Pairing: Philip Burton / Connor Temple
Word Count: 13,118 total / this part 4,475
Summary: Philip’s story.
SPOILERS: All of series 4 and 5, from Philip’s POV and with an AU twist- some things have been kept, some have been re-written.
A long time ago, in the future
Philip Burton had recognised Matt for what he was the moment he met him. There was just something off about him, about his behaviour, something that he was sure that no one else had noticed. But he had. After all, it took one man out of time to recognise another.
He had been here for nearly twenty years, establishing a life for himself, an identity, just as he suspected that Matt had. What Matt’s reason for being here was, however, he had no idea. His own was simple; he wanted to be somebody. Once he had discovered this place, found out that his knowledge was worth something here, he knew that this was the place for him.
He had Helen Cutter to thank for it really. If he hadn’t seen her sneaking around, followed her, his curiosity aroused by the oddness of her clothing, he would never have seen the anomaly. To a young man of nineteen, tired of the monotony of everyday life and dull lectures and a family he had little contact with, the anomaly presented a thrill. When he saw her step through it, he had no idea what to think. It had to be some kind of a trick, an illusion, but to what end? Hidden away in a utility shed, the illusion wasn’t going to get much attention if indeed that was the aim.
Philip had returned time and time again in the hope of seeing the strange woman re-emerge, spending most of the following week waiting, watching. He must have fallen asleep, sitting on the low wall near to the shed, just out of sight so that he could remain hidden from her, because he was jolted awake by the feel of someone pressing a knife to his throat.
“Who do you work for?”
Philip tried to struggle out of her grasp but she merely held him tighter and pressed on the blade.
“I’m at University-”
“So why are you watching me?”
“I saw you go through the light… What is it?”
The knife was removed and she slid it into her boot, leaving him rubbing at the stinging cut on his neck. It wasn’t deep enough to do any serious damage, but it still hurt. Now that he could move, he turned to look at her. She was wearing the same khaki combat trousers and shirt as she had been the last time but they were a bit grubbier, a couple of tears that hadn’t been there before. She was limping slightly, and he could see traces of blood on her trousers around one of the tears as though whatever had made it had cut through her skin as well. Her hair was longer too, as though she’d been away for a few months not a few days.
“How long have you been gone?”
The woman smiled. “Clever boy; you’ve worked out what it is. What’s your name?”
“I’m Helen. And in answer to your question, the last time I was here was five months ago. I needed a safe place in a hurry and this seemed like as good a place as any.”
Helen stuck around for a while longer, inviting herself to stay in Philip’s dorm room without really giving him the chance to object. Not that he would have, as Helen seemed to have invited herself into his bed, too. But she had no intention of staying. A week later, Philip awoke to find the bed beside him empty and cool, Helen’s meagre belongings gone. He wondered what he would have done had she told him that she was leaving: Would he have asked to go with her? Asked her to stay? He had known from the start that she wouldn’t, though. It wasn’t about the age difference- she had never cared about that- or anything else; she had already said that it was a chance to stop running and rest for a while, and have a bit of fun in the meantime, and he could accept that.
He had gone to his lectures that day, drifting through them and barely paying attention to what was happening around him. His mind was still working through the possibilities. Helen had talked about places beyond his imagination, of creatures he had only read of in books and of times past. That night, he found thinking about the anomaly once more and it was then that he made a decision.
Collecting a bag full of belongings, Philip returned to the anomaly. Helen had said that it led to a modern era, about eighty years into his past… If he didn’t do this, he knew that he would regret it for the rest of his life.
When he first arrived, a stranger in an old city, he hadn’t known where to turn. This place was vaguely familiar, but the last time he had seen it, there had been new buildings in place of ones that were here now. He could find his way around, but there were so many changes, just little things that made the whole experience so disorientating. Having nowhere to go, Philip had spent his first few nights sleeping in doorways and on benches, stealing leftover food from plates left on cafeteria tables or the bins outside.
There were times when he had considered going back through the anomaly, of giving up, but he just couldn’t do it. He’d come this far and he wasn’t willing to just pack up and go back to that dreary existence. And while this place was rather technologically backward to what he was used to, and many of the cultural and social customs seemed so old fashioned and confused the hell out of him, it was still fascinating. It was like stepping into the pages of a history book, being able to reach out and touch the past. How could he walk away from that?
It had been during those first few days he realised that here, his knowledge could be power. Scientific breakthroughs that were commonplace in his time were revolutionary here. Technology that he carried with him, that he had taken for granted, could be cannibalised and re-invented. With a bit of fast talking and some convincing fabrications, not to mention a handful of money pick pocketed from passers by, he had been able to find somewhere to stay; it was just a dingy room in a house owned by a man who was willing to take cash in hand and ask very few questions, but it was enough. A steady amount of money was harder to come by, as he had no documentation in order to find work, and no money to pay someone to create the documentation he needed. It was a vicious circle, but that was where Mike came in.
Mike was his landlord, but it turned out that he also knew where to get things that people needed; he knew folks, he’d said. Philip had seen the way that the man looked at him, even seen him spying through the keyhole a couple of times while he was undressing, but far from being outraged, he decided that he could use that to his advantage. Mike’s tastes ran toward younger, inexperienced, men, and so Philip played up to that. He allowed Mike to lure him into his area of the house one night, let him think that he was doing the seducing.
It wasn’t too bad. Mike liked having his dick sucked, liked calling Philip every filthy name he could think of while he was on his knees. And if Philip played it shy, objected for a while as though he needed persuading to do it, then Mike seemed to like that even better. It became a regular arrangement; although Philip kept his room, he found himself spending most of his nights in Mike’s bedroom, in Mike’s bed. In exchange, Mike didn’t charge him rent, and spoke to a few of his old friends who provided Philip with some necessary paperwork. Of course, those favours demanded a little more than sucking Mike’s cock, but it wasn’t too much of a hardship. Mike may have had a good few years on him, and not be much to look at, but the man treated him well, never getting rough with him, and he was a damn good fuck.
Low wage jobs in shops and factories had provided him with little difficulty, the employers’ needing only basic details from him and he doubted that they had even bothered to check those. All he needed was a birth certificate and a national insurance number, both things that Mike had managed to find people to obtain for him, and a bank account. Once he had money, then he could start to move away from that, into better accommodation, a better job once he had some kind of employment history.
Philip sometimes wondered what everyone back home had thought when he disappeared. Had they even missed him? He hadn’t been close to his family at the best of times, his mother having left when he was a baby and his father preferring his sport-playing brothers over him, the studious youngest child, who would rather be studying or working on his computer than going out into the cold and kicking a ball around a muddy field for hours on end. He had never fitted in there, and had been glad to get away when he could move into the University dorms but he hadn’t really fitted in there, either. In fact, he could only name one or two people who would actually care that he wasn’t there any longer.
This may not be perfect, but it was better than home.
Twenty years later, Philip Burton was someone. He had attended University here, flying through the course with outstanding grades, on a work-study paid for by his employer at the software development company he currently worked for. They had been so impressed by his skill at solving problems that they had been willing to overlook the fact that he had no formal education. School could be explained away as being home schooled, and a few forged exam result certificates weren’t hard to create.
And throughout that time, he had been registering the patents for a number of advances he developed from his own time, dumbing them down just enough so that they were viable, but leaving enough to upgrade them with in the future when he needed more money. With his earnings from a handful of those patents, he had enough to begin Prospero, and he had watched it grow astronomically ever since.
He had also watched the anomalies. He knew all about the ARC through a source at the Home Office- it was one of the perks of being a rich; people didn’t often say no to him. He kept track of the project out of curiosity, but they never discovered the anomaly that had brought him here. It was still active, he found when he went back to check, answering the question of why Helen Cutter had felt safe enough to stay all of those years ago. She had known it wouldn’t close and leave her stranded.
Philip hadn’t spoken to her since he came to this time although he had caught sight of her once or twice, or he thought he did. It was just a familiar face in the street, one woman among a crowd that he wasn’t sure was Helen. When he turned back for a second look, however, she was already gone. This was where she belonged, though, her own time. Of course, she would never remember him; he had gone back to a time when she was much younger, before she had even met him.
Out of curiosity, he checked up on her from time to time, watching as she and her husband, Nick, joined the teaching staff at the University. He had seen the reports of her disappearance and for a time wondered if he should tell Professor Cutter where she had gone, but that could cause problems, he thought. Who knew, but his informing them of the anomalies at the wrong time could prevent her from going through and meeting him. The last twenty years of his life, of his success, could vanish in the blink of an eye.
She came back, though, nearly eight years after her disappearance. By that time, the ARC had been established but although she had knowledge of the anomalies, she seemed more inclined to hinder them than help. Every so often over the next couple of years, her name came up in the reports he received about the ARC. Sometimes she was under arrest, other times breaking in, but usually when there was trouble.
Sometimes he wondered if this older, time-travelling Helen would remember a bored kid from the 22nd century, if she would be glad to see him, but he never found out. Almost three years after the ARC project began, she was lost in the past, along with three others, opinions divided on whether any of them were still alive. The ARC project shut down, the government no longer having sufficient confidence in it to continue to fund it, the original team members now either dead, lost or resigned.
He couldn’t let that happen. Whatever time had passed since that week, long ago, in the future, he still felt a certain gratitude to Helen Cutter for giving him this life and without the project what chance did she have of being found? Philip had no illusions of her returning and them having an emotional reunion, but he knew that if he was in her place, lost, he would want to know that there was someone still looking for him.
Besides, he had been working on a way of using the power generated by the anomalies as an energy source. New Dawn would be the biggest breakthrough this world had seen but he couldn’t do it without the ARC. He needed data from naturally forming anomalies in order to convert that information into what he needed to generate anomalies. The trouble was that very rarely did they merely appear without letting some kind of creature loose at the same time. He needed someone to deal with those so that he could get on with his work. Their detection equipment would be useful too. Oh, sure, it wouldn’t take him long to replicate it, but why bother when someone else already had it and could monitor it for you too?
So, the seed was planted in a few impressionable minds, letting them think that re-starting the ARC was their idea. They approached him within weeks after his contact at the Home Office helpfully suggested that it might be a project he would be interested in, all at his instruction of course.
He didn’t have any input into the interview process; he couldn’t afford to let them know just how long he had been observing this project. He was there to supply the funding and let the experts deal with the rest, and he was content with that. Which was why, when he met Matt Anderson on his first visit to the new ARC building, he got a shock.
Matt never noticed anything out of the ordinary about Philip, or if he did he never let it show on that ever-stoic face of his, but from the moment they met Philip knew that the man belonged in this time about as much as he did. It was nothing overt, but something about him just seemed so familiar, as though he was hiding something.
It would pay to keep a closer eye on the man, he decided.
The others wouldn’t be any trouble at all. Jessica Parker seemed pleasant enough, eager to please and adept at her job, if a bit scatterbrained. James Lester had the experience after running the ARC in its former incarnation and could easily be controlled if needs be. Becker, well, he had both the experience and the unquestioning loyalty of a former soldier. He seemed happy to do what he was told provided he was given a good supply of guns and the opportunity to shoot something on a regular basis. He also proved useful in distracting Matt, the two of them quickly becoming friends.
All of which left Philip free to continue his work without having to worry about the creatures.
Then, nearly six months after the new ARC was established, two of their lost team members returned. For Philip, their return was a distraction, one which served its purpose in continuing to keep Matt busy, and even better, it brought him Connor. He had intended from the start to offer Connor a job at Prospero, knowing that the lad could handle the work from reading his university reports and personnel files at the ARC. But then Connor had to go and argue his way back on to the team, didn’t he? Not that it mattered; it would just take a little longer, that was all. When eventually, Connor agreed to work with him, he was delighted.
Philip enjoyed spending time with Connor as they worked or compared notes, the lad was so eager to participate in his project. His enthusiasm for science was equalled to Philip’s own, if only Philip could get him away from the rest of the ARC team. They were stifling his creativity and they never realised it; with a mind like his, he should be focussing on the research not wasting his time running around after dinosaurs. Let the others do that.
He wished he could get Connor away from Abby, too. It was plain to see that they weren’t right for each other, that the only reason that they were together was due to their time, just the two of them, in the Cretaceous. Connor was brilliant, and he deserved someone who would share his interests, who would challenge him mentally, not someone like her. She was constantly trying to pull him away from his work, or mocking him for his love of science fiction programmes, ignoring him when the feeling took her and still expecting him to follow her like an adoring puppy, but Connor couldn’t see it.
When Connor finally came to his senses, Philip would be waiting. And if that took too long, well, he could always give Abby a little push to get her out of the way. As he’d been waiting patiently ever since the pair of them returned to the ARC, ever since that day when Connor had met him, looking so excited to meet him. That feeling when Connor had approached him, sounding so starstruck, had been the highlight of his year. It happened all of the time- when you had money, there was never a shortage of flunkies around who would fawn all over you because they thought that there was something in it for them. Connor was different. He didn’t care about how much Philip was worth; he was excited about inventions and scientific discoveries, not money.
Philip sometimes thought that Connor was interested in him but he had never worked up the nerve to find out. Connor was younger than him for one thing- about a hundred years if they were being technical about it- and didn’t know if something like that would matter. And there was the fact that he was technically Connor’s boss. If he made any kind of advances, it would seem as though he was taking advantage, whereas if Connor made the first move…
Unfortunately, the lad seemed completely oblivious to anything except the Maitland girl.
So, first, he had to get Abby to give up and move on. Deciding, he picked up his phone
“April, I need you to do something for me…”
April, it turned out, was the perfect woman for the job. In the space of a few short weeks, she had managed to successfully edge Abby out of Connor’s life. When she pushed to know what he was working on, April had planted the seeds of doubt in his mind that she didn’t trust him, making him see how self-centred she was with regard to her priorities. Then the debacle with the new security system had given Philip a perfect excuse to give her that extra nudge, announcing that he intended to get rid of the menagerie. He knew how she would react, and she had done just as predicted, putting them before Connor yet again. If he was being honest, he rather liked some of the animals so he would never have done anything to them, not really; he fully intended to change his mind and rescind the order to close the menagerie at a later date. He just needed to provoke Abby, to highlight a few of the flaws in their relationship.
As it turned out, however, all he had really needed to do was to leave it up to April. The woman had been spending more time with Abby, befriending her as she had Connor, but this was different. She wasn’t Abby’s assistant, wasn’t making nice in order to gain her trust; she seemed to genuinely like Abby. The two of them became firm friends, and Philip only realised just how close when he arrived at the ARC one morning to find Connor curled up in a chair in the break room. At some point, someone had covered him with a blanket and put a cup of tea on the table next to him, but it was long cold.
“Connor?” Philip reached out a hand to gently shake his shoulder.
Connor’s eyes opened and he blinked at Philip sleepily for a moment before he sat up straight.
“I’m sorry! I know I shouldn’t be sleeping here, but I hadn’t got anywhere else to go.”
Philip went and made them both a fresh cup of tea and sat down beside him. “I thought you were staying with Jess?”
“I was, but me and Abby… we’re not exactly together any more. I’ll find somewhere else today, I promise.”
This should be his moment, the one he’d been waiting for, but when he looked at Connor now all he could feel was guilt. The lad looked thoroughly miserable.
“What happened? I thought that you two were happy.”
Connor looked up as one of the technicians came into the break room in search of tea and shook his head.
“Come on; I’ll drive you to my house. You can take a shower, get yourself sorted out.”
On the drive over, Connor was silent, sitting and staring out of the window the whole way. It wasn’t until they pulled into the driveway of Philip’s town house that he even reacted. As he was making them both some breakfast, Connor emerged from the bathroom, his hair damp from the shower and the same clothes on once again.
“I probably owe you an explanation,” he began, but Philip shook his head.
“You don’t have to.”
Connor nodded. “I do, because of what I’m going to ask afterwards,” he said. “Abby told me last night that she cheated on me and we had this big argument. I can’t believe I was so stupid! I mean, I knew they were friends, and that Abby spent more time with her than she did with me recently, but I never thought that she was into women, much less April. They hated each other to begin with.”
Well, that wasn’t exactly what he’d planned…
“Can you tell her I don’t need her as my assistant any more? I don’t want to have to work with her; it’s going to be bad enough working with Abby.” Connor groaned and ran a hand over his face. “And Jess; she heard the whole thing.”
Great, Philip thought. When had it all got so messy? All he’d wanted was for Connor to choose him, not to completely destroy him in the process.
“Well if you need a place to stay, I have two extra rooms. Well, one. The other one is currently filled with an embarrassingly extensive collection of comic books. If you would like the other room, however, it’s yours as long as you need it.”
Connor actually smiled at that. “I think you had me at comic books,” he joked. His smile faded. “Really, I do appreciate it. I won’t be here for too long; I’ll start looking for somewhere straight away.”
“You don’t have to,” Philip assured him. “I would be glad of the company.”
Having Connor around was both a blessing and a curse. Philip enjoyed the companionship, the house feeling lived in now that there was more than just him in it. Connor shared Philip’s interests and love of comic books, though their tastes in television shows and films varied somewhat. Philip had developed a fascination for the science fiction, of seeing what the writers had decided that their future would be like and comparing it to the reality. He could even cook, admittedly it usually consisted of spaghetti or pasta or some variation thereof, but it was pleasant. What he hadn’t accounted for was how hard it would be living with the object of his desire. He was trying, but that seemed to consist of a lot of cold showers and having to censor himself in case he said something wrong.
Two weeks after he moved in, as they sat at the dinner table, Connor paused in the middle of his dessert and asked,
“Have I done something wrong?”
“You keep watching me, or you avoid me. I know you said I could stay, but maybe I shouldn’t. Jess said I could go back to her place; she was pretty pissed at Abby and told her to move out almost right after the fight.”
Philip set his spoon down and sighed. Now he’d ruined this as well.
“You haven’t done anything wrong, Connor; I have. I’m afraid that I haven’t been entirely honest with you,” he began. “My sentiments toward you have become something more… intimate. I didn’t wish to make you uncomfortable, but it seems that my efforts have had just the opposite effect.”
Connor frowned for a moment, pondering this, before asking,
“What do you mean ‘intimate’?”
“I mean that I am attracted to you. I like you, Connor.”
“Oh. So was that was this was all about? You letting me stay here?”
Philip nodded. “I’ll be honest with you, Connor; half of me hoped that in staying here, spending time with me outside of the ARC, you might come to reciprocate that affection. The other half merely wanted to help you when you needed it, with no alternate agenda.”
There was another long silence before Connor said,
“I think I should move back to Jess’s.”