Pairing: Richard/Fidel, Lester/Connor, Matt/Becker
Word Count: 4800
Summary: An anomaly opens on Saint Marie, but Richard Poole knows someone who can help - his brother, James Lester, head of the Anomaly Research Centre.
Notes: For the purpose of this fic, I’ve decided that the timelines for post-series 5 Primeval and Series 2 Death in Paradise line up perfectly.
Notes (2): Fits in with my Paradise Found series for Death in Paradise.
Richard Poole was woken by the sound of someone knocking at his door. Beside him on the seat on the porch, Fidel stirred, muttering something unintelligible before his breathing evened out again. Richard smiled, wondering briefly if he did the same, would whoever their visitor was go away? The knocking sounded again, this time accompanied by Camille’s voice calling his name right before he heard her footsteps coming around the side of the house.
“Richard? Why don’t you answer your phone? Or your door? We have a situation- Oh!”
She stopped short when she saw Richard scrambling to disentangle himself from Fidel, the younger man still sleeping against his side. Her glance shot to Fidel as he finally opened his eyes and blinked at her when Richard’s movements woke him fully.
“Camille, would it kill you to wait until you’re invited in?” Richard snapped.
Richard’s anger faded. “It’s fine. I was just caught by surprise when you came in and saw…” They all knew about his relationship with Fidel, but it was an entirely different thing to catching them asleep together. Even if it was perfectly innocent. “Now, what was it that you needed to tell me so urgently?”
Before Camille had even finished explaining, Richard was fastening his tie and looking around for his suit jacket.
He really didn’t like the sound of this.
“Through here,” Camille called, getting out of the Landrover and leading Richard and Fidel back into the trees where Dwayne waited. There, in the clearing, hung a light. A shimmering, glittering light that looked as though it was reflecting off a mirror that had been shattered and suspended in the air.
“It looks like those things that were on the television a few months ago, doesn’t it?” Dwayne pointed out, still watching the shimmering lights.
Richard sighed. Unfortunately, it did.
“But something came out from the lights,” Camille reminded him. She had already told him about their victim, who had been taken to hospital with slashes to his ribs and back after stumbling across the creature. As he tried to flee, the creature had attacked and it was only sheer luck that a car had driven along the nearby road at that point and the sound had scared it back through the lights.
“What now? We have no way to stop that thing coming back, or anything else from emerging.”
Richard could think of one way, and he really didn’t have a choice but to do it.
“I need to make a phone call.”
Richard sighed again. “My brother.”
Lester rolled his eyes as he looked around at the surprised faces in his office. “Brother. Why is that so surprising to you all that I have siblings? I have a sister too, though I fail to see what bearing it has on the conversation.”
“It’s just that you’ve never mentioned them,” Connor said, before adding in a lower voice, “Not even to me.”
“Can we discuss this later?”
Connor nodded, not really wanting to let the others know how much it hurt that Lester had been keeping secrets from him.
“As I was saying, Richard called me this morning from Saint Marie. It’s a small island near Guadeloupe where he’s currently posted with their police force,” he explained, seeing their lack of recognition at the name. “They have an anomaly and a possible incursion. A creature has already attacked one civilian.”
Becker’s smile widened. “So you need someone to go and deal with it?”
“I never thought you would be so eager to chase an unknown creature around,” Lester commented.
“When that creature is on a tropical island? Count me in.”
“Well, if he’s going, then so am I,” Matt said.
“I assume you’ll be going to see your brother?” Connor asked Lester, turning his best puppy-eyed expression on Lester. There was no way that Lester was going without him. The ‘you can’t leave me behind’ was silent but he was sure that Lester heard him loud and clear.
“Hey, what about me?” Abby protested. “And Jess? If you lot get to go spend a week on a tropical island then so do we!”
Lester sighed. “I don’t remember saying that any of you were going.”
All of them turned to stare at him, silent for a moment before the protests and arguments at why they would be essential in dealing with the anomaly began again.
The following morning, Connor, Lester, Matt and Becker set off for Saint Marie. Matt and Becker had won the coin toss that meant Jess and Abby had to stay behind and hold down the fort with the help of Becker’s team.
“I can’t wait to meet your brother,” Connor commented as he and Lester took their seats. “Is he like you?”
Lester’s mood had darkened during the hour it had taken them to clear the security checks with the EMD’s, emergency live-ammo weapons, and various other essential items when it came to tracking and capturing prehistoric creatures. He had had flashed his identification and passed them his government documents and authorisations for the equipment but it hadn’t made the security staff any happier about allowing them through.
“Might I remind you that we are flying out there to do a job, not for a family reunion,” Lester told him.
Connor frowned. “Why are you so grouchy? We might not be going there so see him, but you said you hadn’t seen Richard for a few years. I would have expected you to be at least a little bit excited. Don’t you two get along?”
Connor was silent, waiting for more but when no more information was offered he asked, “Does he know about me? Is that it? You don’t think he’ll like me?” in a quiet voice.
Lester sighed. “He and I haven’t spoken since you and I became a couple so no, he doesn’t know about you. I doubt that he could fail to find you as adorable as I do, though,” he added teasingly, with a roll of his eyes.
“Really. I’m sorry if I’m being- what did you call me?- grouchy. I’ll be fine once I can get off this blasted aeroplane again.”
Connor smiled and settled back into his seat, Lester’s hand held lightly in his own between them.
At the harbour in Saint Marie, Richard watched the boat approaching. He didn’t miss the others edging closer, seemingly eager to get a look at the guests. Fidel had insisted on driving, wanting to be there to welcome his partner’s brother to the island, Camille and Dwayne tagging along as well.
“You really don’t all need to come,” Richard had tried before they left, but no one seemed inclined to stay behind. “There won’t be room in the car.”
When Camille had pointed out that she and Dwayne would follow on the motorcycle, he knew he wasn’t going to deter them.
Now, watching the boat come into the dock, he felt a certain amount of trepidation. James had done well for himself, if his mother was to be believed; he had a respected position with the government project, a nice life. And him? He had been shipped off to a desert island because he pissed off his colleagues. Not exactly a glowing recommendation. Movement at his side made him glance at Fidel, the young man casting him a reassuring smile in return.
As the passengers disembarked, their guests were the last four to leave, all laden with bags and cases that carried goodness-knew what. Two of the rigid cases were stickered with customs labels, straps tight around them with padlocks keeping them secure.
He watched as a tall man dressed all in black and a slightly shorter man in a blue shirt approached them, James just behind them looking professional and only slightly uncomfortable in a light grey suit. Beside him, a young man in his mid-twenties and dressed in a mismatched yellow t-shirt, red jeans and a black hat bounced along, looking around with a huge smile on his face.
“Oh wow, he looks just like you,” he heard Camille mutter behind him. “Is he your twin?”
“James.” Richard ignored Camile’s questions and stepped forward to shake James’ hand. “Welcome to Saint Marie.”
Lester fidgeted slightly, trying discreetly to unstick his shirt from his chest. “Is it always this bloody hot here? How on earth do you put up with it?”
“You get used to it,” Richard told him. At the sound of Camille clearing her throat loudly behind him, he turned to his team. “James, this is Camille, Dwayne, and this is Fidel.”
Lester indicated around to his own team, introducing them all, before they began loading the gear into the Landrover. “It was rather short notice to find you accommodation; the hotels are booked months in advance. Camille’s mother owns a bar in town and has offered the small room in the living quarters above for you. It might be a bit cramped for all of you, but two of you could stay with me if you’d prefer, though you’ll have to sleep on an air mattress.”
“That will be fine, thank you.” Lester sighed. “I think we should get the anomaly seen to before we get settled in, however. The sooner we get that thing closed, the happier I’ll be.”
Half an hour later, the anomaly had been locked and a they were doing a quick scout of the area. The creature that had come through had left tracks, but they were unsure as to whether it was one critter scampering around for a while, or more than one.
Following the instructions he had received when he’d first called the ARC, Richard had arranged for a local construction company to erect a solid, high, fence around the anomaly, as well as cordoning off a perimeter a short distance out to prevent anyone from wandering too close. It was all they could really do until the experts arrived with equipment to close the thing since it was showing no signs of going away on its own. The fence wouldn’t have stopped anything large or determined from getting out but it had obviously worked to deter any smaller creatures that had come through and found themselves trapped. Of course, there had been at least half a day between the anomaly being found and the fence going up…
Matt and Becker set out to search the wider area but they didn’t turn up anything conclusive, the terrain was making it hard to find any escapees. From the size of the prints, it was a relatively small creature, so they would just have to keep an eye on the area.
“Are you sure that it’s safe to just leave it?” Dwayne asked, indicating to the now-compact ball of light that still hung in the air. “What if something else comes out of it?”
Connor waved a hand dismissively. “It’s locked. Nothing can get through it and all we can do now is to wait for it to close.”
He frowned when Dwayne glanced to Richard, who in turn glanced to Lester, for assurance that he was correct but Lester’s reply made him smile again.
“Connor designed the locking mechanism; if he says it’s secure, then it is. You are more than welcome to sit out here and keep an eye on it, though, if it will make you feel better,” he added, but Dwayne shook his head hastily.
“Now, I expect that you all have questions,” Lester said, “but perhaps we could discuss it somewhere other than in this dreadful heat?”
“Actually, we have to make another stop,” Richard told him apologetically. “The Police Commissioner is expecting you to report to him as soon as the anomaly is secured. All of you.”
Arranging to meet Fidel and Dwayne in Catherine’s bar afterwards, they piled back into the Landrover.
Commissioner Patterson had done a double take when Richard and Lester had walked through the door, looking between the two men curiously, but quickly regained his poker face. He asked a lot of questions but, on Richard’s warning, they had refrained from complicated scientific explanations. The commissioner just wanted straight answers, primarily concerned that they were handling this ‘incident’, as he called it, as discreetly as possible and that they wouldn’t be running around his island with guns, scaring the tourists. He seemed much friendlier when he was informed that the anomaly had been locked so that nothing could come through, and even happier when Camille informed him that the young man who had been bitten by the creature was recovering well.
“And you are certain that no more of these animals came through it?”
Becker glanced at Matt before offering what he hoped was a reassuring smile to the Commissioner. “We cannot be a hundred percent certain, but we have done a preliminary search of the area and don’t believe that there are any more creatures, sir.”
“We will, of course, keep an eye on the area, just to make sure,” Matt added. “And we will remain here, on call, until the anomaly closes completely.”
Commissioner Patterson nodded. “Very well. Anything you need whilst you are here, just let me know. Inspector Poole and his team will assist you in any way they can,” he said. “Inspector, I am assuming that you won’t mind acting as liaison to our guests whilst they are on the island?”
“Of course not.”
“I’m sure that the others can handle the daily running of the station. Unless something urgent comes up, of course.”
He dismissed them then, going back to his paperwork.
“That went better than I expected,” Richard commented as they drove to meet the others.
“And he basically gave you some time off to catch up with your brother,” Camile pointed out. “See, I told you he liked you.”
An hour later they were finally seated at a couple of tables in the bar waiting for Matt and Becker to re-join them. Catherine had shown them up to the room above the bar that she had offered them for the duration of their stay, letting them drop off their bags and most of the equipment as that building was more secure than Richard’s home. Lester had accepted his brother’s invitation to stay at his house for himself and Connor. While it would give him and Richard a chance to catch up, he had to admit that his decision was at least partially because he had no desire to be sleeping in a room with Becker and Matt, what with their bad habits and inability to keep their hands off each other.
When everyone was together again, Catherine brought cool drinks for everyone, except for Lester and Richard. They both got a cup of tea, which was accepted with thanks from Richard and surprise from Lester.
“So, what exactly are those things?” Dwayne asked, and no one needed to ask what he meant. “We saw them on the news broadcasts months ago, but they were sketchy with the details.”
Lester glanced to Connor, indicating for him to take this one and sitting back as the young man explained what an anomaly was in a way that Richard and his team would understand. As they listened, occasionally chipping in with a question, Lester sat back and watched. His brother seemed more comfortable here than he had expected, at ease around people who, back home, he probably wouldn’t have socialised with if given the choice. It wasn’t a reflection on them as people, but more on how much Richard had changed in the years since he’d last seen him. The time here had definitely put him more at ease with himself and he could see from the good-natured teasing that Camille fired his way every now and then that they actually cared about him.
Matt and Connor shared stories of some of the creatures they’d seen, while Becker regaled their audience with tales of exciting captures. Dwayne and Fidel seemed fascinated with the stories, while Camille had originally seemed more fascinated with Becker. After getting no response from her attempts at flirting with him- and noticing the smiles that Becker and Matt kept flashing each other –she had given up.
“Well, I think it’s time to call it a night,” Richard announced a while later and Lester was surprised at how late it had got; they had been talking for hours.
Camille looked disappointed. “But it’s still early!”
“Actually, I am a bit tired,” Connor admitted. “We were up at 2am this morning to get to the airport.”
She sighed. “I suppose… Tell you what,” she added, brightening. “Since your anomaly is secured, why don’t we take you to see the island tomorrow?”
“Sounds great,” Matt told her, earning a delighted smile from her.
Lester awoke to the unfamiliar sensation of stifling heat, combined with the noise of waves on the beach. Sometime in the night, Connor had sprawled across him and now lay with his arm pinning Lester to the air mattress. It wasn’t unusual for them to wake up that way, but the soft voices he could hear out on the veranda reminded him that they weren’t alone here.
He and Connor weren’t a secret by any means, but it was another thing to realise that his brother had likely seen them asleep, wrapped up in each other.
Edging out from under Connor’s arm he pulled on his trousers and a t-shirt and headed for the bathroom. Only to find it already occupied by a small green lizard that sat on the edge of the sink. Lester tried to shoo it away but it just scampered a way up the wall, where it sat and stared at him, head cocked to the side. It was a little disconcerting, that feeling of being watched while you used the facilities.
“You have a lizard in your bathroom,” he informed Richard, going out onto the veranda.
Fidel and Richard stopped talking as they both looked up at Lester.
“That would be Harry. He refuses to move out,” Richard told him.
“Well, he was here first,” Fidel pointed out. “I must say, James, you’re a lot calmer about meeting him than Richard was.”
As his brother protested, Lester shrugged his shoulders. “The creatures I usually meet are a lot bigger, and with a lot more teeth,” he said. “That one is harmless, even if he is a peeping tom.”
“He does tend to stare, doesn’t he?” Richard agreed.
Minutes later there was a shout of surprise. “I think Connor just made a new friend.”
Fidel quickly went off to rescue Connor, and make Lester a mug of tea, leaving Richard and Lester alone on the veranda, sitting in silence.
They both stopped. Richard indicated for Lester to speak.
“You seem happy here. When Mum told me where your current posting was, I was surprised,” Lester told him. “But you seem happy.”
“I am. I admit, I didn’t exactly have a choice in coming out here, and it took rather a large adjustment, but I find myself thinking of this place as home now.”
Lester smiled. “It wouldn’t have anything to do with Officer Best, would it? Isn’t he a bit young for you?”
Richard smiled back sweetly. “I could say the same about Connor.”
“He’s not that much younger than me!”
“Neither is Fidel.”
For all that he had been dreading coming here, having not seen or even spoken to Richard in years, Lester had to admit that it was nice. They simply fell back into old familiar habits. No matter what distance may be between them, their brotherly bond was still there.
The easy bickering that they had always done came back so naturally.
Connor appeared, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, a shirt over the top with the sleeves rolled up. He sat with them, drinking his coffee as he looked out over the beach.
“This place is great,” he told Richard. “I think I could get used to this view every morning.”
“Unfortunately, that view comes with sand that gets everywhere,” Richard told him. “And heat that never goes away.”
Fidel came out to lean against the railings, eyeing the shirt and tie that Richard was already wearing. “You wouldn’t be too hot if you didn’t dress like that every day,” he said, smiling.
From Richard’s expression as he argued back, this was an old argument, and one he was really only making for the sake of it. Eventually he relented, agreeing to leave the jacket and tie at home as he wasn’t actually going to be working, but the very idea of wearing shorts seemed to horrify him. Then again, Lester himself opposed to that idea as well, no matter how hard Connor had tried.
“I was meaning to ask you, how come your surnames are different?” Connor said.
Lester glanced at Richard. “We went through school being mistaken for each other, or compared to each other. When, after university, I decided to go into the Civil Service, I decided to use mum’s maiden name. Our dad was well known in government circles, and I decided I’d rather not just Robert Poole’s son.”
“Dad wasn’t too happy about it,” Richard added. “I think he saw it as an insult.”
Lester nodded. “He did, but then rumours of what the ARC was about started, before the news broke and the truth came out, and I think he was rather pleased not to be associated with me.”
“Is that why you were busy when mum asked you to go home for Christmas last year? Fidel and I visited, but she said you couldn’t make it. Lucinda was there.”
“My sister,” Lester told Connor, before turning back to his brother. “Actually, I was busy. A pack of Raptors, if I recall. I thought that saying I was ‘busy’ was a better idea than telling him the truth. It was easier to be the family embarrassment from afar.”
“You? They’ve always been proud of you; heaven knows mum had told me how well you’re doing often enough. If anyone managed to disappoint them, it was the one of us shipped off to the middle of nowhere.”
Lester stared at him in disbelief, not realising that Richard actually felt that way. And not realising that his mum bragged about him. He knew that his dad didn’t have high enough security clearance to know exactly what the ARC did, and so had only heard the whispers that had spread around of dinosaurs and other ‘ridiculous’ stories that had circulated. It was never said in their presence, but Lester still had sources who had kept him informed. Of course, when the news had broken and everything had gone public, their opinions had changed. People who had mocked them for the joke of a project were suddenly backtracking, offering platitudes and praises instead.
Richard had fallen silent too, staring out at the ocean and looking as surprised as Lester felt. He half listened to Fidel and Connor chatting as he too mused on their conversation.
Richard’s phone ringing broke them both out of their thoughts. Camile, calling to say that she was on her way and had collected Matt and Becker from Catherine’s. Becker wanted to check the anomaly site again before coming to join them. It was still there, locked, according to the detector, but he wanted to double check that it was still secured. She told him that she had also arranged a second vehicle for them to use, so they didn’t have to keep using the police bike.
“Dwayne has agreed to hold the fort at the station,” she told them. “He’ll call us if he needs us. I did offer to stay with him,” she said to Richard, “but he said he would be fine.”
Over the next few days, with Camile playing tour guide, they did a lot of sightseeing around the island. Camille insisted on taking them to see her favourite places, avoiding the usual tourist traps, as she told them stories about her life there. In return, all of the Saint Marie team were eager to hear stories about the ARC and England. While Fidel had visited England with Richard the previous Christmas, Dwayne had never been further than the neighbouring islands and, although Camile had spent time in France, she had never visited the UK.
On day three, however, Richard and the team were called away to a crime scene, leaving them on their own.
Richard felt bad about leaving them, especially as he and James had actually been getting along so well, but he knew they understood.
But then James had surprised him by asking if he could accompany them back to the station, leaving the others on the beach, claiming curiosity.
“I’d like to see where you work,” he’d said.
While he wouldn’t say it out loud, Richard was glad to show him. From what the ARC team had told him, James had access to multi-million-pound, top of the line scientific research facilities, teams of people working under him, and a direct line to the Prime Minister. That he was now listening eagerly as they discussed the case and looking curiously around the station made him start to believe that perhaps his brother didn’t see him a quite the failure that his mother made him feel sometimes.
“It’s probably not what you’re used to,” he began, but James dismissed the comment and settled at an empty desk to listen in.
His brother genuinely looked proud at Richard’s ‘ah-ha!’ moment two days later when he announced the who and the how of the murder, leading to the suspect’s arrest.
“Nice work,” he said. “That leap of logic was bloody impressive.”
Richard stared at him. “I’m sorry, was that a compliment?”
James huffed out a laugh. “It was, just don’t get used to it.”
While the Saint Marie team were busy with their murder investigation, another call had come into the station that finally answered the debate about whether anything else had come through the anomaly.
They had received a couple of calls during the past few days about chickens being taken or attacked but no one had managed to catch the animal responsible, or even be sure that it wasn’t just a stray dog. This time, a panicked local business owner had found the creature in his café when he went in to open up, and had managed to trap it in the store room before calling the police. Fidel had driven Connor, Becker and Matt out to deal with it and it didn’t take them long to tranquilise the trapped creature and transport it back to the anomaly. It resembled a small raptor, only with enough differences to send Connor into an excited ramble about a previously undiscovered species and to take a lot of photos for research purposes when he got back to the ARC.
They had no sooner got the creature back where it belonged, than the anomaly began to flicker. Before Connor could even lock it again, it was gone.
Now that the anomaly was gone, arrangements were made to return home for the ARC team and two days later, Richard drove them to the dock. Becker and Matt were unloading cases from the Landover and onto the boat that would take them back to the big airport on the next island, while Connor got underfoot, supposedly helping.
“You have a good team there, James.”
Lester nodded. “I know, and so do you. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard that you were here but, after seeing it, I think you belong here.”
“Maybe I do.”
“And I think that Fidel is good for you too,” he added.
The rest of the team came to say their goodbyes before getting onto the boat.
“Next time you’re in the UK, look us up and we’ll give you the guided tour,” Connor promised.
“And if you feel like coming back to visit, you’re always welcome,” Richard told him. Turning to Lester he smiled. “I mean that. Maybe next time, it won’t take a crisis to let us spend some time together.”
Lester gave him a brief hug. “Keep in touch, okay?”
He sat beside Connor on the boat, watching the island fall away behind them and feeling a little reluctant to leave. He and Richard had actually talked in a way that they hadn’t since they were kids, and it had been nice to have that back. Now, he didn’t want to leave it another goodness-knows-how-many years until they saw each other again.
Maybe this year, he’d accept his mother’s invitation to go home for Christmas too.