Helen told Nick she had come back for some unfinished business and turned to Stephen. The young man looked at her in confusion as she approached him. She stopped in front of him and turned to her husband.
"You see Nick,"
she smiled. "It was just one of those things."
"Shut up Helen," Stephen didn't want Nick to know that they'd kissed, more than once.
"I never wanted
kids," she grinned as they frowned. "And I couldn't have
your focus on other things when you were supposed to be my
"Helen what are you talking about?" Nick demanded.
"I got pregnant Nick," her grin grew impossible wider. "When we first got together, how many years ago?"
Nick swallowed hard, "Twenty nine."
"I had the child, a boy," she admitted. "But I gave him up for adoption and followed his life. Sad really, bounced from one home to another with no real love." She turned to Stephen, "Come back with me and I'll give you the life you deserve son." She headed towards the anomaly.
Stephen followed, "You know what I'd forgot Helen? Sometimes you can be a real bitch."
Stephen turned and walked away from her, moving to stand beside Lester. Looking slightly disappointed Helen returned through the anomaly seconds before it closed. Nick watched her go before turning to where Stephen had been standing. The younger man was gone. He demanded to know where his research assistant had gone but no one seemed to know, looking around in confusion. With a sigh he tried to follow Stephen's tracks away from the camp.
Whilst the others had watched Helen go Stephen had took off, running blindly through the forest. He didn't care where he ended up he just needed to get away from everyone, to process what had been heard. Helen had been spot on about the foster homes and the lack of love in his life but he couldn't bring himself to believe what she had said. Providing that she wasn't lying about having a child the years would match up: the year she claimed to have had her son and the year he was born. He kept running until he couldn't any longer and curled up under a tree, tears streaming down his face.
That was how Nick found him a short while later, half-hidden by the tree, head in his arms. Without a word the older man sat by his side, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. Wiping his eyes he looked up at his boss.
"You don't hate me?" he asked quietly, insecurely.
"No, Stephen," Nick pulled him close. "Why would I hate you? You had no control over her actions besides shouldn't it be me asking you that question?"
"Why?" Stephen looked genuinely confused.
"I wasn't there for you," the older man sighed. "A father is supposed to be there to love and protect his child. I didn't do that. You were brought up with no one who cared for you when I should have made sure that you were looked after."
Stephen shook his head, "You can't blame yourself for this, you didn't know, you couldn't have stopped her. Does this change things between us...dad?"
Nick smiled down at him, "It doesn't have to if you don't want it to. I always thought of you as a son anyway so we can build on that."
"Thanks," Stephen leant into his touch. "There was a part of me that was scared you wouldn't want anything more to do with me."
"Stephen, son," Nick sighed. "Nothing will ever make me hate you. I promise. Come on, the others will be getting worried about us."
They headed back to the camp together, Nick keeping his arm wrapped around his new found son's shoulders. Things weren't perfect between them and it would take time for them to adjust to what Helen had told them, but they would be fine given time. They reached the camp and Nick looked around.
"Where's Claudia?" everyone looked at him in confusion.