I wrote this today on my phone, using my LiveJournal app... it took FOREVER. But it was in my head and I wanted it out. It's a short fluff piece which I hope you enjoy. I only just saw tonight's episode, and I loved it; not much Becker/Jess interaction, but it was still an awesome episode... it was like all the favourite beasties came back for the ep – there was even a mammoth on a motorway!
Anyway, enjoy the story!
A Walk in the Park
It wasn't too often that the team got to enjoy the great outdoors without having to worry about chasing a prehistoric creature or protecting the general public, so with the sun shining at the weekend and for the first time in months nothing to do at the ARC, Jess had suggested a trip to the park. The idea had been taken up enthusiastically by Connor and Emily, Abby and Matt had agreed with a certain amount of reluctance, and Becker... well, he didn't seem happy about it at all.
Jess assumed it was just his usual workaholic attitude making him a killjoy, but he didn't try to get out of it - she soon realised that the part of the plan he objected to was the park. He suggested a movie marathon or the pub instead, but Jess (and Connor and Emily) was adamant - they needed some fresh air.
So they all made their way to the park on the Saturday afternoon, picnic blankets, food baskets and frisbees in hand. Becker had at least dressed for the occasion; he had foregone his usual jeans for a pair of long shorts and a t-shirt, but he still looked strangely tense as they spread out their blankets under a shady tree.
Connor and Abby had gone to investigate a nearby ice cream truck, and Emily quickly dragged Matt off in the direction of the lake. Becker stayed with Jess but didn't say anything, looking oddly tense. Jess rolled her eyes at the sight of him surveying the area like he was looking for the quickest escape routes, and flopped down onto the grass to start sorting out the food.
"Aren't you going to put the food on the blanket?" Becker asked out of nowhere.
Jess peered up at him. She couldn't see his eyes, being hidden behind his aviator sunglasses, but he had stepped closer to her and was frowning slightly.
"Of course," Jess replied.
"So why are you sitting on the grass?"
Jess gave him a nonplussed look. "Because if I'm on the blanket there's no room for the food," she said.
"You're hardly gonna take up the whole blanket, Jess," Becker said.
It was Jess' turn to frown. "Why does it matter?" She asked him.
"It doesn't matter... but we brought the blankets for ourselves to sit on as well as the food," he said. "And you'll get dirt on your dress if you sit on the grass."
Jess stared at him in silence for a moment. She didn't think for one second that he was actually worried about the state of her dress (though it was a super-cute new pink strappy sun dress, and maybe he did have a point about the dirt) but he was clearly agitated about something, so instead of arguing she crawled onto the blanket. She made sure to give him a sardonic look once she was settled, though.
Becker nodded, but didn't look it. "Yep."
"Who knew you were such a picnic Nazi?"
Becker just sat down on the other side of the blanket, not saying anything.
"Maybe that's why you didn't want to come today- you were worried your secret radical picnic fundamentalism would be on show," Jess said as she started putting out paper plates and tubs of food.
"I never said I didn't want to come," Becker protested mildly. "I just wanted to do something else."
"I can't believe you wanted to be inside on a beautiful day like today," Jess said.
Becker shrugged, not rising to the bait.
Jess smirked. "You need to embrace nature, Becker," she said teasingly. "The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the bees are buzzing..."
"Where are the bees?" Becker demanded.
Jess blinked at him in surprise before laughing suddenly. "It's just a turn of speech, Becker," she said.
Jess tilted her head and gave Becker a curious look. "Are you scared of bees?"
She couldn't tell because of the sunglasses, but she was pretty sure Becker was glaring at her. "No," he said. "Are you?"
"Nope," Jess said. "I think they're kind of cute."
"You're not allergic to them?"
"Only a little bit - I was stung when I was ten and all that happened was my arm swelled up."
Jess smiled at Becker but he was looking grumpier than ever. She sighed and went back to unpacking the food. Sometimes she just really didn't understand Becker. She'd thought she was making progress with him the last couple of months... ever since her allergic reaction, actually. He'd been so sweet during the ordeal, and though he rarely spoke about it, presumably not wanting to let any cracks show in his tough guy facade, their relationship had definitely shifted since then. There was something... unspoken between them now, and Jess no longer thought she was imagining things when he seemed to be flirting with her. Of course immediately after the Bug Incident as they all referred to it, everything had gotten completely crazy with Phillip and New Dawn. A near-apocalypse left little time for starting a new relationship. Everything was back to normal now (as normal as it ever got at the ARC, anyway) and Jess had thought they were on the verge of something.
Right now, though, she wasn't so sure.
Luckily Connor and Abby came back just then with ice creams for them all, and Jess was able to think of other things than the mysterious Captain Becker.
It was hard to ignore the way he kept flinching, though, and he seemed to be... hovering, shadowing Jess wherever she went It wasn't until a few hours later that she realised what he was doing.
He was very vigilant about stopping ants getting onto their blanket - fair enough - but seriously, it was a picnic: there was bound to be ants. The few bees that did venture near them had to face his wrath; he was ruthless in dealing with them. Jess had learnt long ago that the best way to deal with bees was to stay as still as possible, but Becker went for the kill. Jess could swear she saw his hands twitching for a gun.
It was the flying beetle that landed on the edge of the blanket that clued Jess into his behaviour. She jumped at the sight of the beetle and cringed away from it - she knew it probably wouldn't try to hurt her, but she still didn't like them. Becker, though, was on his feet in a flash. He kind of grabbed her hand as he stood up, as though he were about to pull her up with him, but instead he slammed his foot down on top of the beetle in a completely unnecessary show of aggression.
Jess stared up at him, realisation dawning. "Oh my god," she said.
Becker looked down at her, his eyes widening as he realised what he'd just done. He quickly schooled his expression into an innocent one. "What?"
Becker was still holding her hand; she tightened her grip and used his hand to help her jump to her feet.
"You think I'm going to get bitten!" She exclaimed gleefully. "That's why you didn't want to come to the park - that's why you're in a mood!"
Jess was aware of the others watching with interest and she tried to look less smug, but it was difficult when Becker started blushing.
"I'm not in a mood," Becker said sullenly.
Jess laughed. "I'm right, aren't I?"
Becker sighed. "I think I'm allowed to be worried, after what happened last time," he said.
Jess had to fight the urge to grab his stupid, perfect face in her hands and kiss him. Instead, she sat back down, pulling him down with her by their entwined hands. They ended up kneeling on the blanket, facing each other. Becker gave her a slightly worried look, and Jess smiled.
"Becker, leaving aside the fact that there isn't really anything around here that will want to bite me, if anything did it would probably be a ladybird... which would give me a slightly itchy arm," she told him.
Becker didn't look too convinced.
"Seriously, that time in the ARC was the worst reaction I've ever had by miles, and I don't think there are any swarms of future bugs around here," she said. She smiled again. "Also, I have an epipen in my bag, just in case."
That got Becker's attention, and he immediately looked more relaxed. Jess gave in to temptation and leant forward to kiss him, but only on the cheek.
She grinned as she sat back, and jumped to her feet. "Come on," she said to Becker, who was looking slightly stunned. He stood up as well, though, and followed her as she started to walk away.
"Where are we going?" Becker asked.
"Well you've been annoying me all day for fear of ants and bees, so I think the least you can do is row me around on the lake for an hour," Jess said.
Becker stared at her for a moment, and Jess worried that she was pushing him too far too soon. But after a moment he turned back to the blanket and grabbed the massive pink beach bag she'd brought with her.
"There'll be loads of bugs on the lake," he said by way of an explanation.
Jess shook her head, smiling, and held out her hand for the bag. Instead of handing it to her, though, Becker slung it over his own shoulder and reached out and took her proffered hand in his.
Jess' cool vanished and she felt her cheeks heat up at the simple action. Becker gave her a soft smile, and she returned it.
"Sorry," he said.
Jess' smile widened. "I'm sure I can forgive you for trying to look after me," she said.
"Oh, not for that," Becker said as they started walking towards the lake. "I'm a terrible rower, you're going to get soaked."
Jess laughed and Becker pulled her closer to his side as they kept walking.