Let Me See Your Bruises

A/N: This is a coda of sorts to 4x7.

When Becker came to, he felt as though he had been hit by a truck and the driver had backed over him a few extra times just to make sure they'd got him. He thought maybe there was someone with him but couldn't get past the pounding in his head to check just yet.

"I suppose the expected thing would be to make a remark about 'Sleeping Beauty', so let's just assume I've done it and move on, shall we?"

There was no confusing that voice with anyone else. Becker cracked his eyes open and saw Lester crouched down on his heels, his relaxed posture at odds with his immaculate dress. Becker slid his arm out of the strap of his EMD and tried to sit up but hissed through his teeth as every inch of his body protested the movement.

Lester pushed down against Becker's shoulder. "Not so fast, Becker. I'm not a doctor but even I know that's a terrible idea."

Though Lester's tone was impassive, Becker was fairly certain he wasn't imagining the concern he saw in Lester's eyes. A wave of nausea rolled through Becker and he closed his eyes as though that would ward it off, pressing his cheek against the cold floor. He licked his dry lips before he spoke, his voice a hoarse croak. "I think I'm going to throw up."

"If you do, please try to aim away from me. These shoes cost more than your entire wardrobe."

Becker took deep, slow breaths in through his nose and out through his mouth. He dimly registered the feel of Lester's hands kneading into the muscles in his neck and shoulders, gently and carefully. After a while Becker started to feel slightly less like he was dying.

Apparently Lester must have come to the same conclusion because he said, "All right, let's see if you can try sitting up." He wrapped his arms around Becker's shoulders and gradually Becker was drawn into an upright position. Becker was not a little proud of himself for the way he hadn't whimpered or anything.

He rested his forehead in the crook of Lester's neck, breathing in the familiar smell of Lester's cologne. Lester's fingers were moving through Becker's hair and down against his neck in the sort of affectionate gesture Lester only allowed himself if he thought no one would call him on it.

"He got away, didn't he," Becker said, a statement more than a question.

Lester's fingers stilled and then resumed. "Yes. Matt and Danny have gone after him."

Becker started to laugh but immediately regretted it. His attempt at a bitter laugh sounded more like a wheeze and felt like knives stabbing through his insides. "I really am terrible at this," he said, his voice only a little muffled by the cloth of Lester's suit. "Honestly, I don't know why you keep me around."

Lester drew back and regarded Becker for a moment, Becker feeling embarrassed at how pathetic he must look, but Lester just kissed the side of his mouth and said, "Becker, you're an idiot." He got to his feet and then started to help Becker up. "Come on, I'd better take you to get checked over. Those EMDs are nasty things, aren't they."

Pride made Becker want to refuse Lester's assistance, but practicality won out. Lester draped his arm around Becker's waist and looped Becker's arm around his shoulders, letting Becker lean on him as they made their unsteady way down the corridor. "I wish you'd stop nearly getting yourself killed," Lester said with a squeeze of Becker's hip. "It's become a rather unfortunate habit."

"I guess I could try and find another hobby, if it's that important to you, Lester. I know how you worry."

Lester snorted, but the line of his body was a reassuring press against Becker's side. Maybe Becker was an idiot, but maybe if he could have this one thing, if he could not mess this up, well... Maybe that would be enough.