Warning: Violence, suicidal thoughts, character death
A/N: Written for the "Just Kiss Her Already" drabble tag and the prompt 'Becker comes back from a mission where he was forced to go through an anomaly to find that Jess' presence at the ARC has been erased a la Claudia Brown. No one remembers her at all - he's the only one'.
A/N #2: This is my first Becker/Jess story. I didn't plan for it to be this dark and angsty but the prompt run away with my muse. There is however a happy ending. Sort of.
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money with this piece. I just do it for goes after Jenkins.
His man. His responsibility. No discussion.
Becker knows Matt doesn't like it any more than he does but they have no choice and with the EMD ready and set to the highest level, he steps into the swirling gold.
He finds Jenkins dead, killed by the raptor, but at least his man managed to kill the creature as well, if the knife in its throat is any indication.
With a heavy sigh, Becker begins to drag Jenkins towards the anomaly.
There's nothing he can do, except bringing him home.
Once back in his time, he calls for Jess to inform Lester of Jenkins' unfortunate demise but he receives no answer and when he raises his eyes to the rest of his team, he's met with confused stares.
"Mate, who's Jess?"
To Becker it feels like he's been hit with the EMD all over again.
And the clock starts ticking.
He's pacing like a caged animal in Lester's office, hands balled to fists, as he listens to the lot of them talking, talking and talking about the 'incident' (their words, not his) but none of them comes up with a way to resolve the situation, to get Jess back.
It's driving him mad.
"What are we going to do?" Time to take matters in his own hands. That's where Jess has been the safest anyway.
Lester steeples his fingers and gives him one of those looks. "We, Captain, are going to do nothing."
"You see, Miss... Parker, does not exist here."
Ice seeps through his skin, blood's rushing in his ears and Becker fights the powerful urge to destroy something.
"I am sorry but we seem to have a similar incident on our hands that Mr Cutter experien-"
Slamming his hands on the table, he leans forward until he's right in Lester's face, eyes burning, lips twisted into a snarl. "Jess is no bloody incident. She is a person." Becker has to give it to Lester. That man doesn't even raises an eyebrow at his outburst.
"Captain, control yourself. While I cannot understand what you must be feeling right now, I insist that you remain calm."
Forcefully Becker pushes away from the table and, without another word, leaves the room. The tension in his shoulders speaks volumes.
"Maybe Miss Parker is simply another person in this time," Lester calls after him.
In the elevator Becker gives in and hits the wall with his fist, welcoming the flare of pain, hot and searing.
He doesn't want a maybe-person.
"Jess Parker. At your service."
"You're...you're the field coordinator?"
Who he wants is Jess.
Sitting at the computer in his office, he thinks back to another time. After several failed attempts to work with the ADD and not against it, he had asked Jess for help. It had been the first time in months he had smiled again. All because of her.
"No, no," she laughs and he hits the wrong key again just to hear it once more. "Stop it, you are doing that on purpose!"
"Am I?" The smirk belies his innocent look and the half-hearted glare Jess gives him just serves to amuse him further.
"You do not fool me, Captain."
She rolls her eyes and turns back to the screen. "Alright. Where were we? Ah, yes, see? It has to be Ctrl not Alt. Otherwise the tab won't open and you can't type in the name of the person you are trying to find."
He shakes the memory off. Once he has found her, he will hear her laughing again.
But searching her name ends with no results, nothing, and so he tries her parents' names.
This time he gets a direct hit.
A faint glimmer of hope blooms in his chest. Claudia Brown's existence had been erased completely, not even her parents existed, but if Jess' father and mother are alive, maybe so is she.
Opening the files, Becker eagerly scrolls down but stops midway.
Jane Parker is dead.
Died a year before Jess was supposed to be born.
He stares at the screen, the bold red letters, and his hope shatters like glass.
No. Please. God, no..
Becker doesn't realizes he has crushed the mouse under his hand until the jagged pieces cut into his palm, thick blood welling up.
The physical pain is nothing against the one he feels in his soul.
Five days go by, then nine, two weeks, and yet he never gives up hope.
Hopes for an anomaly that leads to the fateful day in the past, even though he knows it's a delusive belief, knows deep in his heart that the chances are minimal, close to non-existent, but waking up every day in this time where Jess does not exist, living with the knowledge that she had been alive once, could be again, overrides any rational thought.
If his friends knew what's going on in his mind, they would call him mad and Lester would remove him from active duty faster than you could say 'anomaly'.
Instead Becker keeps his thoughts to himself, pretends he has overcome his 'experience', is no longer distracted by it, and moved on.
Sometimes it works but most of the time...
It's been over a month, and Becker feels the strain of pretending. It takes considerable effort and every day is harder than the previous, every day he loses himself more and more in the memory of Jess.
He's living in limbo.
He buys chocolate after a successful crisis-averted operation, doesn't even notice the confused glances of his men, walks to the ADD with the words (You are brilliant.) on his lips, but the moment he stands there, he remembers.
It drives him to the brink of sanity and later that day, he drills his men relentlessly. Again and again.
His second-in, Cooper, takes him aside, tells him to stop chasing a bloody ghost and get laid.
Becker almost breaks his nose.
That night he finally admits to himself what his heart knew all along.
He is (was, will be forever) in love with Jess.
He is being shadowed by Lester's 'puppies' as he calls them, a cynical sneer curling his lips whenever he catches sight of them.
Bloody bastard knows that Becker's still the best, even if his mental condition is questionable, and Lester cannot afford losing him.
And so he's under observation but Becker doesn't really care.
He does his job, gives reports, plays the good little soldier and goes home. Alone.
There he breaks down, comes undone every night, wishing for someone who never was here.
It's day sixty-five and he starts to avoid mirrors.
The moment he looks into them, he sees Jess' reflection standing behind him, smiling, holding out her hand, reaching for him, but as soon as he spins around, she's gone.
Connor comments on his dishevelled clothes and rough appearance, his five o'clock shadow going five days, but Becker doesn't hear him.
In his mind he's back in his bathroom and watches himself smashing the mirror with a cry that sounds more like it's coming from a wounded animal than a human.
He's adrift in the dark.
On day seventy-three Abby offers him a fortunate cookie, telling him with one of her sunny smiles that he needs to eat more.
"I thought you might be hungry. I hope you like Chinese?"
"Jessica, this is a stakeout."
"You still have to eat."
It takes all of his self-control to not strangle Abby.
Thanking her, nearly choking on the words, Becker breaks the cookie apart.
'You never know what you had until it's gone.'
He is not sure but he thinks that it might be the day he fell over the edge.
Fate can't be this cruel.
Or can it?
The day Becker begins to accept the fact that he's going insane (maybe already is lost to madness) is the eighty-sixth day of living in a time in which Jess never walked, laughed, cried, smiled. Hugged him.
He sits on his bed, watching and yet not really seeing the sunrise, the colourful display of reds and golds, and he feels the tips of her fingers grazing his shoulder, flaming hot, burning a trail of fire across his sweaty but cold skin.
She caresses the back of his neck, nails scraping over sensitive skin, and he arches into her touch, moaning softly.
His name is a whisper on the rays of sunlight and it's enough to snap him out of his trance.
A world that does not have Jess in it is not worth living in but who is going to remember her if he's gone?
He can't let her down.
Carefully he places his gun back on the bedside table.
The ghost of warm lips press a loving kiss to his temple and phantom fingers brush with a feather-light touch strands of hair out of his face.
"You have lovely hair..."
Becker is pretending to check the armoury when the anomaly alert blares.
Like so many times before (fifty-nine) he drops everything and is one of the first at the ADD.
"Where is it, Connor?"
"You won't believe it but it's here, in the ARC. Corridor Delta."
Lester steps up next to him, hands clasped behind his back, eyeing the stream of data on the screen with genuine interest.
"It's unstable, probably going to close in the next five, ten minutes, nothing to worry about."
"Ah, I mean, it's actually leading to our time. Sort of. It's the day Becker went to get Jenkins."
He is up and gone before Lester can call security to contain him.
There is just one thought running through his mind.
He can change things.
He can bring Jess back.
The counter reaches one hundred days.
Once he is through and the anomaly closes behind him, he feels grounded for the first time in weeks.
The corridor is the same as the one he just came from, dark and poorly lit, but the atmosphere is different.
The click-clack of heels echoes in the otherwise silent hallway and it's the one sound Becker never thought he would hear again. Jess is everything he remembers, from her bright purple shoes, her green skirt and blouse, to her beautiful face, her smile brightening at the sight of him.
With two long strides he's in front of her, closer than he has ever been before, and Jess stumbles back, clearly puzzled by his action.
"What are-" is as far she gets. He takes her face between his scarred hands and kisses her, hard, desperate, needy, swallowing her surprised sigh as her lips part in shock. Groaning, he deepens the kiss and watches under hooded lids as she surrenders to him, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck, raising up on her toes to return his embrace with equal fervour.
"What the-? Hey, let her go!"
Startled Jess breaks away and stares at him, eyes glazed by desire for a moment before it changes into bewilderment and her gaze darts between his shadowed face and that of his younger self. With a certain sense of satisfaction he notes that she doesn't step back, just leans away from him, trying to take a proper look at him.
"I said, let her go." Becker ignores the other man. Instead he follows the movement of Jess' tongue, peeking out to lick at her lips, swollen and glistening in the faint light. Her breath hitches as he traces her bottom lip with his thumb, brushing against it and with a ragged sigh he dips his head down, pulling her close again. She comes willingly and his lips have barely touched hers when an EMD is pressed against the side of his head.
"I. Don't. Think. So." At the sound of his younger self's voice, sharp-edged and icy, Jess jerks free (Becker misses her warmth instantly), eyes widening as they focus on the other man holding him at gunpoint.
"Who are you?" Ah, his younger self's protective (and slightly possessive) instincts have kicked in and Becker can't resist smirking as he slowly turns to the side, the dim light finally revealing his face. Beside him Jess gasps and from the corner of his eyes he sees her hand flying to her mouth, her other hand twitching as if she wants to touch him.
"Jess." Definitely possessive. His smirk grows at the other man's discomfort but there isn't much time left and if he wants to change the past, he has to act now.
Using his younger self's focus on Jess to his advantage, Becker knocks the EMD out of his hand, grasps him by the vest and slams him up against the wall. He hears Jess stifling another cry and though it pains him to cause her distress, Becker tightens his hold on the other man as he tries to knee him.
"Stop and be silent," he orders, his voice gravelly and low. "Or Jess will die." That gets his younger self's attention and he ceases his struggle immediately, even though he keeps glaring at him. But underneath it, there is a brief flash of profound pain, so very familiar that Becker's own gaze darkens in response to it. Next to them Jess blindly gropes at the wall before sagging against it and Becker wants nothing more than to reach for her, soothe her, hold her in his arms again, but he can't. Time is short.
As Becker removes the other man's comm, he feels him tense and raises an eyebrow in warning. Fortunately his younger self recognizes the gestures for what it is and remains still.
"Cooper. Tell your men there's a raptor is on the other side of the anomaly."
"It will come through and try to take one of you. Be prepared and stun it on sight."
Seconds go by, stretching into minutes. Becker senses the growing restlessness in the other man but he had a hundred days to learn how to deal with waiting and he shifts slightly, putting more pressure on his younger self's chest.
Sir? We got it. It's back in its own time and the anomaly is locked. No casualties.
The words alone mean he has done it but Becker needs prove, needs to see that it worked with his own eyes, needs...
And there she is, watching him with a mix of worry and apprehension on her face. Real, not a figment of his mad mind. He starts to feel light-headed.
His grip slackens on the other man's vest and Becker staggers backwards, all but collapsing against the opposite wall, the comm dropping from his limp hand. He cries out hoarsely as a hot-white something crushes his mind.
"Becker!" Sweet, kind Jess starts towards him but his younger self intercepts her, wraps an arm around her waist and draws her to him with a gentle but firm tug.
"There is nothing we can do, Jess."
"He-he's right." Blazing pain cuts into his flesh again. "My ti-time is up." His back arches, almost to the point of snapping.
He's slipping into the abyss of time but he grits his teeth, fighting to stay conscious. It takes considerable effort but he manages to catch the other man's eyes. "Don't...bugger...this...sec-second...chance." His younger self straightens up, nodding sharply, and Becker's lips curl into a faint smile as the arm holding Jess slips further around her waist, anchoring her to the other man's side.
"Jess..." There's one last thing Becker needs to tell her.
Brilliant whiteness blinds him.
"Jess, you are alright now. I am here."
- END -