nietie: (Connorface)
[personal profile] nietie
Title: Hohe Tauern
Word Count: 1,738
Rating: G
Genre: pre-slash
Challenge: Secret Santa 2016 at [livejournal.com profile] primeval_denial
Characters: Connor, Stephen
Disclaimer: Not mine, no money made. Primeval and its characters belong to Impossible Pictures
Author Notes: A Secret Santa for the lovely [livejournal.com profile] de_corbeau, who gave the prompts Camping, Snowed In, Stray and Heights. I hope I managed to squeeze in some of them.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rain_sleet_snow for the wonderful beta. All remaining mistakes are mine.



"It's so cold." Connor shivered, readjusting his fingerless gloves and hat.

"Even a computer whizz can't predict sudden changes in weather conditions in the Alps," Stephen said. "But I'm prepared for this." And he opened his backpack and took out gloves and a cap.

"I've packed them for you too," he added.

"Boy scout is fully prepared then," Connor grinned and dived into his backpack.

"Preparation is one thing, but we have to be cautious at all times. Especially now it's snowing and night begins to fall. It makes conditions worse for us, but hopefully we'll be able to track the Dilong easier now." Stephen zipped up his weatherproof jacket.

Stephen and Connor were on a mission together in the Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria. An anomaly had opened there in the high regions of the park and there had been sightings of a birdlike predator.

Connor had been overexcited and had insisted on joining the mission. According to the sightings the creature could be a Dilong. The Dilong was a type of tyrannosaur, but lived tens of millions before its big brother Tyrannosaurus Rex, being a small bipedal theropod from the Early Cretaceous.

Hopefully it was just one specimen that had come through the anomaly. Tracking one Dilong, given its size and possible speed, would be difficult enough.

When they started the mission the weather conditions were excellent. There was a bright, sunny sky and temperatures were pleasant.

To widen the search area they had split up in groups: Abby and Ryan, Nick and one of the SF soldiers and Stephen and Connor. They'd decided not to bring any of the alpine guides, but were thoroughly informed about the park and its conditions and they had detailed maps of the area with them. Being in a high alpine region also meant that weather conditions could become quite extreme and could change very quickly.

At first they'd walked through flower-covered pastures, but soon the ground was covered in snow and temperatures dropped dramatically.
They walked on without speaking, with Stephen bending and touching the snow and tracks several times, trying to follow the Dilong in the twilight.

"I think we're close now," he whispered, when they neared a steep mountain side. "Use the binoculars, Connor. Maybe you can spot it."

Connor nodded, knowing he had to be as quiet as possible, so they wouldn't scare the prehistoric creature away. The binoculars gave him an eerie view of his surroundings. He didn't have a clear panorama view of the whole landscape anymore, but the parts he focused on were so close and clear now. He feared the Dilong leaping at him from a hidden spot.

"There!" Connor had to restrain himself from shouting or from jumping up and down. The animal he looked at seemed so unworldly, but also familiar at the same time. He had seen dozens of descriptions and pictures of it, with scientists guessing what this little creature must have looked like millions of years ago. And now he saw a frightened little dinosaur, but he knew it had sharp teeth and it was seemingly very agile. It huddled against the mountain wall, probably disoriented by the snow and cold wind.

"It's on that ledge," Connor whispered. "I think it's stuck there."

"Then we have to act fast," Stephen said, preparing his tranquiliser rifle slowly and quietly, trying not to alert the creature.

"Do you know anything about their vision?" Stephen asked.

"Well, no, but T-rexes probably had binocular vision sharp enough to match a hawk... This one might well not have evolved such good vision yet."

"Let's hope I get it in one shot."

Stephen aimed the rifle slowly towards the little predator. He seemed totally in control, his body relaxed, his breathing controlled.

The pop of the rifle firing wasn't loud, but it still shocked Connor as it broke the silence that had preceded it.

Swiftly Connor looked through the binoculars and saw that the poor, lost Dilong was hit and was wobbling on his legs.

For a moment he thought the dinosaur was going to fall off the mountain. But all of a sudden it heaved a huge sigh and it collapsed, its limp body left lying on the small ledge.

"How are we going to get if off there?" Connor wondered.

"It's not that high. I'll climb up and will lower the Dilong down with a rope."

Connor looked at Stephen in awe. The ledge seemed so high up it might as well have been Mount Everest to him. His experience with climbing was limited to conquering mountains or buildings with his avatar in a video game.

Stephen left the rifle with Connor, checking his hand gun in case the Dilong woke up prematurely. Then he put on his gloves again and started to climb the few metres up towards the ledge.

It didn't take Stephen very long to get there, but Connor noticed he had been holding his breath watching his colleague conquering the height.

"It's out cold." Stephen shouted. He started rummaging in his backpack and took out a net and rain coat.

Connor kept looking in awe at the other man. He seemed like a magician, conjuring all kinds of items from a top hat. Although he knew Stephen for more than a year now, he still was surprised about the man's skills.

Stephen wrapped the Dilong in the net and tied the rope around the limp body. He threw the raincoat down, shouting: "Put the animal on the coat, so we can transport it more easily by sliding it over the ground."

Then he started to lower the dinosaur to the level where Connor was standing.

In the meantime visibility was getting worse with snow falling heavily and the darkness almost being complete now.

"I think it's an adult male. It's heavier than I thought." Stephen said. "Try to catch it when you can and help me lower it to the ground carefully."

"Will do!" Connor shouted back. But before he could get into action he heard the whoosh of a rope slipping, followed by a thump, a loud cry and another thump.

Stephen had lost control of the rope and the Dilong had crashed the last metre, landing heavily on the ground. Then Stephen had lost his footing, crashing next to the Dilong and almost hitting Connor.

"Stephen! Are you all right?" Connor knelt next to his companion and touched the motionless body.

"Ouch," Stephen groaned: "That was a little bit too fast." He rolled onto his back and groaned again.

"How's our little fella?" Stephen asked. "I'm all right. Just catching my breath for a second."

Connor checked on the Dilong.

"Still out."

"Can you contact the others of the team? Tell them that we've found it?"

Connor took out the satellite phone and started dialling.

"Just noise. No contact," he concluded after a few minutes.

Stephen took out the map and studied it with the help of a torch.

"There's a mountain hut about 500 metres from here on this level. We could go there and wait out the storm."

"Yes, I think I saw it in the distance."

For the next 15 minutes they didn't speak, but plowed through the snow and darkness towards what was hopefully a protection from the elements and the night, dragging the dead weight of the Dilong between them.

The hut appeared to be a true blessing.
There was plenty of firewood, gas lamps, tinned food and bottles of water. There was also a huge dog crate, probably used for hunting dogs.

They put the prehistoric creature in the modern animal container.

"Now if it wakes up I can easily give it another dose," Stephen said smugly, making sure the crate was closed and locked properly. "Now it's time for some food and a hot drink. I'm starving."

Whilst Stephen prepared some food, Connor kindled a fire and put some blankets, that he had found, in front of the fireplace. In the meantime he tried to contact the other team members again.

"Maybe it's best to wait until the morning. It's too dark for them to get to us anyway. And we need to save the batteries on the satellite phone, " Stephen suggested. "We're comfortable here and we can keep the Dilong sedated."

Connor nodded, trying to keep a straight face, but he was thrilled he was going to spend the night with Stephen. He didn't want to admit it, most of all not to himself, but he had a huge crush on the sporty tracker.

"Do you know how to keep it sedated?" Connor asked, whilst they were eating beans on toast and drinking hot, strong coffee.

"I guess the weight of an animal. I think it's going to wake up in a few hours and that we need to sedate it once more. We can sleep both at the same time, though. It's safe and sound in the crate and we'll hear it wake up."

They finished their meal in silence.

When they huddled together, wrapped up in the blankets near the fire, Connor suddenly felt really uncomfortable so close to his handsome colleague.

He started rambling all kind of facts, like hair-like feathers about the Dilong, as if reading aloud from his prehistoric creatures database. He also mentioned that very recently a length of fluffy plumage was discovered within a piece of amber and that it had been identified as part of a dinosaur tail, offering new insights into the evolution of feathers.

"Shut up, Connor," Stephen laughed. "Let's get some sleep. We could do with the rest."

Despite being a bit nervous Connor fell asleep and didn't wake up until early the next morning.

He was embarrassed to find out he'd snuggled up into Stephen's arms, his head resting on Stephen's chest. And worst of all: he had been drooling.

"Morning, sunshine," Stephen sniggered, looking into Connor's red face, when he sat up and wiped his mouth.

"Sor… Sorry about that," Connor stammered.

"No worries," Stephen said, smiling. "I enjoyed it… We should do it again. My place tonight?… And yes, I'm serious."

And then Stephen did something Connor never expected. He kissed him. A sensual and pleasantly long kiss.

Connor felt his red face even glowing more. Really? Did Stephen fancy him? Him? Connor, the geek?

Connor's answer to Stephen's invitation was drowned by the sound of the satellite phone.
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