So, I've decided to carry on with this story – though it's not going to be a continual story so much as a set of related oneshots. At the moment I have ideas for about eight onehsots, all to do with Becker and Jess and the build-up to Connor and Abby's wedding. Some will be longer than others, and this one's quite a short one.
The Wedding Planner – Lace
Two weeks after convergence, Connor and Becker started going jogging again. It was something that had started a couple of years before, back when Becker first started working at the ARC. It might seem a bit strange to some people, but the logic ran thusly: Becker's job was to keep the team safe – this was easier if the team were alert and fit in the field – this meant, for some, advanced weapons training and even hand-to-hand combat training – for Connor, it meant being fit enough to run away from things quickly… hence taking him jogging as often as possible.
So, every Saturday morning (that they weren't required in work for something), Becker would jog round to Connor and Abby's flat, pick up Connor, force him to jog about five miles or so, and then drop him back off before jogging the rest of the way home. They hadn't been jogging together since Connor and Abby had got back from the Cretaceous, but Becker was much more comfortable with Connor's abilities in the field these days so he didn't worry about it.
Surprisingly, it was Connor that suggested going jogging again. Becker knew he was suggesting it as more of a bonding exercise than an exercise exercise, but he actually didn't mind that. He was going to be his best man, after all.
So, they went jogging. It was just like old times, except that Connor kept trying to sprint instead of jog, thereby wearing himself out every five minutes, and the distance between Becker's flat and Jess' flat was about two miles as opposed to the half a mile it used to be to Abby's old flat.
It wasn't really a problem, but after jogging two miles to the flat and five miles with Connor, he wasn't really in the mood to jog another two miles home. So he was quite tempted when Connor invited him in.
"No, definitely come up – I can show you the ring," Connor insisted.
"Ring?" Becker said. "You bought a ring?"
Connor nodded, grinning. "Yep, and Abby's not here so I can show it to you," he said. "But you can't tell her about it. It's her birthday on Tuesday and I'm going to give it to her then at dinner."
By this time they were trudging up the stairs to the first floor.
"Why are you keeping it a secret?" Becker asked as they reached the front door of the flat. "You're already engaged, why don't you go and pick a ring together?"
Connor shrugged. "Because... I don't know – I didn't get to propose... and I don't mind that, because let's face it I probably would have messed it up, but I still wanted to pick out a ring, and surprise her with it." He gave Becker a sheepish look as his rambling came to a halt. "You know?"
Becker hid a smile as they entered the flat. "I guess," he said. He raised his eyebrows at Connor. "So where is it then?"
"Oh, I had to hide it," Connor said, starting to walk towards the kitchen. "I was in the kitchen and Abby suddenly appeared out of nowhere."
Becker rolled his eyes and followed him. "Where did you hide it?"
"In the washing machine," Connor said, with a casualness that Becker felt was completely unwarranted.
"The washing machine?" Becker said incredulously.
Connor looked back at him, his face sheepish again. "Yeah... I panicked," he said.
"Connor!" Becker exclaimed. "It's probably got lost down a drain or something."
It was Connor's turn to roll his eyes, and he shook his head defensively. "I didn't put it in the top part, where it could fall down the pipes – it's in the drum," he said.
"Oh, well that's okay then," Becker said sarcastically.
"I didn't just chuck it in – I placed it down carefully," Connor said. Becker just raised an eyebrow, and Connor turned away. "It's fine," he said sullenly, starting towards the kitchen again.
Becker followed him again. "If you had time to carefully place it in the washing machine, why didn't you just hide it somewhere safer?" Becker asked him. "Or put it in your pocket?"
"I told you, I panicked!" Connor said. He stopped dead in the middle of the kitchen. He had his back to Becker, but the horror in his voice when he spoke again was all too clear. "Oh god."
Becker frowned. "What?"
"Oh god – no no no." Connor darted forward, and Becker hurried after him. He only needed to look for a split second before seeing what the problem was – Connor was hurrying over to the washing machine, which Becker could see was filled with clothes.
"I – she put on washing!" Connor exclaimed needlessly. He yanked open the door and fell to his knees in front of it. "Oh my god!"
Connor thrust his hands into the drum and pulled out the load of clothes, which Becker could see now was actually lady's underwear. The garments spilled across the tiled floor as Connor emptied the machine and felt around inside the drum for the ring.
He let out a groan when he didn't find anything, and started scrabbling through the underwear on the floor. "Help me look!"
"We need to look – it's not in there," Connor said wildly.
Becker sighed and crouched down next to him. "Connor, it's probably gone down one of the pipes or the drain or something," he said in what he hoped was a non-judgemental tone.
"No – it's probably caught on the lace on one of these," Connor said. Becker looked and saw that, as Connor said, almost every one of the garments on the floor had lace on it. "Come on, help me look!" Connor insisted, pausing in his frantic searching to glare at Becker for a moment.
Becker started to reach out for a pink lacy bra before pausing, feeling acutely uncomfortable all of a sudden. "I really don't think I should be going through Abby's underwear," he told Connor.
"This isn't Abby's, it's Jess'," Connor said absently, still searching.
"What?" Becker yelped.
Connor looked up at Becker and gave him a 'duh' look. "It's Jess'," he repeated. "Abby's doesn't have so much lace on it." He reached down and picked up a pair of silk knickers, and waved them under Becker's nose. "And she doesn't tend to go for butterfly prints."
"Give me that!" Becker snapped, grabbing the knickers off of Connor. He glanced down at them and saw they were purple silk with bright blue and pink butterflies of varying sizes all over them, edged in delicate ivory lace. A glance at the pile still on the floor confirmed that they were part of a matching bra set.
Becker tried very hard to banish the image his mind immediately conjured of Jess wearing said bra set, and forced himself to concentrate on the situation at hand. "We really shouldn't be going through Jess' underwear," he insisted.
"I need to find the ring!" Connor exclaimed, starting to look annoyed with him.
He couldn't. He just couldn't. He was not going to rifle through Jess' underwear. "But we – I can't – just be quick," he said, standing up and trying to distance himself.
"It would be quicker if you –"
"No," Becker cut him off.
Connor gave him an exasperated look before going back to his search. Becker tried to look elsewhere but found himself glancing back at the pile on the floor again and again. He was so annoyed – he found it difficult enough to concentrate around Jess these days, and now he just knew he'd be wondering which of these underwear sets she was wearing whenever she was next to him.
"I can't find it!" Connor moaned. He was a picture of anguish, leaning back on his heels with his hands in his hair… surrounded by Jess' underwear. He gave Becker a stricken look. "Oh god, what if it has gone down the –"
"Looking for this?"
Becker and Connor both looked round at the sound of the voice, to find Jess standing next to the breakfast bar. She smirked at Connor and held up a diamond ring.
"Jess! You found it!" Connor exclaimed, scrambling to his feet and running over to her. She handed him the ring, and he grabbed her into a bear hug.
Becker rolled his eyes but had to smile.
"I always check the drum before I use the washing machine these days," Jess said as Connor let go of her.
"You do?" Connor said.
Jess gave him a sardonic look. "Connor, you once left half a sandwich in your trouser pocket when you were washing them," she said drily.
Becker snorted, and Connor looked over his shoulder at him. He shrugged. "Combat trousers – big pockets," he said by way of an explanation. Becker nodded. Connor clenched his fist tight around the ring. "I'm gonna go get the box for this," he said. He grinned at Jess. "Thanks Jess."
Connor hurried out of the kitchen. Becker smiled at Jess and was about to make a joke about Connor and sandwiches when he noticed that she was smirking at him in a very disconcerting way.
"I don't think they're your colour," she said after a moment.
It took Becker a split second to realise what Jess was referring to, and another split second to start going red. "Oh god," he said. His hand tightened around the pair of knickers he still held, and Jess' smirk widened. "Um," he said stupidly. "Sorry." He held them out to her. "Here."
Jess was clearly on the verge of laughing as she took the knickers from him, and Becker knew he was visibly blushing. "Thanks," she said.
Connor was probably bringing the ring back right now, safe in its box, but Becker needed to get away from Jess, Jess' smirk, and Jess' underwear. He'd see the ring some other time.
"I'm gonna... go," he said awkwardly.
Jess just nodded and stepped to the side so he could get past her more easily. She looked utterly delighted at how uncomfortable he was, and he made a mental note to tease her about something on Monday to level the playing field again.
Until then, though…
"Bye bye," Jess said cheerfully.
Becker managed a small smile, and then walked straight out of the flat. He was suddenly very glad he had another two miles to run.