It’s being a very boring afternoon, and Becker has drunk far more coffee than is really wise because he’s got nothing better to do, and it takes five minutes to walk from his office to the coffee machine and back, so at least he’s killing time.
“Go on,” Connor wheedles, appearing from nowhere, “Tell me your name.”
“You’ll laugh,” Becker responds flatly, shoving his mug into the machine and pressing the button.
“Probably,” Connor agrees, “But tell me anyway.”
“Your fixation with my first name is a little creepy,” Becker observes, watching yet more caffeine he really doesn’t need pouring into the cup.
“I live with you,” Connor points out, half in a whisper – no one actually knows about this arrangement, and it’s probably just as well because they would never hear the end of it – “It’s weird that I don’t even know your name.” He frowns. “What do your friends call you?”
“Becker. Beck, if they’re feeling daring.”
Connor starts walking back to Becker’s office with him, even though it’s completely the opposite way to Connor’s lab.
“What about…” He’s silent for a moment, and Becker allows himself to hope that maybe Connor will just let it go. He’s punished for his optimism a second later. “What about people you’re dating, do they get to know your name?”
Becker doesn’t particularly want to have Connor and the word ‘dating’ in close proximity to each other, but he mentally shakes himself and decides that he can deal with this, because he is, after all, not fifteen.
“Yes,” he responds, clipped and hard. Connor either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care that Becker clearly doesn’t want to follow this line of conversation.
“What, do you tell them after they’ve asked you out?” he continues.
“No, I tend to tell them as an anniversary present,” Becker responds.
“Wow,” Connor says, blinking, “Is it ‘Hitler’?”
Becker gives him a look that would strip paint and probably burn the brickwork underneath. “Go away and electrocute yourself or whatever it is that you do all day, Connor,” he orders mildly, tone snotty but not cruel.
“I will work it out,” Connor promises him.
“Why do you care so much?” Becker asks.
“You’re a mystery wrapped in an enigma,” Connor says cheerfully, “I’m going to figure you out.”
“There’s really nothing to figure out,” Becker says. “I’m really genuinely not interesting.”
“I’m going to carry on disagreeing with you,” Connor replies, and then he’s walking off down the corridor. Becker does a very good job of not noticing at all how tight Connor’s jeans are across his arse, because he’s got to get out of this with a shred of dignity.
Their latest prehistoric guests have too many teeth and tiny sinister eyes, and they’re chasing them around a forest in the middle of bloody nowhere. Abby and Danny disappeared ages ago, Sarah has stayed with the anomaly, and Becker is once again with Connor, trying to find one of the creatures that disappeared into the trees. It’s leaving helpful giant footprints, but they haven’t managed to catch up with it yet. Connor runs ahead, even as Becker yells at him not to, and in a moment they’ve found the creature; teeth like needles and an approximation of a homicidal expression on it’s face.
Becker fleetingly thinks that he really should’ve just stuck with fighting people.
The thing is advancing on Connor and Becker can’t get a decent shot between the trees. Connor takes a step back, and then another, but he’s been cornered and both he and the dinosaur know it. Becker tries to think of alternative ways to rescue him, but the only thing that suggests itself is something very, very stupid. If anyone else tried it, he’d tear a strip off them and then hand them over to Lester so he could do the same. Still, Becker can’t get his mind to work out another strategy, and his judgement is horribly, impossibly impaired when it comes to Connor Temple, so he just steps up onto a tree stump and yells as loudly as he can.
“HEY, OVER HERE!” He waves his gun as well, in order to try and attract the dinosaur’s attention. It turns with surprising speed, enabling Connor to get away – which is the important bit – and Becker is about to turn and run like hell when the bloody thing runs towards him. Becker tries to dive to the side but he’s still knocked flying, eventually landing in a crumpled heap at the foot of a huge tree. A nasty pain erupts at the back of his head and his vision blurs. He can’t see the dinosaur – it’s clearly run off somewhere – but Becker suspects that that’s the least of his problems. Becker draws in a sharp breath through his teeth, stunned that he’s still conscious, though he knows he won’t be for long. Blackness is crawling in at the edges of the world, and something that feels horribly like blood is dripping down the back of his neck.
“Becker!” Connor’s voice sounds panicked and thick as he scrambles towards him. Becker blinks a few times, trying to stay together long enough to get Connor out of here. That is his job, after all; to keep the team safe. “Oh God, Becker.”
Connor drops to his knees beside him, reaching to tilt Becker’s head up a little, hands cradling his skull. When he brings them back, his fingers are stained brilliant red, his fingerless gloves suddenly wet. Becker realises that the bleeding is actually quite serious, though that thought is surprisingly placid; he can feel consciousness sliding away from him.
“Connor,” he says, talking too loudly to work through the shock and the concussion, “Connor, you need to get out of here.”
“I’m not leaving you,” Connor responds, voice trembling. Becker doesn’t have time for this. He pushes his gun at Connor, who reluctantly curls his bloody hands around it.
“You need to go,” Becker says, hearing his words sliding together, “Find Quinn, get back-up. Come back for me if you can.”
“Becker-” Connor’s voice is cracking, but Becker’s vision has become a thin sliver and he knows he doesn’t have much time.
“Bloody go, Temple,” he orders, and tumbles back into the darkness.
When Becker finally manages to crack his eyes open his head is literally thudding with pain and he feels horribly nauseous.
“‘Bout time,” someone says; after a moment, Becker’s vision clears enough for him to be able to establish it’s Danny. “I was just starting to get worried.”
Danny’s shirt is stained red right down the front; Becker’s stomach clenches. He’s failed; oh God, not again. He tries to speak, but he can’t get the words to form.
“Hey,” Danny says, reaching to put a strong hand on his shoulder, “It’s ok, Becker, just take a moment.” He seems to notice where Becker is looking, because he adds: “Don’t worry, it’s not my blood.”
Becker frowns; his memories are in shards and his head feels thick and achy.
“It’s yours,” Danny adds, grimacing slightly. “But the doctors seem to think you’ll be ok. You’re a tough bastard, you know? You had us all shit-scared.”
Finally, Becker registers that he’s in the ARC, lying in a sterile white bed. He manages to raise a hand to his head, and his fingers meet the edge of a bandage. Right.
“You’re bloody heavy as well,” Danny adds, with a trace of a real smile.
Becker blinks at him, and then manages to rasp: “All muscle.”
Danny laughs, which attracts the attention of one of their doctors. She hurries over and spends what seems to be an incredibly long period of time prodding Becker and shining lights in his eyes and so on.
“I want to keep you here for observation,” she says at last. “Nothing too serious; you’ve just got a concussion. You were very lucky.”
Becker knows, even if he still feels horribly groggy and his head feels like it’s actually been split open and then inexpertly repaired with duct tape. He swallows, feeling the nausea rising in his throat. Danny helps him sit up, managing to prop Becker’s pillows up with far more competence than Becker would’ve expected from an ex-policeman.
“I’d better go and tell the others you’re awake,” Danny says, clasping Becker’s shoulder with a warm, strong hand. “I’m glad you’re not dead, you bloody idiot.”
“Me too,” Becker responds, and waits until he’s gone before throwing up.
Becker had the piss taken out of him something chronic in Special Ops; whenever he has concussion he always ends up vomiting for hours. It’s unpleasant and kind of embarrassing, although the ARC medics are surprisingly nice about the whole thing. Lester has come and told him that the minute Becker can string a whole sentence together and stand upright he is going to be in big trouble, but other than that he’s been lying around feeling like hell and puking into the bowl provided for him, and wallowing in self-pity the rest of the time.
The door opens when he’s hacking up bile and beginning to wish that the bloody dinosaur had just killed him outright because surely that would be better than this, but Becker can’t raise his head. He does jump a minute later, when a gentle hand starts rubbing his back; it’s admittedly comforting, but the sheer indignity of it brings a flush to his cheeks, especially when he manages to force down the nausea and discover that Connor is sitting on a chair beside his bed. He looks like he’s been crying, which makes something inside Becker clench. When he takes his hands away so Becker can lie back, Becker sees that his gloves are missing; Connor’s hands are bare for the first time in as long as he’s known him.
“Sorry I ruined your gloves,” he offers.
Connor half-laughs, though it sounds almost like a sob. “I don’t really care right now about the fucking gloves, Becker.”
Becker cannot have this conversation right now, he really can’t.
“I thought you were dead,” Connor continues, voice shaking. “I thought you were bloody dead.”
Becker swallows, tasting bile rising in his throat again. “I’m not having this conversation,” he warns Connor, swallowing hard. “We cannot have this conversation right now, ok?”
Connor looks like he wants to argue, but Becker bends his head back over the bowl and retches, which effectively shuts him up. He looks wan and scared and almost as bad as Becker feels, which is ridiculous.
“You should go,” Becker tells him, taking one breath and then another one. “I’m fine, I’ve had worse. But I’m not good company right now.”
Connor looks like he might offer to stay anyway, but Becker doesn’t think he can handle that at the moment. He kind of wants to be drugged to sleep right now, and decides he’ll suggest it to the doctor next time she comes over.
“All right,” Connor says at last. “Just… oh… just… God, Becker.”
He looks desperately unhappy and Becker is concussed, and before he can stop himself he’s saying: “Hilary.”
“What?” Connor frowns. “I’m Con-” The penny drops, and a slight smile curls his lips. “Really? Seriously? Hilary?”
“Go away, Connor,” Becker sighs, but he can feel a smirk tugging his lips. The movement hurts, but he can’t make it stop.
“All right,” Connor says, getting up. He looks like he’s going to clasp Becker’s shoulder like Danny did, then seems to think better of it and doesn’t. “Take care of yourself… Hilary.”
“I’m going to regret telling you, aren’t I?” Becker says, as Connor walks over to the door.
Connor turns back, and even though his eyes are red and his face is chalk white, he manages a smile.
Being concussed from your own destructive stupidly quickly loses its novelty, but the doctors still don’t let Becker leave; they keep dragging him off to give him MRIs and ask him questions to establish he hasn’t been brain damaged. He’s bored out of his mind and contemplates discharging himself; but Danny refuses to be an accomplice, and Becker isn’t sure he’s up to wandering the ARC in an unflattering – and backless – hospital gown. He spends a lot of time asleep, itching to get up and do something, anything; staying still isn’t something he enjoys.
What is probably a couple of days later – Becker is losing track of time – Connor comes in looking awkward. He dances around whatever it is he wants to talk about for a while, babbling about the Artefact and TV shows and so on while Becker lies back and lets it wash over him.
“Are you going to get to the point any time soon?” he asks, and is almost embarrassed about how fond his tone is.
Connor grimaces, and isn’t looking him in the eye any more. “Abby’s brother told her the truth about Rex,” he says, “They argued and she kicked him out.”
Becker feels like his stomach has vanished, but he doesn’t betray it on his face. “That means you can go home,” he replies, and is impressed when his voice doesn’t crack.
“Uh, yeah, it does,” Connor agrees.
“Sid and Nancy will be pleased,” Becker remarks, even though he sort of wants to lie down and pull the blankets over his head like a small child, and God he hates being under the influence of painkillers. “Abby’s place is much bigger than mine.” He swallows, forces himself to keep talking. “When are you moving out?”
“I’ll be gone by the time you’re discharged,” Connor responds.
Bugger. Becker nearly says it, but manages to swallow it down. “Right. Well, that’s good.”
“Yeah,” Connor agrees, but his voice sounds somewhat flat. “It’s really… good.”
Becker’s migraine is bashing itself against the sides of his skull and any minute now he just knows Connor is going to do something like call him Hilary and he’s going to end up doing something stupid like trying to kiss him, which would be futile because Connor is Abby’s and always has been and Becker just counts himself lucky that he got to borrow him for a while.
It’s really a relief when the Anomaly detector goes off.
The flat is empty and very, very silent when Becker walks inside, fresh from Lester’s you’re an idiot, Becker, did you know? lecture; it’s eerily tidy and there’s no sound of happy chirping dinosaurs clattering around on the floor. In fact, Becker discovers as he walks around, Connor’s done a truly sensational job of tidying up; he can hardly find any traces that Connor or the Diictodons were ever here. It’s depressing, and Becker firmly decides that it’s the last vestiges of his head injury that’s making his legs shake.
He sits down on his sofa – his sofa again, because Connor won’t be sleeping on it, and little dinosaurs won’t be trying to stake their claim to the cushions – and looks around his living room. The flat suddenly seems larger; the tidiness is unnerving, rather than reassuring.
“You’re being a sentimental fool, Becker,” he says aloud, forcing himself to take his emotions, fold them up neatly, and put them somewhere else.
He makes a cup of tea – taking a second mug out of the cupboard on automatic, before swiftly returning it – and sits back down again. Staring around his damningly empty living room, Becker firmly tells himself that he likes the quiet.
Soon enough, things get back to normal; or, at least, as normal as they can be when you chase dinosaurs about for a living. Connor and Abby flutter around the ARC, giggling and teasing each other, while Becker is back to ordering people around and hiding behind an excellent stoic expression. And if he’s avoiding Connor; well, he’s not doing it obviously enough that anyone else will pick up on it, and he doubts that Connor’s even noticed, joined at the hip to Abby as he is.
He takes to staying late at the ARC, working on security with Danny, who seems to enjoy deliberately breaking into their facility in the name of ‘training’ a little bit too much. They drink unhealthy amounts of coffee and pore over blueprints, looking for weak spots, discussing routes Danny’s already taken and how likely it is that other people will think of them.
“What about down here?” Becker suggests, following a ventilation shaft with his fingertip.
“That’s the one you’ve already booby-trapped,” Danny responds cheerily. “Remember the time you teargassed me?”
“I wouldn’t have teargassed you if you’d followed the route you’d told me you were going to follow,” Becker points out.
“I was trying to catch you off-guard!”
Becker smiles slightly. “Then it’s your own fault and you really should stop blaming me.”
Danny laughs; then looks from Becker to the map to his watch. “We need lives,” he observes.
He may have a point; Becker smiles ruefully, and it stings.
There are a few traces of Connor and the Diictodons left in the flat; like a couple of mugs with hairline cracks in them and tooth marks on the edge of his wardrobe that are probably never going to fade. Becker keeps finding random shreds of newspaper behind his bookcases and under his kitchen cabinets, and has to keep gritting his teeth against things like nostalgia and regret. After all, even if he had asked Connor to stay, he wouldn’t have said yes.
Becker is bad-tempered a lot of the time now; Danny seems to find it quietly amusing, but everyone else is probably getting sick of him snapping out orders in as few words as possible. His men are starting to look a little anxious around the eyes, although of course none of them will ever say anything. Lester just seems bored by Becker’s taciturn responses during debriefings; take your issues somewhere else, Captain, gets thrown at him more than once.
One morning Becker isn’t paying attention in the shower – he spent too long running around the common, because there’s a certain amount of freedom in physical exercise and he’s getting fucking sick of brooding all the time, so he’s almost definitely going to be late into the ARC – and it isn’t until he gets to work that he realises the shower gel he used wasn’t his. He’s in the locker room, changing into his uniform, and when he inhales his skin doesn’t smell like his any more.
He’s late enough as it is, so he doesn’t have time to shower, and instead spends the whole morning resenting Connor for accidentally leaving a bottle of bloody shower gel behind. It’s innocuous and ridiculous, but every time Becker breathes in it’s a constant, sharp reminder that Connor is gone and Connor is not his and never will be, and really, the whole thing is just crap.
Pull yourself together, Hilary, he mentally chants, teeth gritting, trying to distract himself with paperwork and cleaning his weaponry and patronising his men until he thinks a couple of them are actually going to end up fragging him from sheer frustration next time they’re in the field. But when he finally manages to get a grip on the miserable feelings of rejection and shove them somewhere dark and faraway in his head where they won’t bother him, Becker finally notices the thin coil of arousal lying low in his belly. It’s different, but it really isn’t any bloody better.
The worst part comes in the afternoon, when he bumps into Abby while getting yet another cup of coffee – as if he really needs to be any more jittery than he already is – and she gives him a very confused look, before her eyes narrow in a way that’s far too calculating for any sort of comfort. Becker offers her the thinnest of professional smiles, and does his best not to look like the jealous, moping sod that he actually is.
“Are you avoiding me?” Connor asks.
He’s been very sneaky, lying in wait for Becker outside his office so that he can’t escape; Becker would be impressed if he wasn’t too busy wanting out of this conversation, and it hasn’t even begun yet.
Yes. Of course I am. “No,” he says aloud. “Why would I be avoiding you?”
Connor shrugs, hands shoved into the pockets of his skinny jeans. He’s unconsciously pushed his jeans down so far that there’s a thin sliver of very pale skin visible between the hem of his t-shirt and his waistband, which Becker is not looking at. At all. Really.
“We just… don’t ever seem to see each other,” Connor shrugs.
“Well,” Becker says, keeping his voice steady, “We don’t actually factor that much in each other’s every day lives. Just when we’re all about to be killed by something with sharp teeth and a brain the size of a potato.”
“Right.” Connor looks right at him, then at his shoes, then at the ceiling, then at Becker again. “Um, so I haven’t pissed you off at all?”
Becker is suddenly very glad that he learned to keep all his awkward flailing inside at a very early age, because otherwise he suspects that right now he’d have even less coordination than Connor does.
“No less than usual,” he shrugs, making sure to smile to soften the words. “How are the brats?”
Connor’s smile slides into something a lot more genuine. “They got hold of most of Abby’s shoes on Tuesday,” he says. “Bits of rubber and laces everywhere; so we’re thinking about trying to train them.”
“Oh,” Becker says, smirking, “So when it was just my stuff getting eaten, that was ok, but now it’s your things…”
Connor laughs, and then his expression becomes very serious. “Look, Becker,” he begins.
Becker’s radio crackles into life; he’s needed on one of the other levels. He feels annoyance tinged with relief. “I have to go,” he says.
“Right,” Connor says, “Well, I’ll just… find you later, then.”
And Becker knows that he’s a bastard for sneaking the back way out of the ARC when his shift ends, the secret escape route that only he and Danny know about, but he doesn’t think that there’s anything Connor wants to say that he will actually be able to hear without wanting to do something violent. It probably isn’t important, anyway.
An obnoxious ringing wakes Becker up, and he blearily blinks at his alarm clock; it’s stupidly early in the morning. Grimacing, he fumbles for his mobile, glancing quickly at the screen. He expects it to be Lester or someone, but… it isn’t.
“Someone had better be dying,” he grits, because Abby calling him before it’s even light cannot mean anything good.
“I need a hand,” Abby says; her voice sounds small and far away, tinged with sheepishness. “It’s Connor.”
It’s embarrassing how quickly Becker goes from half asleep to instantly alert the minute Connor’s name is mentioned.
“Is he ok?” he demands.
“He’s fine,” Abby replies, still sounding awkward. “He’s… very drunk, though. And Danny isn’t picking up his phone and I didn’t know who else to call.”
Becker wants to say no. Wants to tell Abby to deal with her boyfriend herself. But… but it’s Connor, and he’s already reaching for his jeans.
“Where are you?”
Becker isn’t about to claim that he knows everything about Connor, but he did live in extremely close proximity to him for a couple of months, so he’s reasonably certain that getting so drunk he’s almost unconscious is entirely out of character. Abby is grim-faced, silent in the passenger seat of Becker’s car as Connor dozes in the back seat. Her eyes are dark, face occasionally illuminated by orange street lights as they pass by.
“Thank you for this,” she says, at last. “I don’t know what’s up with him, but…” She trails off on a sigh, and Becker immediately decides to deny anything and everything. Not that any of this can be his fault, of course. That would be utterly impossible.
Becker doesn’t bother trying to get Connor to walk when they finally make it back; he just hooks one arm under Connor’s knees and another around his shoulders, and carries him upstairs. Connor is just about conscious, though definitely not aware of his surroundings, and Becker resists the urge to shake him a lot for being so stupid.
“Sofa,” Abby says, jerking her head towards it when she lets them into the flat, before she disappears off into another room. Connor’s eyes open a little, and he frowns.
“Apparently,” Becker responds, carrying Connor towards the sofa.
Connor groans and buries his face in Becker’s shoulder. “You make my head hurt,” he mumbles.
“No,” Becker replies, a bite in his voice, “That would be the vast quantities of alcohol you decided it would be a good idea to consume.”
Connor doesn’t reply, and Becker carefully lies him down on the sofa, propping a pillow under his head. He can’t stop himself from reaching out and smoothing a hand through Connor’s messy hair; Connor is half-asleep and he mumbles something that might be nonsense or might just about be interpreted as Hilary. Becker snatches his hand back as though he’s been burned, and looks up to find Abby has reappeared with a blanket. She spreads it over Connor’s sleeping form, something almost maternal in her expression.
“Do you want a cup of tea before you go, Becker?” she asks.
Although it’s phrased as an offer, Becker doesn’t make the mistake of thinking that it is. He’s had direct orders barked at him by superior officers that had less actual command in them than Abby’s tone has. Her jaw is clenched, and Becker would honestly rather try and face down another bloody giant dinosaur than refuse Abby Maitland anything right now.
“Please,” he says.
Abby busies herself with the kettle, occasionally throwing glances at Becker. He stands very still and tries to look innocent. Apparently, all their noise must have woken up the dinosaurs though, because in moments Becker hears the sound of claws clicking on the floor, and an ecstatic Nancy practically flings herself onto his feet. Becker laughs, in spite of himself, and crouches down to pat her head. She chirrups with delight, and before he knows it Becker finds himself with an armful of excited dinosaur. He straightens up with her squirming happily in his hold, swallowing down a delighted smile of his own, because he’ll never admit to just how much he’s actually missed the Diictodons.
Sid is keeping his distance, but has come padding over too. I knew you liked me really, you little bugger, Becker thinks, but manages not to say it aloud. The final straw, really, is when Rex comes swooping down from wherever he’s been hiding, briefly landing on Becker’s shoulder.
Abby’s expression is one of deep suspicion, and Becker can’t really blame her. It probably does all look rather incriminating.
“Milk and sugar?” Abby asks.
“Milk please,” Becker responds, “And half a sugar.”
Abby’s hands freeze over the tea things, and then she starts moving again. Becker sinks into a nearby chair, Nancy happily settling herself down on his lap. Abby brings two mugs of tea over, all but slamming one down in front of Becker, before sitting down opposite him.
“Connor stayed with you while Jack was here, didn’t he?” she says, launching straight in.
“What makes you say that?” he asks, keeping carefully stoic.
“Nancy’s really comfortable around you,” Abby explains, waving a hand at the little dinosaur, who is now snoring softly against Becker’s knee. “And when Connor first moved back in and made us both tea, he automatically made my tea just the way you like it.”
Becker doesn’t let his expression flicker. “Circumstantial evidence,” he says.
Abby shrugs. “Maybe. But he did, didn’t he?”
There’s really no point in denying it; Abby’s expression clearly tells Becker that she’s figuring a lot of things out much faster than he really wants her to, and there’s nothing at all he can do about it.
“He was sleeping in the ARC,” Becker says. “I offered him my sofa and somewhere relatively safe to keep the Diictodons.”
“Right,” Abby says, clearly processing this information, and is silent for a long moment. Becker sips his tea; it’s far too hot, but right now it gives him something to do to alleviate the awkwardness he’s trying desperately not to feel. Abby glances at Connor, obliviously asleep on the sofa, and then looks back at Becker. “Do you miss him?” she asks.
The question catches him off-guard; of all the questions and accusations Becker was expecting, that wasn’t one of them.
“Do. You. Miss. Him?”
Becker tries and fails to construct an answer that won’t make him sound utterly fixated and pathetic, and ends up sitting in silence, incapable of replying. Abby’s expression slides from firm and a little angry to plain murderous, mouth thinning.
“Right,” she says abruptly, in a conversation-over sort of tone.
“It’s not a simple question,” Becker manages at last, against his better judgement.
“Yes, it is,” Abby replies. “There are all sorts of complicated questions I could be asking, but I’m not.”
Becker suddenly wishes for the ability to babble inanely like Connor does; at least then he’d be able to fill up this all-consuming silence. Abby wants more of an admission from him than he thinks he’s capable of giving, and none of this is fair. After a moment, Abby stands up, coming around the table to pick Nancy up off Becker’s lap.
“You should be going,” she says, voice like ice.
Becker makes it all the way to the door before he turns. Abby has put Nancy down – she and Sid are now scampering back across the flat – and is watching Becker go, arms folded, expression homicidal.
“Yes,” Becker says, even though he knows he shouldn’t, “Yes, Abby, I miss him. All right?”
Nausea is twisting his stomach and it isn’t fair of her to do this, it isn’t. Abby walks over to join him at the door, expression softening.
“You know what, Becker,” she says, “I reckon you just act like an officious bastard most of the time to hide the fact that you’re, well, not.”
Becker doesn’t know what he is or isn’t at the moment, which is what happens when half your life is classified and the other half fits firmly in the don’t ask, don’t tell category.
“…Thanks, I suppose,” he says, and catches one last glimpse of Connor asleep on the sofa before Abby shuts the door.
Nearly a week later, someone knocks on Becker’s door late one evening. He’s really not expecting to pull the door open to find Connor standing there, an interestingly tormented expression on his face.
“Can I come in?” he asks.
Becker nods, momentarily struck completely dumb, and stands aside.
“Wow,” Connor says, looking around, “It’s really neat in here. Still. No wonder you hated Sid and Nancy so much.”
“I don’t hate Sid and Nancy,” Becker says, and manages not to mention that a very small part of him is secretly hoping that another anomaly will open to the same period and he’ll be able to get a Diictodon of his own. Or maybe two. Connor nods and smiles at the admission, but he doesn’t say anything else. Becker really isn’t used to silence from Connor, and it’s unnerving, to say the least. “Uh… is there a reason you’re here?” he asks.
“Yes,” Connor says quickly, “Yes, definitely a reason.”
He doesn’t elaborate, and Becker takes a breath, because one of them needs to stay in control here. He doesn’t have high hopes for this conversation; Connor is not exactly the most confident or eloquent of people, and Becker is almost monosyllabic to a fault, so none of this will end well. And the silence is still stretching itself out, getting comfortable.
“What,” he begins, smiling a little, “Did you suddenly decide you want to sleep another night on my sofa?”
Connor hesitates, takes a deep breath Becker can hear, and then says: “I thought maybe I’d be sleeping in your bed.”
Becker’s brain actually short-circuits.
“Where would I sleep?” he asks carefully, making sure not to break eye contact, determined to be cautious until he’s certain that Connor isn’t just being strange and ambiguous.
“Well, maybe you’d be sleeping there too.”
Becker’s mind screams something like oh fucking hell, Connor has come over here to seduce me, but then can’t come up with anything else. It’s ridiculous; he has such sharp physical reflexes, but his mind appears to have been wiped entirely blank, and he can’t think of anything to say in time.
An impressive flush spreads over Connor’s face as Becker hesitates a second too long, and he turns away.
“Oh God, I should go.”
Finally, Becker’s thought processes grind back into action, and he realises that Connor has been so very brave, coming over here like this; the least he can do is be a little bit brave in return. He reaches Connor in a couple of strides, catching his arm and pulling him around to face him. Connor opens his mouth to say something, but before he can utter a single syllable, Becker does what he’s been wanting to do to shut Connor up for almost as long as he’s known him. He presses his lips to Connor’s, catching the words before they can ever be spoken.
It takes Connor a heart-stopping moment to get with the programme, and then he makes an interesting little noise that Becker just wants to keep, before wrapping his arms around Becker’s neck and kissing him back.
Connor’s mouth is warm and wet and there’s nothing at all shy or awkward about the way he kisses; Becker never wants to surface for air again, but eventually he forces himself to pull back, resting their foreheads together.
“So what brought this on?” he asks softly.
Connor laughs; they’re so close that his breath tickles Becker’s lips, soft and intimate. “Abby may have pointed out that you’ve got kind of a thing for me.”
Becker arches an eyebrow. “Is that what she said?”
“Yep.” Connor’s grinning now, swollen lips curled back from his teeth. “She told me that even though you’re emotionally stunted and startlingly unobservant, you’re crazy about me.” He draws out the word crazy and Becker doesn’t even try to stop himself from leaning in and capturing Connor’s mouth again.
“I am going to have words with Abigail,” he murmurs when they finally part.
“Don’t,” Connor says. “You should thank her, send her some flowers or something.”
“If I send her flowers, the brats will eat them,” Becker reminds him.
“Yeah, but if she hadn’t pointed a few things out to me, I’d still be pining worse than Nancy,” Connor tells him, “And she tore up three of my shirts.”
Becker’s hands are sliding down Connor’s sides without him having any sort of conscious control over them; the urge, the need to touch now he’s got permission is almost overwhelming. His fingertips slide under the hem of Connor’s t-shirt, and he feels as much as hears the other man’s breath hitch.
“So what did you rip up with your teeth?” he asks softly, sliding his hands a little higher, Connor’s stomach muscles fluttering beneath his fingertips.
Connor glances down and then back up at Becker. “Speaking of tearing things off with your teeth…”
Becker hears a startled laugh escape him. “Seriously?” he asks.
Connor flushes slightly, laughing too. “You’re lucky I’m still managing to put together sentences,” he says, “I don’t do this very often.”
“By ‘this’, do you mean propositioning your fellow team-members?”
“Exactly.” Connor’s lips twitch. “Actually, this is my first time.”
“Good,” Becker responds, almost surprised the rush of possessiveness he gets just thinking about Connor doing this with anyone else. He smiles, and suspects that it’s the sort of smile he won’t be able to get rid of for days.
“How am I doing?” Connor flutters his eyelashes, laughter singing across his mouth.
“Not bad from where I’m standing,” Becker replies, “Though I am fairly easy-”
“Here’s hoping,” Connor observes, grinning.
“-I just have one simple rule.”
Connor adopts a faintly serious expression, frowning quizzically.
“If you call me ‘Hilary’ in bed, they will never find your body.”
And, for once in his life, Connor actually does what he’s told.
Not that he really gets the chance to say anything much; Becker seals his mouth with kisses as he backs him into the bedroom, stripping them both because Connor’s hands are shaking far too hard for him to have any coordination at all. When he moves to explore the line of Connor’s throat with his lips and teeth and tongue – looks like Connor will need to wear scarves for the foreseeable future, and oh how Becker doesn’t fucking care – Connor lets slip a series of nonsensical sentences; God and please and yes all tangled together until Becker kisses his way back to his mouth, cutting Connor off abruptly.
By the time Connor’s hard against his hip, fingers tangling in Becker’s hair and sliding down his spine, he’s replaced half the words with breathless whimpers and most of the remaining distinguishable sounds seem to form the word please; Becker takes his time sliding the length of Connor’s body – slim but muscled, pale but strong, and there isn’t anywhere he doesn’t want to touch him – just because he’s enjoying reducing Connor’s usual incoherent babble to sheer vowel sounds of want. Connor’s back arches and he spills a dozen swear words when Becker finally takes his cock into his mouth, firm hands keeping Connor’s hips flat to the bed, leaving him entirely at Becker’s mercy.
The words falling from Connor’s red lips have mostly become please and fuck and oh Jesus, all of them scraped raw and hungry, and Becker takes him deeper just because he can, just because Connor’s clawing at the bedsheets and Becker’s hair and his thighs are trembling in a way that is going to imprint itself onto Becker’s memory for oh such a long time.
He could make Connor come now but he doesn’t, wants to drag this moment out until it breaks; instead he leaves Connor flushed and writhing and breathing out desperate streams of obscenities as Becker searches through his bedside drawers. Finally, he presses his mouth to Connor’s, breathing in every sharp exhalation as he slides one finger inside Connor. The other man is twitching beneath him, and when Becker slips in a second finger he begins murmuring into Connor’s ear; a litany of filth, promising Connor that he’s going to fuck him senseless, that he’ll have to call in sick tomorrow and spend the whole day in bed, until Connor is gasping and begging for more, hips twisting as he fucks himself on Becker’s fingers.
Becker’s hands are almost shaking too hard to get the condom on, and Connor is still talking, words pouring out, strings of swearwords and pleas and things that Becker isn’t even listening to because it’s not the content, it’s the sound.
Connor’s legs fit easily around his hips and Becker slides deep with almost no resistance whatsoever; Connor’s swollen mouth is open in a gasp and for one moment he’s beautifully, perfectly silent. Becker sucks in a sharp breath between his teeth and decides that he doesn’t ever want to do anything again except staying in bed doing this. And then he pulls back and thrusts in again, and Connor lets out a mangled broken shout of: “Becker!”
It takes a while to find a rhythm; Connor swears constantly, hair sticking to his forehead with sweat, eyes wide, pupils blown wide open with want, while Becker summons up the dregs of his self-control, trying to go slow, trying to be as gentle as he can. But Connor’s voice is disintegrating, cracking over harder and faster and more and oh my fucking God, and before he knows it Becker is slamming into him, breath tearing at his lungs, while Connor’s words eventually just become shapeless shouts.
If Connor is still capable of walking or talking tomorrow, it really won’t be through any fault of Becker’s.
“If you don’t turn out to be a screamer, I’ll be gutted,” Becker pants, propping himself on one elbow over Connor so he can reach between them and curl merciless fingers around Connor’s cock. “Come on, I think there must be a couple of my neighbours you haven’t woken up yet.”
“It’s not bloody funny!” Connor manages, but Becker can feel the laughter – the blissful, smug laughter – erupting from his mouth anyway.
“Yeah, yeah it is,” he murmurs, before thrusting up. Connor’s head tips back, eyes closing; he groans some mangled mixture of Becker and Hilary, and on Becker’s next thrust he gets the scream he’s looking for, Connor’s cock twitching in his hand.
Neither of them last much longer after that; Connor comes in a wordless roar after a few more thrusts, clenching so tight around Becker’s cock that a moment later he follows, burying his face in Connor’s shoulder, a groan sliding out between his teeth.
He pulls out carefully, and Connor looks up at him for a moment, chest rising and falling with his rapid breathing. And then his mouth breaks into the biggest, most ecstatic smile Becker has ever seen on anyone; he feels himself mirroring it, letting Connor pull him down onto the bed, arms sliding easily and naturally around Becker’s waist. It occurs to him that he’s never going to be able to look at Connor again without seeing this – the other man stripped naked but for his fingerless gloves, flushed and well-fucked and blissfully happy – and muses that maybe he’ll send Abby those flowers after all.