Jess' eyes opened slowly, and Becker felt like he could finally breathe normally again.

"Hey," he said softly, giving her cold hand a squeeze. She smiled at him, just as he'd been silently willing her to for the past ten minutes, and for a moment it was as though they were the only two people in the room. That moment passed swiftly, however, and Becker could feel the knowing gazes of four other people. He released Jess' hand, embarrassed at the fact that they had an audience.

"I'm, um... I'm gonna, um... I'm gonna go do some security... stuff," he said, gesturing vaguely, and headed for the door as fast as his legs could carry him. Once outside the panic room's outer doors, he leaned against the concrete wall, trying to regain some measure of self-control. And any dignity left to him after that moment of embarrassing verbal pyrotechnics.

He always did this. Whenever an emotionally stressful situation cropped up, an alarm went off in his head, shouting, 'Escape and evade, Becker! Escape and evade.' He was a simple man. He liked his guns, shooting things, punching the occasional cloned bad guy. He didn't do 'feelings.' He slid down the wall until he was sitting on the concrete floor, arms resting on his knees. God, I am an idiot.


Jess wasn't sure at first if she was dreaming. She'd had this particular one often enough - near death experience, Becker to the rescue, waking up to find him holding her hand. But she realized it was real when the aches all over her body began clamoring for attention. She ignored them, and smiled at the look of intense relief in Becker's eyes. It was in that moment, seeing that look, that Jess realized something. He cares. A lot. Becker was very protective of the members of his team, it was part of his job. And Jess sometimes wondered if she was reading too much into his actions, if he was simply protecting her as he did the others. But that look was different; that look said that she'd given him back the world just by opening her eyes. She smiled at the thought, hoping it wasn't just the medication.

Then the moment ended, and Becker bolted like he always did. Jess sighed as the double doors swung closed behind him. Typical Becker - avoid emotions at any cost.

Abby and Emily were fussing over her like a pair of mother hens, and Jess let them for a few minutes, only defying them by sitting up. She was still cold, and wrapped the jacket on her legs around her, pushing her arms through the sleeves. Finally, she'd had enough of the babying of her two friends. She stood slowly, shaking off the outstretched arms of Abby, Matt, and Connor. She told them that she just wanted to stretch her legs, and she wouldn't go far. The medics were already on their way, and she was fine now that she'd gotten the adrenaline she needed.

"At least take off those shoes," Connor said, eyeing her heels dubiously.

"That would completely throw off my balance," she replied with a grin.

Promising yet again that she wouldn't go far, Jess walked out of the panic room's doors. She could feel four pair of eyes following her, and knew that they were all smirking. They knew where she was going - to find Captain Commitment-phobe himself.


Jess found him just outside the panic room, sitting up against the wall, his arms folded on his knees. He looked up, surprised, at the sight of her. She walked over to sit down beside him, so that he was between her and the automated steel doors. She slid slowly down the wall before plopping unceremoniously onto the floor next to him, her legs splayed out before her. Becker didn't say anything, and Jess began to worry that she might've said something horrible while she was in anaphylactic shock.

She didn't remember much of what happened after they left the medical bay, heading to the loading dock. She remembered lying in the backseat of a car, and there were more beetles crawling on her, and she was screaming, trying to get them off. Then Becker was there, and he made them disappear. She remembered the feel of his arm under her cheek; he was so warm, and she'd been freezing, shivering as he held her.

"Shouldn't you be resting?" Becker finally asked, not looking at her.

"Shouldn't you be off doing some 'security stuff'?" she replied, and could've sworn a faint blush tinged his cheek. "They all kept fussing over me, I just wanted to get away for a bit."

"Fair enough," he said, chuckling.

She laughed with him, then cringed at a rather embarrassing memory - she'd told Becker he had lovely hair. She must have made some small sound, because Becker was looking at her with concern.

"You alright?"

"Yeah," she said sheepishly. "Just remembering a few things I'd like to forget I ever said."

"Like what?"

She hesitated, then thought, What the hell. "Did I really tell you that you have lovely hair?"

He burst out laughing and nodded.

"Oh God."

She covered her face with one hand, shaking her head. Becker put his arm around her, and she leaned into his shoulder, joining in his laughter; it was infectious. He looked down at her, still chuckling, and she grinned up at him, their faces inches apart. He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers, the kiss soft and undemanding at first.

Jess didn't know if it was the adrenaline - both natural in Becker's case, and medicinal in hers - but, faster than she should have been able to move so soon after an allergic reaction, she found her way onto Becker's lap, his hand inside her jacket on the small of her back, holding her against him. Her skirt was rather short, so she found herself sitting sideways across his lap, her fingers threading themselves through his 'lovely' hair as his lips moved to her jawline. She was delighted by his reaction, every cell in her body desperate for more, when suddenly she felt his hands grip her upper arms.


Jess had been grinning up at him, and all he could think of was how close he came to losing that grin, to losing her. Before he was fully aware of what was happening, she was in his arms. He'd held her this way before, less than a hour ago, when they first entered the panic room. He'd sat on the ground, holding her in his arms, her head tucked into the crook of his neck. This was definitely better. But then the honorable, 'don't take advantage of the drugged girl you have a crush on' part of his brain took over.

"Adrenaline," he said, rather loudly, gripping her shoulders and holding her at arm's length.

"What?" she asked, her brow creased in a frown of confusion.

"You know..." How did she always manage to make him incapable of forming a complete sentence? "You might not be feeling... yourself..."

Jess rolled her eyes, shaking off his death grip on her shoulders.

"Will you stop being so painfully chivalrous and shut up, please?" she said sweetly, wrapping her arms around his neck.

The medics chose that exact moment to show up. They didn't know how extremely lucky they were that Becker didn't have a weapon within reach.