So, this is the last chapter. Thank you all so much for the amazing reviews and feedback you've given me for this story, I've really appreciated it. Now that this story is over with I can start work on a couple of others I have floating around in my head. One of them is so unoriginal and trope-y that I kind of hate myself for wanting to write it... you'll see what I mean when I post the first chapter, lol!
Jess came round slowly. She kept her eyes closed for a minute after waking up, enjoying the warmth of her bed. Then she realised a few things. One – this bed definitely wasn't hers, it was far too uncomfortable. Two – there were weird sounds around her; beeps and a very loud ticking. And three – her head was throbbing.
She winced a little and then opened her eyes. Just a glance at he fluorescent lighting overhead told Jess that she was in the medical wing of the ARC – and with a rush the memories of why she was there came flooding back. The creature, the warehouse, Becker...
Speaking of whom... Jess turned her head and saw that Becker was sitting in a chair right next to the bed. He'd changed into civilian clothes, and his hair was messy, like he'd been running his hands through it. Her heart flipped over at the sight of him – he was actually sitting by her bed. And, she suddenly remembered, he had kissed her. He had actually kissed her.
Becker gave her a relieved smile. "Hi," he said.
Jess was propped up against about three pillows, and she shifted back a bit to sit up properly. Her head wasn't throbbing anymore, but there was a constant dull ache. "Hi," she said. "Are you alright?"
Becker actually laughed at that. "Me? I'm fine," he said. "How do you feel?"
Jess shrugged. "I have a headache," she said.
Becker quirked an eyebrow at her. "That's not surprising," he said.
Jess had to look away from him after a moment. After everything that had happened between them, she couldn't help but feel a bit awkward. Okay, so he had kissed her in the warehouse, but it had probably just been in the heat of the moment. After all, he had his rules.
Jess looked down and saw that she had bandages on her left arm and her right hand.
Becker saw her looking. "Sixteen stitches," he said, nodding at her arm. "Your hand needed four." Jess looked at him and he smirked. "Told you so."
Jess looked back down at her arms, her mouth twisting at the sight of the ugly bandages. "That was stupid," she said.
"Yep," said Becker. He drew out the word and popped the 'p'.
Jess sighed. "I should have cut my right arm, then I wouldn't have to have a bandage on both," she said.
Becker was suddenly glaring at her. "Should have... Jess, what you should have done was run away," he said sternly. "It almost killed you!"
Jess gaped at him. "It was about to kill you," she said.
"Doesn't matter," Becker said dismissively, his glare deepening. "Next time – and there'd better not be a next time – next time you run away."
Jess glared back at him for a few moments before answering. "Sorry, but no," she said coldly.
"It's my job to protect you, not the other way round," said Becker through gritted teeth.
Jess narrowed her eyes at him. "I disagree."
Becker growled – actually growled. "Jess, you can't just –"
But Jess had had enough. "If you think that I would ever just leave you to die, you don't me at all!" She exclaimed angrily. Becker's eyes widened at her outburst, and Jess looked away, glaring at the wall and silently fuming.
After a few moments, Jess felt Becker's hand cover hers, and she looked back at him in surprise. He wasn't glaring anymore. "I'm sorry," he said after a couple of seconds. Jess' eyebrows shot up, and Becker looked away. "I just... I really don't like seeing you in danger like that."
Jess turned her hand over under his and squeezed his fingers. "Well, now you know how I feel every time there's an anomaly alert," she said.
Becker looked back at her and they stared at each other in silence. They were still holding hands, and after a few moments Jess felt her cheeks start to flush and she looked away. She couldn't handle him staring at her like that – she just didn't know what it meant anymore.
Becker cleared his throat. "So... thanks for saving my life," he said. She looked back and he gave her a small smile. "Again."
Jess smiled back. "Ditto."
And... back to the awkward staring again. Jess looked at him, trying desperately to think of something to say to break the silence.
After about a minute, though, Becker moved suddenly. "Okay," he said, standing up. Jess thought for a moment that he was going to leave, and her heart sank, but instead he sat down on her bed, so he was much closer. Jess swallowed as he put his hands down either side of her legs, and gave her a serious look.
He took a deep breath. "What you said about my... guilt complex, as you called it... you're wrong," he said. Jess closed her eyes briefly – she had really hoped he'd forget all about that conversation. She couldn't believe she had actually said all that to him.
"I don't like feeling guilty," Becker said. Jess nodded, and Becker sighed. "But I think you might be right in that I've been... holding onto the guilt," he said. "Probably a bit more than is healthy."
Jess bit her lip. She really didn't know what to say to that.
Becker stared at her for a moment before carrying on. "I still think romantic relationships are a huge distraction," he said. Jess looked away and nodded as he kept talking. "When I started this job... when I realised how important it was, I made the decision not to get involved with anyone. The minute I thought that I might start to have feelings for someone, I made the conscious decision to... not."
Jess looked back, frowning. "How is that even possible?" She asked.
Becker shook his head. "I don't think it is," he said. "I'm starting to realise that it wasn't conscious – I just didn't feel that way about those people..." He paused and looked at her intently. "Not like the way I feel about you."
"Because you were different," Becker told her. "I figured out pretty quickly that I was... in danger, shall we say... but it made no difference. With you I just didn't have a choice." He smiled sardonically. "Which means that relationship or not – I'm screwed."
Jess' breath caught in her throat. "Are you saying that you're thinking of breaking your rules?" She asked quietly, her heart starting to beat at double speed.
Becker's smile widened. "I'm saying I think I need some new ones," he said.
Jess didn't hesitate – she reached out with both hands, grabbed hold of Becker's shirt collar in her fists, and pulled him towards her. Luckily for her he caught on quickly and his arms came around her back as their lips met. Jess could feel him smiling against her lips, and her heart soared. A girlish part of her was repeating 'he likes me, he really likes me!' in her head as the kiss deepened, and she pressed closer to him, moving her arms up around his neck. A dull pain shot up her injured arm but she ignored it, thinking of nothing except the feel of Becker's tongue running along her bottom lip – she opened her mouth to him and moaned in the back of her throat.
Jess fell backwards against her pillows again, pulling Becker down with her, and it was bliss for a few seconds, before he was suddenly pulling away.
"Okay rule number one," he said quickly, pushing himself up and sitting back. He was breathing a little heavily, like Jess, who blinked at him. He smiled at her. "No making out in the medical wing."
Jess nodded slowly. "Oh. Okay." She stared at him for a moment. "Can we go somewhere else?"
Becker laughed and leant forward again to kiss her again, but very lightly and he pulled away very quickly, but didn't sit back straight away. He rested his forehead against hers. "You are going to be the worst distraction in the world," he said. He smiled at her and then stood up. Jess frowned.
"I'll go find a doctor," he said. "Then maybe you can get out of here."
Becker started walking towards the door, and Jess pushed herself back up. "Becker."
Becker stopped and looked back at her. Jess took a deep breath. "You know that you're brilliant at your job, right?" She said. "And there's nothing I could do to change that."
Becker stared at her. "Jess..." His voice trailed off and he looked at her intently. He gave her a small smile. "Thanks."
He was still staring at her, and Jess smirked. "I could give it a try though," she said cheekily.
Becker grinned. "I'll go find that doctor."