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Title: (It's not the end of the world) it's the world you have to live in (6/8)

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

“Are all weddings like this?” Ethan asked, stealing Jess’ glass to take a sip only to spit it out. “What the hell is that?”

“Champagne?” Jess asked more than a little annoyed.

“Looks like piss and tastes worse,” Ethan muttered.

“Alcohol is a poison,” Connor commented with a shrug.

“You call that alcohol?”

“It’s traditional for weddings,” Abby said, joining their little group after congratulation Jenny.

Ethan looked at Emily, imploring her to back him up.

“It was served at my wedding as well,” she said hesitatingly. “But mine had considerably less wild dogs.”

“Connor,” Ethan turned to him in a dramatic gesture. “Find me an anomaly back to Russia, now.”

“I’m sure Lester would buy you a plane ticket,” Matt said with some venom.

They spent the summer months in the tunnels under a city which name no one remembered. It was cool and pleasant underneath with plenty of water to go around and the air was good as well. Almost as if the tunnels had been built to house refugees.

Ara hadn’t said a word since he had returned without Eli and the others let him keep his silence. He would come back when he was ready.

In the meanwhile Matt and Paavo explored the tunnel system, leaving Izar with Tel. On a good day they would catch a rat or two. Down there rats had evolved almost to the height of a spaniel, with glossy white fur and sturdy bones.

“How did you meet?” Matt asked Paavo as they wandered through the eastern tunnels. “I mean you and Izar and Tel.”

“Found Izar in a shelter,” Paavo told him freely. “She was sitting next to her mum, trying to wake her up. She had been dead for days. I had no idea where to get my next meal from but anyway, I grabbed her.”

“And Tel?”

“He came from an anomaly, like you did. But he doesn’t like to talk about it. Says it was a bad place and that he’s rather here and there.”

“Must have been some place,” Matt commented.

“Yeah,” Paavo said. “When I met him he practically asked a predator to eat him.” He laughed. “He waved and screamed ‘hello, hello’ like a madman.” Paavo mimicked the whole action including jumping up and down.

“I have horrible news,” Ethan announced when he came back from the mandatory medical check up. “My diagnosis is foolproof: I’m far-sighted and will need glasses.”

“Glasses,” Becker echoed.

“Glasses,” Ethan confirmed. “It also explains why reading always gave me a headache although I doubt that Tolstoy will improve much even with glasses.”

“Your, I quote you, crippling, life-threatening headaches have been cured with a pair of glasses.”

“I never said life-threatening.”

“No, you did,” Jess said from her workplace. Ethan glared at her.

“I’m Russian. We make everything bigger so it fits in with our country. That’s why our books have the size of telephone directories and our alcohol is strong enough to remove rust and be used in surgery.”

That was when the anomaly alert started. Matt, Abby and Emily emerged from one of the labs.

“You’re not going to believe where this anomaly is located,” Jess told them.

“Try me,” Matt replied.

“Is it just me or could that have gone better?” Ethan asked once they were out of Connor’s lab again. Becker had stayed behind to organise the tighter security around it.

“He’s confident that he knows what he’s doing,” Jess replied although there was a hint of doubt in her voice.

“Morons always are. I knew a guy in Siberia who thought he could tell apart Siberian and Kamchatka bears in the dark,” Ethan said with a smirk.

“Matt, look at this,” Jess said.

“Did something come through?” Matt asked immediately.

“What is that?” Emily frowned at the screen.

“Uh, insects, gross,” Jess shuddered.

“Come on,” Matt called, grabbing his weapon. Ethan and Emily followed him.

“It’s okay,” Jess called over the comms. “He put it back through.”

“That’s the last thing he should have done,” Matt yelled.

They heard the screaming before they reached the lab. Connor wanted to open the door but it was more a gesture than a real suggestion. Any help came too late for the soldier that was in there. The security lockdown protocols engaged immediately.

“It’s okay,” Connor said sounding like he was trying to calm himself down. “My lab is sealed. The lockdown will draw all the oxygen out of it.”

“No it won’t,” Matt corrected him. “There’s still oxygen coming through your anomaly.”

“Ethan, Emily, you should leave with the rest of the non-essential staff,” Becker told them over radio. By the looks of it Emily had the same low opinion of that idea as Ethan.

“Who is he calling non-essential?” She asked annoyed.

“It’s an unfortunate choice of words but he’s got a point,” Matt replied. Emily gave him an angry look, then turned on her heel and walked out. Ethan followed her. He knew she wasn’t going to follow Becker’s command.

“Do you hear that?” she asked.

Ethan nodded. His revolver wasn’t going to be of much use in this situation but neither was Emily’s EMD.

“They’re in the walls,” she whispered.

“So much for Connor’s theory. How do you want to do this?” he asked. This was familiar territory. There had been plenty of times where they had had to fight for their lives in the past.

“Let’s go to the armoury, see what we can find there. There are some chemicals we can kill bugs with.”

“Spent a lot of time in the gardens?” he asked with a grin.

“My family had the most beautiful roses in all of England,” Emily replied with an equally excited smile. There had been a reason besides Matt that she hadn’t wanted to return to her time after all.

“Don’t shoot!” Ethan yelled as he and Emily stepped around the corner.

“What the hell! I gave you a direct order,” Becker glared at both of them.

“I know,” Emily replied. “I just thought you were wrong. I assume this is what you’re looking for?” She threw the canister at Becker who caught it with a gasp.

“There are plenty more back here,” Ethan told them, giving Becker and Abby his best ‘we’re just trying to help’ look.

“What are you waiting for?” Emily asked. “Come help me.”

Abby grinned and came over while Becker just stood there for a moment.

“We really need a clearer chain of command around here,” he complained.

Ethan quickly looked away so that Becker couldn’t see him trying not to laugh. He didn’t want to sleep on the couch again.

While they carried the box and the chemicals into the hub Abby and Becker explained Matt’s plan.

“Where do you want the box?” Abby asked when they reached the others.

“Right there,” Matt directed them.

“They disobeyed a direct order,” Becker complained to Matt.

Matt looked from Becker to Emily and Ethan, then shrugged. “Get used to it,” he advised Becker.

“Matt, they’re coming,” Jess called.

“Whatever happens, don’t kill the Queen,” Matt told them.

“Why not?” Becker asked but the bugs were already there and Matt didn’t answer.

Everything seemed to go according to the plan until they heard Jess scream.

Becker broke the line to get to her but it didn’t make much difference. The plan wasn’t working out. The bugs were already eating through the box to get their Queen out. The giant insect moved into their direction and Ethan shot it more out of instinct than anything else.

“That was our only way of controlling them!” Matt yelled.

“What’s wrong?” Emily asked. “You’re burning up.” She turned to Abby. “Did you get bitten, too?”

“Yes, but I’m fine. They can’t be poisonous,” Abby replied.

“They’re not,” Jess said faintly. “I’m allergic. I need an epi-pen. There should be one in the medical bay.”

“I’ve got her,” Becker said.

“Emily, Abby you’re with Becker,” Matt replied. “Ethan, Connor, stay with me. We’ll figure something out.”

“Why the hell did you keep me here?” Ethan complained after Connor had explained his suicidal plan. “I’m only good to shoot things.”

“Yes, I know you were never that smart,” Matt replied bitingly. “Just keep our backs free.”
“While you’re plotting to kill everyone?” Ethan said. “Great.”

“If you have a better idea, I’m all for it,” Matt snapped.

And then the bad news just started piling up.

“Between radiation and incineration which is the less painful death?” Ethan wanted to know.

“Are we’re safe in the panic room?” Matt asked.

“Maybe,” Connor replied “But I can’t do any of this since you fried my hard drive.”

“I’ll tell Becker and Emily,” Ethan said quickly.

Jess was already hallucinating when he came down to them.

“What’s going on?” Emily asked when she saw him.

“Besides debating trust issues we have the choice between a fiery death and death by radiation,” Ethan answered in a bout of gallows humour. “I say we vote.”

“Are you ever serious?” Becker snapped at him.

“I should have died a hundred times but I didn’t. My sense of humour is all that keeps me from blowing my brains out,” Ethan snapped back. Well, that and the bullet he was going to put through Danny’s head as soon as he saw his brother again.

“Guys,” Abby came jogging down the corridor. “We need to get to the panic room.”

“We need to get Jess out of here,” Becker replied.

“Matt and Connor are going to kill the beetles with gamma radiation. Then we can lift lock down and get Jess to a hospital. If it doesn’t work we’ll all be incinerated in less than ten minutes.”

“Connor sounded less sure about the panic room when I was there,” Ethan commented.

“It’s better than no protection,” Abby replied. They were at the head, keeping the beetles away from the Becker and Jess as much as possible while Emily held the rear end.

“I just hope my luck will hold true,” Ethan said more to himself than to her.

It did. Everyone’s luck held true.

Russian Empire, Siberia, Khabarovsk, 1897
The first time he killed a man, someone who had stolen his food. He took a stone and bashed his head in like he had done with the shadow jumpers.

It didn’t feel any differently.

“Hey, you,” a voice called him.

“What do you want?” Ethan asked, squaring his shoulders and picked up another stone. The one he had used was too slippery with blood.

“You should take his revolver as well. Makes for a better impression,” the other man said casually. Ethan quickly searched the dead man’s pockets with one hand still holding onto the stone with the other. Finding what he was looking for Ethan cocked the revolver into the other man’s direction. “I know you. You were sentenced with us in St. Petersburg.”

“Felix Dzerzhinsky,” the other man said, offering his vodka to Ethan.

“Ethan Dobrowski.”

“I heard about you. You’re Irene’s cousin.”

“I was Irene’s cousin,” Ethan corrected bitterly.

“Bad luck that one,” Felix grimaced. “I’m sorry for you.”

“Thanks,” Ethan took another swig and changed the topic. “You know where we are?”

“Khabarovsk, end of the line,” Felix smirked.

“Could be worse. I heard Magadan is the place no one comes back from.”

“I guess the Tsar wanted to give us a fair chance to escape.

“You’re in a hurry?”

“I miss home,” Ethan could hear that there was some truth in it.

“Where are you from?”

“Ivyantes, it’s near Vilna. And you?”

“Rasskazovsky, Tambov Oblast,” Ethan answered. The lie came from his lips easier than the truth.

“So far away and yet we both end up here.”

“Maybe it’s fate,” Ethan grinned.

“I heard you’re a good shot.” A man had approached Ethan and Felix who were playing checkers with differently marked stones.

“What’s it to you?” Ethan asked back.

“You got six rounds, if that, and if you need more you’re gonna need me,” the man replied. His appearance and speech marked him as a common criminal who usually didn’t mingle with political prisoners like Felix and Ethan.

“What do you want?”

“I have a little…arrangement with the guards. Everyone likes a good piece of game, no?” He grinned, showing the ruins of his teeth.

“What’s in for me?” Ethan wanted to know.

“A little piece of meat there, a pelt here…scouting the area for the best way back west…” he trailed off with a meaningful look.

“And your name?”

“Valkan, Nikolai Valkan. What do you say, Dobrowski? Do we have a deal?”

“We do.”

Ethan wasn’t a stranger to hard work but that had little to do with the back-breaking labour that they were forced to do. Khabarovsk’s summers were a lot hotter and more humid than anything Ethan was used to and the food was nearly as bad as it had been in prison in St. Petersburg.

“You didn’t know?” Ethan asked, licking his lips. He could still taste Felix.

“I heard rumours about you and Khabarov, well mostly about Khabarov.”

“I thought you wanted to be a priest.”

“I obviously wasn’t very good at it,” Felix replied with a smirk.

“Why now? We’ve been here for a couple months?”

“It’s winter. Who knows how long we have to live. There was no better moment to come clean with you, wasn’t there?”

“What about your escape?”

“I’m working on it,” Felix promised him.

It started with headaches, chills and his muscles hurting all the time. Ethan barely noticed it. They were clearing the area around Khabarovsk in the direction of Blagoveshchensk and there hadn’t been a single day so far that had passed without pain and exhaustion. Their huts were badly built and everyone was shivering whenever the wind whistled through the gaps.

“Ethan?” Felix whispered. “Are you feeling fine?” He sounded concerned. Like many others they had piled their blankets together to keep warm on the slatted frame that doubled as beds around here.

Ethan, in the middle of another coughing attack that had started plaguing him a couple days ago, could only nod.

“You’re burning,” Felix said and touched his forehead.

Ethan shuddered. “You’re just cold,” he complained. The light that was creeping in from the gaps was hurting his eyes and worsened his headache.

“I arranged our escape,” Felix whispered. “We’ll leave with the next supply transport into the city and from there we can leave with the Trans-Siberian railway all the way back to St. Petersburg.”

“Sounds good,” Ethan said hoarsely. His throat felt raw and hurt and he could feel the next coughing attack building in his chest. “When?”

“Tomorrow morning,” Felix gave him an encouraging smile. “Tomorrow we’ll be free again.”

Ethan smiled back weakly. The guards were banging on the doors to wake them for a new day of work. He pushed the blankets off and got to his feet to line up for breakfast with everyone else.

He never made it that far.

They kept him separate from the other prisoners to not spread the disease.

“Jail fever,” the doctor had said and left it at that. He was just a prisoner, no one was interested whether he died or not.

“I’ll be back,” Felix took his hand between his. To Ethan his hands felt cool but then he was burning. “I’ll come back for you, Ethan, I promise.”

“Go,” Ethan said hoarsely.

“Promise me, promise me you’ll be here when I come back,” Felix demanded. Had Sasha ever looked at him like this? With so much affection? Ethan could barely remember Sasha’s face through the haze the fever was building around him.



“Go!” With his last strength Ethan pushed Felix away and slipped back into unconsciousness.

He survived, barely but he did. As soon as the snow was melting Ethan was back on his feet, working and hunting in his spare time. If Valkan had expected him to run as soon as the first opportunity presented itself he never showed his confusion that Ethan stayed. He had given Felix his word and he would keep it.

Just like this month after month passed and the turn of the new century came. The first convicts of the 20th century (his century, Ethan thought sometimes) arrived in February and In front of them Felix marched looking for all the world as if he just happened to be here, his eternal smirk firmly in place. Then he noticed Ethan and winked at him.

“You’re back,” Ethan said needlessly but a part of him hadn’t believed that Felix would actually keep his word.

“Told you so,” Felix grinned. “But don’t tell the secret police. They’re very proud of capturing me just a year after my escape.”

“A year?” Ethan asked.

“They sent me to work in a book binding factory first,” Felix told him. “I had to set up an illegal press before they deported me back here,” he rolled his eyes as if he found the whole thing hilarious. He brushed his hand over Ethan’s shoulder. “Nice coat. I see you still keep everyone safe from the Misha.” Like everyone Felix avoided calling a bear by its name. Ethan, who had once dismissed that as superstition had seen too much by now and followed the same tradition.

“I can’t believe you actually came back here,” Ethan said instead.

“I promised you, didn’t I?” Felix smirked. Ethan swallowed against the urge to kiss him right here out in the open. “Don’t worry. We won’t be here for long.”

“You planned this!” Ethan accused Felix who grinned unrepentantly.

“Of course. I’ve written my sister many letters about my lovely fiancée.” He offered the ring to Ethan who glared at him but took the ring anyway. It fit perfectly.

“You look lovely,” Felix said, still grinning.

“I look like a whore,” Ethan groused.

“Maybe a little,” Felix admitted and quickly ducked to avoid being hit.

The guards didn’t chase them far. From their opinion Ethan and Felix had nowhere to go. There was nothing but forest and swamps for miles and miles around the katorga and Khabarovsk was small enough that they would have been caught immediately.

The dress was obstructive for wandering in the forest but the ruse held true.

“Who are you?” The officer asked them. Ethan kept his head down and, under his coat, tightened his grip around his revolver. He had stolen all of Valkan’s ammunition before bailing but it would still mean the two of them against a dozen soldiers.

“We are just walking here,” Felix replied, showing the officer their fake passports.

“You are very far from the next settlement,” the officer observed.

“We have been walking for a while,” Felix admitted.

“Where do you want to go?”

“West, as far west as possible,” Felix leaned closer and Ethan heard him whisper. “Please, our families…we have married in secret…We cannot go back.”

The officer grinned. “We have a couple of elopers here.” The other soldiers laughed as well.

“Why don’t you show us your lovely wife’s face?”

“Julia,” Felix said and Ethan raised his head slowly. His heart was pounding in his chest. If the soldiers saw through his disguise then they would likely be dead in a few moments.

“I guess you don’t have much of a choice, here at the end of the world,” one soldier commented. Ethan had a biting reply on his tongue but held back. His voice would be a dead giveaway that he wasn’t a girl.

“Go,” the officer tilted his head. “Good luck.”

“Thank you,” Felix replied and just like that they were past the outpost.

“Father,” Felix implored, “Can you take us with you for a short ride? My betrothed is hurt and needs rest.”

Under his costume Ethan gritted his teeth while trying to look as demure as possible.

The farmer nodded and Felix, mindful of Ethan’s ankle, helped him into the cart before joining the farmer in the front seat.

“You are not from around here”; the farmer observed. Ethan felt an unwise, sarcastic comment on his tongue and bit his lips to refrain from speaking.

“A visit, father, to introduce my betrothed to the farer branches of the family. But my father sent for me that he needs me in the shop.”

“You bring news then?”

“Nothing new,” Felix sighed. “The Tsar is healthy, God bless him, but his son is ill and people say the Tsarina turns to dark forces to seek a cure for him.”

“Foreigner,” the farmer spat. “Knows nothing about our country and our ways. God will cure the boy if he wants him to live.”

“My word, father, my word,” Felix replied.

“Your betrothed, can’t she speak for herself?”

“Alas, no. Silent as a fish but quick hands and if you could see her dark tresses you would duel me for her hand.”

“Silence is a good quality in a wife, let me tell you,” the farmer said with a laugh and the hen-pecked expression of many married men.

Felix agreed, not letting his face betray that Ethan had kicked him hard in the shin. Instead he asked, “Do you have children?”

“Two sons and a daughter.”

“You are blessed in many ways,” Felix said politely. Ethan would have sworn any oath that Felix was enjoying himself immensely.

After a short break Felix climbed into the back with Ethan.

“How is your ankle?” he asked quietly. Ethan lifted the edge of his skirt. His ankle was swollen and deep violet.

“Can you move it?” Felix tried to feel the injury carefully but Ethan had to bite his lips to keep quiet.

“When we reach the Ural we can take the train.” Felix leaned his forehead against Ethan’s. “We’ll be fine.”

“May God bless your union with many children,” the farmer wished them as a goodbye.

“And may he give you plenty of harvest and a happy home,” Felix replied and Ethan bowed demurely only to mutter, “doubtful,” under his breath.

“Let’s find an inn and practice then,” Felix grinned. “Maybe God will grant us a miracle.”

“You don’t even believe in god,” Ethan replied. He was leaning heavily on Felix to avoid putting too much pressure on his ankle.

Felix shrugged. “Maybe he decides to prove himself to me.”

“You better keep your promise then,” Ethan teased him. “I’m from an honourable family.”

Felix traced Ethan’s bottom lip with his thumb. “Not honourable enough to resist living in sin with me.”

“What are you looking at?” Felix asked good-naturedly. They had stopped at an abandoned hut for the night and lit a fire in the still functional fireplace.

“You,” Ethan replied, sprawled on the floor. His had loosened the headscarf but still wore the dress. It was just too much hassle. He had to look ridiculous, a grown man in a dress.

“An irresistible sight, I know,” Felix preened.

“The only sight,” Ethan corrected with a grin and yelped when Felix pinned him to the ground.

“So you’d rather look at someone else?”

“Never said that,” Ethan replied. “You lost hair.”

“I know,” Felix sighed. “I’ll probably go bald before I turn fifty.” He pulled at one of Ethan black strands. “Unlike some.”

“What would you want with a bald wife?” Ethan asked cheekily. “Or do you plan to leave me before the altar?” He flattered his eyelashes at Felix in an exaggeratedly hopeful manner. Felix laughed and kissed him.

“After the revolution” he said, combing his fingers through Ethan’s hair, “I’ll marry you as Ethan Dobrowski.”

“You think the world will change that quickly?”

“The world doesn’t change. We change it.”
Felix Dzerzhynski was a real person but I took great liberties with his life

And I gave Ethan glasses because his actor, Jonathan Byrne, wears glasses.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 22nd, 2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
Another great chapter - yay! I love all the interweaving action.
Oct. 23rd, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
Oct. 22nd, 2012 08:55 pm (UTC)
“Connor,” Ethan turned to him in a dramatic gesture. “Find me an anomaly back to Russia, now.”

LOL, I have huge sympathy with Ethan on teh subject of weddings. Warm, bad champagne is disgusting.

I do love your Ethan backstory in this.
Oct. 23rd, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you like it :) I did an extensive amount on research on this thing (could probably write a dissertation on it ;p) so it's good to see it pays off
Oct. 22nd, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
I've been looking forward to more of this story and you've delivered all the way.
Oct. 23rd, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :)
Oct. 23rd, 2012 02:01 am (UTC)
I'm a huge fan of this 'verse. You blend the differing backgrounds so well.
Oct. 23rd, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks I'm glad you like it :)
Oct. 26th, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
I love the descriptions of both Russia and the future! And Ethan being all Russian about things is great!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )



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