Notes: the beginning of a series on alternate dimensions - little AU stories of 'what ifs' deviating from the course of the show. Mostly slash, but I'll vary it from time to time.
Disclaimer: I do not own Primeval, and I am not making any profit from this work.
The theory went that for every decision made, there was a parallel dimension where the opposite decision had been made.
For people like Connor, who were into that sort of thing, it was simple. If a choice had the options A, B and C, then three dimensions would exit. One in which A had been taken, one for B, and one for C. And this applied for any and every decision that any and every person ever made, in every single dimension.
Which essentially led to an infinite number of dimensions which could follow insanely different paths. People born who never would have been; people dying decades before their parallel personas; marriages and divorces and unions between people who, somewhere, were unaware of the other's existence.
And, if one thought about it, dimensions where regrets were not regrets, because those chance hadn't been bypassed.
Nick had never been sure about believing in it but, like religion, he took faith in the idea. Somewhere out there, in parallel universes, were versions of him that had led the lives he dreamed about.
There would be a version of him who had actually plucked up the courage to ask Alison Patterson out in fourth year English.
There would be a version of him who had accepted Helen's theories and gone with her through the anomalies.
There would be a version of him who accepted those theories, but hadn't gone with her anyway.
There would be a version of him who had ignored Connor's conspiracy theories and had gone on living in his messy little office with Stephen, ignorant of the world outside.
There would be a version of him who had never met Claudia Brown.
There would be a version of him who had never Stephen, for that matter, but he wasn't too keen on that option.
There would be a version of him who had gone with the family flow and gone to medical school instead of studying obscure historical sciences and ending up with a tattered house in London.
But then, there were versions of him where he hadn't chosen to get the centipede to bite him, and he had lost Stephen; there were versions of him in places devoid of Claudia and Stephen and Connor and, yes, even Abby, because he hadn't said 'up yours' to his parents' idea of a sensible degree and taken his own path.
And all those versions of him would be further changed by the choices that the other people around him had taken. If he had, to this point, made all the same decisions, there would be universes where Stephen hadn't bothered to take malaria tablets to South America with him and had died; universes where Claudia had gone into business law instead of the civil service; dimensions that had lost Connor to the University of Lancaster which he had almost chosen instead.
There would be universes where their parents' and grandparents' decisions had changed things too. Places where Nick's father had chosen to take the summer job at the garage instead of the pub, and so had never met Nick's would-be mother. Worlds where Stephen's parents had chosen to take more interest in their only son, and so Stephen had not been left to his own devices to discover palaeontology. Universes where Connor's crazy grandmother had gone ahead with her plan to join the Church and become a nun, and so two whole generations of Temples would have been lost.
The possibilities were endless, but unreachable.
And in a way, Nick didn't want to know if they were true.
He would not torture himself with might-have-beens, even as he took comfort in that somewhere, he was leading a happy life.
Somewhere he had succeeded, and somewhere he had failed, but neither was here. Here was that messy muddle of the things inbetween, full of moments he would die to keep and moments he would kill to lose.
There was, to coin a cliché, the good, the bad and the ugly.
And that would have to be enough.