Pairing: Nick/Stephen

Spoilers: Set early Season 1 (post episode 2) so not really

Disclaimer: Primeval and its characters belong to Impossible Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended. This is fanfiction, written solely for love of the show.

Author's Notes: Written for shetiger, just because. Not beta read.


Nick knows that he's left Claudia with the impression that he's still obsessed with his not quite dead wife, and to a certain extent that's true. He's spent his life trying to figure out the past from the clues it's left behind. The difference is that up until now, those clues have been after-images left etched in rock; bone and sinew and skin gradually replaced with minerals the colour of old iron.

Now the clues he's tracking are water-sodden handkerchiefs and things that should be long dead but turn up in his office anyway, alive and kicking.

Like Helen, apparently.

It's another mystery to decipher, a void to fill, and Nick has always, always been someone who's got to solve the puzzle; everything in its place and everything in its time.

Claudia still thinks he's in love with Helen, that the void he's trying to fill is in his heart, an empty space left behind when Helen left.

She's wrong. If there was such a space, it's long since been filled. Nick just doesn't know how to tell her that.

He's lost in thought when the door to his office opens and then closes. He doesn't look up. He doesn't need to; the footsteps he hears tapping across the bare floor are as familiar to him as the sound of his own breathing. It's comforting and reliable in a way that Helen never was.

Stephen settles easily on the edge of his desk, one jeans clad leg knocking Helen's papers to one side. Stephen catches them before they fall, glancing at the top sheet as he twists in place to put them back neatly on Nick's desk – more neatly than they were before Stephen made himself at home. Stephen's expression doesn't change as he reads what's written there; Helen's scrawl is as familiar to Stephen as it is to Nick and they must have both read everything she's ever written a hundred times by now.

Nick watches him silently, taking in the slight furrow between Stephen's brows that's always there whenever he reads anything, absorbed in whatever's caught his attention even if he never tunes out the world around him entirely. The sight's familiar too, both comforting and comfortable. Stephen's absorption doesn't mean anything except that this is how Stephen is – calm and focused. It makes him a peaceful man to be around.

There's nothing new to be found in Helen's research, they both know that by now. But they're good at what they do – they're thorough and meticulous and precise. Good researchers. Good, solid scientists. They'll read Helen's papers through a hundredth and first time, the pair of them together, side by side and mostly silent, and even though they'll find nothing new, at least they'll be sure that they missed nothing.

Helen would have said that was boring, but then Helen missed a great deal.

Nick loved her, once. Once and for a great many years. When she died – when he thought she'd died – she left an empty space behind in his heart, a void he thought he'd never fill. Claudia was at least right about that.

But nature abhors a vacuum, and it was Stephen who quietly filled it.