I have been for ages and what you just said turned me on."
It was probably on the brutal side of honest, given the look of shock on Cutter's face, but Connor found he didn't regret it.
"You're in love with me?" Cutter asked and appeared to be totally flabbergasted.
Connor nodded, since it really was as simple as that. Cutter sniffed him again and it really shouldn't have sent messages south, but it did. Suddenly the whole situation felt completely different and he realised that he was stepping way out of his depth. From the way he was acting, Cutter seemed to be almost mesmerised and Connor couldn't help wondering what that meant. Then Cutter seemed to shake himself and sat back.
"Connor, I think you had better go," Cutter said shortly, "I'm not very good with these urges yet. I'll call you a taxi."
"But, Professor," Connor protested, "Nick," he tried instead.
Cutter was halfway through standing up.
"Connor," Cutter said, seemingly at war with himself, "I have always been interested in you, but there were always barriers. Being here now, with what I can sense from you and what you just said, it's like you stripped naked and yelled 'take me' at the top of your lungs."
It seemed they were both being blunt.
"Would it help if I did?" was what Connor said before he let himself think about it.
His heart was beating at a mile a minute after what Cutter had said and for the first time he could see a way through the armour of Cutter to Nick underneath. It was like a beacon of hope in a world that he no longer fully understood.
"Connor," Cutter replied, a growl in his voice, "don't say things like that unless you really, really mean them."
They were standing on the edge, Connor could feel it and what he said next would tip them over or back. It was his decision, his choice and, even though he did not understand the details, he knew what he wanted.
"I meant it," he said, looking right into Cutter's face.
In what had to be under a second, he found himself pushed against the sofa back with Nick right in his face. He could see the glow from behind Nick's lenses and when Nick gave him a smile there were long white fangs where normal canines should have been. It was then that he knew he had just started something he could not stop. Nick did not ask permission, did not ask him if he was sure, just pushed his head to the side and bit.
Connor tried to yell, but all that came out was a breathy gasp as intense pain lanced through him before being almost instantly replaced by just as intense pleasure. That mouth on his neck was the most erotic thing he had ever felt in his life and his cock swelled as he moaned. He had honestly never felt anything like it and, the longer Nick drank, the more aroused he became. It was like he was flying free of anything that could hold him back and his universe had narrowed down to just Nick. In fact he was so aroused and in the moment that when Nick's leg bumped his erection he mewled quietly, came and promptly passed out.
Connor woke up to find that he was naked, in bed and being rather possessively held to an equally naked person spooned behind him. It didn't take much brain power to realise it was Nick, or that Nick had to have undressed him and brought him to bed. The way Nick's arm was encircling him he was pretty sure he wouldn't be getting away any time soon either. Whatever instincts he had managed to wake in Nick were clearly very possessive.
"Go back to sleep," a half awake Scottish voice mumbled in his ear, "we'll talk in the morning."
He guessed that Nick was attuned to him as well at that, since he hadn't actually moved yet. He could have protested, but he was warm and Nick's embrace made him feel safe in a world that seemed just a little alien to him now, so he relaxed back and let his eyes drift closed. He didn't fall asleep straight away, lying there and letting his thoughts drift for a while, but he was still tried enough to eventually let go.
It was about lunch time when Connor and Nick walked into the ARC. They had in fact woken early, but it turned out alphas had sex drives to rival a teenage nymphomaniac and after a very brief talk about being comfortable with what they had started, Nick had put said sex drive to very good use. They'd finally fallen out of bed mid morning and after a hearty breakfast (it seemed Nick wanted to make sure Connor would not be suffering for the blood loss), Nick had taken Connor to Abby's to change clothes and then driven them to work.
Connor was wearing a scarf to hide the beautiful hickey he had on the side of his neck, which was all that was left of the bite Nick had made. It seemed that alpha saliva had a rapid healing agent in it, something they also donated to the medical profession for surgery and the like. Connor had been amazed when he had peeled off the plaster Cutter had put on his neck the night before.
This new world had some very different things in it from the old one.
Abby bounced up to him when he walked in; some things were still the same.
"Lester told us what happened," Abby said, looking him over like a mother hen, "why didn't you tell me the timeline had changed."
He smiled at her and gave her a peck on the cheek for her concern.
"I was kind of melting down," he said as way of an explanation, "I wasn't thinking much at all, but I promise to tell you first if it ever happens again."
She slapped him on the arm for that and his smile became a grin. He should in all honesty have been reeling from the shock of everything that was new, but he was actually on cloud nine. Nick was alive, Nick was his: it was all too much to believe. When he focussed back on Abby she was looking at him in a worryingly thoughtful manner, then before he could stop her she reached up and pulled his scarf aside.
"Oh thank god," she said before letting the scarf fall back into place, "you two have been dancing around each other for too long."
Connor was stunned as she petted him on chest and then turned back to her work station.
"Um, Abs," he said as she walked away, "how long have you known?"
She turned back and gave him a smile.
"Only about as long as I've known you," she replied as if it was obvious, "and since the whole alpha thing it's been up there in neon. Why do you think I've resisted all those puppy eyed looks you've been giving me all this time? I'm not immune you know, I just knew who had your heart in his briefcase."
Once again Connor was amazed at his friend.
"Besides," Abby added and gave him a cheeky grin, "we girls have had a betting pool on you boys for ages and I believe I just won."
For a moment Connor tried to be outraged, but then he just laughed. It appeared that the male of the species was just as outgunned by the female in this universe, so it wasn't as if everything had changed.