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Title: (It's not the end of the world) it's the world you have to live in (7/8)

Author: smaragdbird

Fandom: Primeval

Pairing: Becker/Ethan, Ethan/OMC

Rating: R

Warnings: violence, character death, killing of animals, discussion of political assassinations and mercy killing

Summary: 16 years ago Patrick Quinn and his friend Matt were stranded on the wrong side of an anomaly and were shortly separated as well afterwards. When chance brings Ethan Dobrowski back to the present he joins the ARC to wait for Danny's return, to reenact his revenge on the brother who he believes abandoned him.

Matt, having returned after being stranded in a desolate, dystopian future filled with monsters, has returned as well to prevent said future from ever happening by any means necessary.

As Ethan becomes more and more drawn to Becker he begins to question his decisions and Matt's as well but all that holds them in the ARC is a closely spun net of lies that would unravel as soon as one of them would tell the truth. But time draws near and in the face of the looming extinction on most life on earth and his personal feelings Ethan will have to make a decision.

A/N:Written for au_bigbang.

Lots of love for fredbassett for the quick and thorough beta-reading :)

Technically this is the extremly long prequel to Tried and True

The not so serious character sheet


Basically I took the idea that Ethan might spent his 18 anomaly years in Tsarist Russia and ran



“I take it back,” Becker said. “These things can take down a T-Rex, eventually.”

“So could a shotgun,” Ethan felt obliged to point out.

“Fine, let’s get this thing back to where it came from. Did anyone think of a cover story yet?” Matt replied with a smile.

“Jess, can you tell us where the anomaly is?” Emily asked over radio.

“Just around the corner.”

“Thank God, I was starting to think we’d have to lug it back to the arse end of nowhere,” Becker muttered.

“Here,” Emily had already walked over to the truck and got a rope from the trunk.

“Wait,” Ethan held up his hand then pointed his weapon. “There’s something else coming through.”

A man stumbled through, leaning heavily onto a stick.

Ethan pointed his gun directly at the man’s head.

It was Danny.

They stared at each other. Danny had changed a lot even going by the man Abby had showed him in the photograph. He was thinner, exhausted in dirty, worn clothes and with long hair.

“Patrick?” Danny asked as if he couldn’t believe it.

Ethan’s grip on his gun tightened as he looked Danny in the eyes and there was nothing there. No anger, no resentment, no feeling of being abandoned. It was like Matt had said. They weren’t fourteen anymore. He wasn’t even Patrick Quinn any more, hadn’t been for a long time, he realised now.

“Sorry,” he said lowering his gun. “You must mistake me for someone else.”

“Patrick, it’s me, Danny.”

“My name’s Ethan. You’ve got the wrong man. I don’t know anyone named Patrick. Or Quinn for that matter.” He could see from the corner of his eyes at Matt gave him a surprised look. And then Becker and Abby and Connor were around Danny, hugging him happily.

Ethan stood back with Emily and Matt.

“What is with you and giant carnivorous dinosaurs?” Becker asked Danny affectionately.

“They love me, mate,” Danny replied with a grin. He shot Ethan another scrutinising look which Ethan ignored.

“You got a new team then?” Danny asked, finally looking away from Ethan to Matt and Emily.

“I’m Matt Anderson,” Matt introduced himself.

“Nice to meet you,” Danny replied. “You’ve been keeping them alive?”

“I did my best,” Matt answered with a pleased smile.

“I’m Lady Emily Merchant,” Emily said, a little too formal like every time she introduced herself properly.

“Emily’s from the Victorian era,” Connor explained with a gleeful expression.

“And Matt is from the future,” Abby added.

“Tsarist Russia,” Ethan said when Danny looked at him again. “There’s also a huge dinosaur we need to get rid of before it wakes up?” He hoped that would distract them sufficiently.



“I’m telling you that’s my brother,” Danny insisted.

“Danny, I checked Ethan. Jess did as well. She even found a register from an old church book near the place Ethan claims he comes from. It’s all legit,” Becker said.

“You seem to be very sure,” Lester observed.

“Yes!”

“Is there anything else we could use to identify Ethan? A birthmark maybe?” Lester asked.

“He has a scar on his abdomen where they had to take out his appendix.”

Lester raised his eyebrows at Becker who blushed. “He has a scar there but it’s from a stab wound, pretty badly healed. Nothing like a precise surgical scar.”

“Anything else?” Lester turned back to Danny.” I mean we could take a DNA test if you insist but that would take a day or two.”

Danny struggled for a moment but then he said, “He has a birthmark on his back. It looks like a cloverleaf. Our mother always said that was why she named him Patrick.”

For a moment Becker turned pale then he turned on his heel, rushing out of the room.



“So you’re the missing Patrick Quinn,” Lester’s voice betrayed no emotion.

“My name is Ethan Edmundovich Dobrowski,” Ethan replied steadily. From the corner of his eyes his could see Danny watching him.

“When did you take that identity?”

“In 1887 when my uncle adopted me.”

“And before that you were Patrick Quinn.”

“What does it matter what I did as a kid?”

“It matters when your brother is part of the same organisation as you are,” Lester replied.

“Look, I went through that anomaly 19 years ago. A lot of things happened since then. I didn’t recognise Danny on that photo and at first I didn’t recognise him when he came through the anomaly,” Ethan lied but the only person who could call him out on it would never do it.

“You denied being Patrick Quinn quite vehemently.”

“There was a time,” Ethan threw in a pause for sincerity’s sake. Sasha had made him a good liar. “When I blamed Danny for what happened to me. Maybe a part of me still does. But most of all you have to understand that I’m not Patrick Quinn any more. I thought I’d be easier for Danny to accept that his brother was dead and move on like I did.”

Ethan met Lester’s eyes without hesitation to show that he was telling the truth.

Lester looked away first, accepting Ethan’s story. “Danny wants to talk to you.”

Ethan sighed. “Am I back on the team if I talk to him?”

“You were never off the team. But if I were you I’d spent my monthly wage on chocolate and flowers for Captain Becker,” Lester said as he got up.

“Thank you,” Ethan answered, sincerely feeling grateful towards Lester. Then the door opened to reveal Danny and all feelings disappeared. The only thing that remained was the strange detachment he had felt last time as well when he had pointed a gun at Danny’s head and hadn’t shot.

“I’ll leave you two,” Lester said, looking from Danny to Ethan.

“Thanks,” Danny murmured as the door slid shut behind Lester.

“What do you want?” Ethan asked, leaning back in his chair.

“Patrick – “

“Don’t call me that,” Ethan interrupted him, slightly annoyed.

“What happened to you?” Danny asked.

Ethan shrugged non-committedly. “Life.”

“I tried to find you – “

“You didn’t. What do you want to hear from me, Danny? That I blame you? I did. That I forgive you? Done. I moved on, maybe you should, too.”

“I want us to be a family again.”

“And that is precisely the one thing I can’t give to you. I already have a family.”

“You’re my brother, Patrick and nothing – “

“My name,” Ethan interrupted him coldly, “is Ethan Edmundovich Dobrowski. Patrick Quinn is dead. He died fourteen years old, far away from here and a long time ago.” He stood up. “Get that into your head, Quinn,” he said and left the room.



“So your secret is out then as well as mine,” Matt said when he found Ethan in an empty room. Becker had already left, citing personal reasons. There had only ever been one secret between them, one possible betrayal. And now it was finally done. Only Ethan didn’t know whether to feel relieved or not. Becker had become someone just as irreplaceable as Irena or Sasha or Felix had been in his shitty, ridiculous life. But they had been taken from him by force and the idea alone that Becker might not come back, not because he couldn’t but simply because he didn’t want to, terrified Ethan.

“Not really. Everyone still thinks you’re Matt Anderson.”

“You could tell them,” Matt said, sounding apprehensive.

“Why should I?” It seemed all pointless now. If there had been an anomaly opening right now Ethan would have probably walked through it without looking back.

“You didn’t shoot Danny.”

“I didn’t care anymore. Over all these years I built him into some kind of monster that was responsible for all the things that happened to us. But when I saw him he was just a man and he didn’t matter to me at all.”

“You matter to him.”

Ethan shook his head. “His idea of me matters to him. He looks at me and sees Patrick. When I looked at him I realised that I haven’t been Patrick in a long time.”



“I know you’re in there, Becker,” Ethan shouted, hammering against the door. “Your nosy neighbour told me. Now open that door or I’ll shout your first name through the whole staircase.”

He tried not to let his fear get the better of him. Since the night after Becker had been bitten Ethan had hoped that this man, this place, this time would be his last.

Finally Becker opened the door, his face drawn and unreadable.

“Knew that threat would make you open,” Ethan tried to joke.

“What do you want?” Becker asked brusquely.

“To explain,” Ethan offered. “I owe you that.”

“I don’t think you do,” Becker replied coldly and closed the door.



The door opened again sometime in the middle of the night.

“You’re a stubborn fuck, you know that?” Becker said with some resign.

Ethan grinned but that gained him no reaction from Becker.

“Get up. Lester just called. Anomalies are opening everywhere and they need everyone in,” Becker’s tone was strictly professional.

“Can you give me a ride?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Where are we going?”

“We are going nowhere. I’m dropping you off at the ARC to get your gear.”

Ethan pulled his revolver from his jacket. “I’ve got my gear.”

“Were you planning to shoot me?”

“I was a political assassin, not a murderer.”

“Your verdict says something else.”

The words weren’t so different from their usual banter but the tone was. Becker’s words were cool and clipped and he didn’t look at Ethan, not once.

At least he wasn’t calling him Patrick any more.



“Jess, where do you need me?” Ethan asked after Becker had dropped him off without speaking another word to him. Like everyone else he had taken a black box but not one of the EMD’s. He hadn’t died so far and he was not going start now to take his chances.

“Team Alpha needs back-up,” she explained and gave him the coordinates. “Can you even drive?” She asked in the last second.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“You can’t just shoot them,” Abby told him angrily. She was gearing up as well.

“You’re too attached to these things, Abby,” Ethan told her.

“They’re living beings,” Abby countered, her voice full of resentment.

“You use them and you eat them, that’s what they’re for.”

“Not bringing them back to their time can change the past,” Connor added.

“Did you look at the past?” Ethan asked. “Because it could do with some changes.”

“Patrick,” Danny started but Ethan ignored him. Maybe he could earn Becker’s trust back with this.



There wasn’t much left of Team Alpha when he arrived. The pack of Smilodons had made them their lunch and were still devouring one of them noisily.

Ethan fired two shots and ran. Behind him he could them growling, the soft tap, tap of their paws against the wooden floor. He slipped on a bloody patch, scrambling to get some cover as the giant cat approached. It struck at him with its paw, claws extended and Ethan heard it tearing through his jacket.

For a moment he was fourteen again and trying to get away from a shadow beast. Blind panic was gripping him and he wildly shot behind him until he heard the beast collapse.

He checked his weapon. One bullet left. The disadvantage of a revolver was that you needed time to reload it. His hands were still trembling uncontrollably with the adrenalin from his panic attack and the bullets repeatedly slipped through his sweaty fingers.

“Breathe,” he told himself, “Breathe normally you idiot.” It didn’t work.

Another Smilodon was poking its head around the corner.

One bullet. He had one bullet left. Ethan aimed, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger.



“So this is it then?” he asked, standing in front of the giant gateway when the others arrived. Communications had been down for a while now but he had had a feeling that he would find them here. “That’s the end of the world?”

“Not if we can stop it. We get this,” Matt gestured to the black cylinder, “in there and see what happens.”

“Let’s go then,” Ethan grinned at him.

“It’s a one way trip,” Matt replied.

Ethan looked at Becker. Suddenly it was clear how he would earn his second chance. “I guess it’d be symbolic if it ends here with the two of us.” He gave Matt a smile. “And if anyone’s going to survive a suicide mission, it’d be us, right?”

“Right,” Matt replied.

Becker had already secured the cylinder on the back of the truck so Ethan ostensibly leaned in to secure the steering wheel while Emily said goodbye to Matt.

“I’ll see you when it’s done,” Ethan told Becker before he and Matt jumped into the car and drove into the anomaly.



“Get out,” Matt yelled as soon as they had left the golden light behind them. Ethan opened the door and let himself fall, rolling through sand and stone. The wind was blinding him and the air was thick with the smell of rotten eggs. He couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe.

Someone, Matt, was hauling him to his feet, dragging him forwards, home hopefully.

The first breath of fresh air felt like redemption.

“You were right you know,” Ethan said between coughs.

“Right with what?” Matt asked, still dragging him forwards, through the dust the explosion had stirred up.

“When you said I had no idea what you had gone through. I went through the better gateway.”

“Matt! Ethan!” Abby reached them first and threw her arms around both men, followed by Connor. When they let go Emily hugged Ethan before pulling Matt into her arms. Ethan even hugged Danny for a short moment before he saw Becker. He hesitated in front of him but Becker just grabbed him by his coat and kissed him right in front of the others.

He had his second chance. Now he would have to use it.



Ethan knocked at Becker’s door. Lester had told them all to go home and celebrate that they weren’t dead but that that would be no excuse to be late for work tomorrow morning.

“Come in,” Becker said and left the door open for him.

Ethan followed him, leaving his shoes in the usual spot, into the kitchen. Becker had made tea and Ethan noticed with relief that he hadn’t taken down the picture of the two of them from the fridge.

Becker handed him a mug. “You have to feel cold.”

“Thanks,” Ethan said and took a sip. Lots of milk and sugar just how he liked it.

“How do you like my new glasses?” he asked to avoid the conversation he had come here to have.

“You look different,” Becker replied.

“Good different or bad different?”

“Good different. More modern.”
“That was what I was going for,” Ethan said and trailed off, staring into his mug of tea.

“All right, you said you wanted to explain, so explain.” Just having saved the world or not Becker wouldn’t give him anything, Ethan could see that. He would have to convince him to give him a second chance.

“I didn’t tell you that I used to be Patrick Quinn because I didn’t think it matter.” The same lie he told Lester. But then saying, “I kept quiet because I wanted to kill my brother as soon as he came back” wasn’t going to win him any sympathy. Some truths were better left unsaid.

“You used to be Patrick Quinn?” Becker asked.

“Are 19 years not enough to change a man?” Ethan asked back.

“Fair enough. But why deny it so strongly when Danny recognised you?”

“I’m not Patrick Quinn but Danny will never accept that.”

“And your stories…”

“Everything I told you was the truth. Although I might have dramatized one or two things,” he said conspiratorially. Becker shook his head but Ethan could see that he was fighting a smile.

“You should have gone to stage.”

“If you’re ever in St. Petersburg during the 1895/96 season come to the Aleksandrinsky theatre. I was an amazing drunken sailor in the second act.”

This time Becker did smile. “Show me.” And Ethan launched into his best drunken rendition of a Russian sea shanty that Sasha would have been proud of.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
flaccidduck
Nov. 3rd, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
I love the way you write Ethan here.
smaragdbird
Nov. 7th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
Thanks :)
freddiejoey
Nov. 4th, 2012 10:34 am (UTC)
Yay - another chapter. I'm enjoying the plot so much!
smaragdbird
Nov. 7th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
Glad you like it :)
lsellersfic
Nov. 6th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
Ethan's great but he's still pretty broken!
smaragdbird
Nov. 7th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
He has this decidedly unmodern mindset of how things should be dealt with that I had fun with to contrast with the rest of the team even Emily.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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