Pairing/s: Becker / Matt
Word Count: 100 x 18
Notes: For primeval100: challenge 250: Past challenges
Using prompts: 86- Tis the Season, 84- Deck the Halls, 33- Christmas Tree, 40- Dialogue, 115- Parents, 45- The ARC, 124- Legacy, 140- Trains, Planes and Automobiles, 67- Picture Prompt = Yorkshire dales, 64- The Future, 110- Big Brother, 71- Family, 29- Kindness, 127- Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, 151- Trapped, 145- Romance, 36- Duck, 14- A quiet night in
It seemed the Christmas Fever had hit everyone; he couldn’t go anywhere without hearing Christmas music, or seeing streamers and tinsel and twinkling fairy lights. The television schedules were packed with festive films with families and celebrations and it did was remind him that he couldn’t have that. His dad, the last link with his family, had passed away, leaving him with no one.
Added to that the fact that anomalies and dinosaurs didn’t care what time of year it was, meant that someone had to work and, having nothing else to do, Matt thought he might as well volunteer.
The ARC looked like an explosion in a Christmas decoration factory, he thought as he looked around. Lester had relented and allowed Connor to put up a few decorations after weeks of being nagged, but it seemed that his and Connor’s definitions of ‘a few’ differed greatly.
“Hideous, isn’t it?” Becker asked, coming to stand beside him. “He tried to decorate my office too but I put a stop to that straight away.”
A thought struck Matt. “He didn’t touch my office, did he?”
Becker nodded. “Sorry, but he’d snuck in before I realised. It’s not too bad,” he said.
Matt stood in the doorway and heaved a sigh of relief. In the middle of his office was a single addition; a green Christmas tree with white fairy lights on it had been stood in the corner of his office. It was actually kind of pretty, he thought, not that he’d admit that to Connor. And fairly restrained, given the rest of the ARC.
Then he noticed the robins. There were little feathered models stuck into the pots of his plants, making it look like they were sitting in among the leaves.
“That’s it, right?” he asked hopefully.
Matt paused outside Becker’s office door.
“Mum, I don’t know if I can get the time off- Yes, I’ll ask but even then, I could be on call.”
There was a sigh.
“Fine. Yes, mum, I’ll be there. Hang on, who told you I’d been seeing someone? Bloody Piers- sorry mum, I didn’t mean to swear. But I don’t know if he’d want to come. No, I’m not saying I don’t want him to meet you. Okay, okay, I’ll ask and I’ll call you back later. Mum, I’m at work; I’ve got to go.”
He went inside. “Dare I ask?”
Becker glared at his phone. “My mother wants me to go for Christmas. My Aunt Jean has this huge house in the Yorkshire Dales and so everyone is staying there, the whole family.”
Seeing Matt’s amused look, he added, “She wants you to go too. You can say no if you want to- believe me, I would if I could.”
Matt laughed. “I can’t believe you’re scared of your mum.”
“I’m not.” Becker sighed. “I’d better go and ask Lester for the time off.”
“See if he can spare me too,” Matt said. “I’ll go with you, if you want.”
“Why don’t you want to go?” Matt asked as he and Becker headed for Lester’s office.
“It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with them, it’s just that they keep asking about my job, and am I dating anyone, and why don’t I go see them more often?” He shrugged his shoulders. “What am I meant to say? Sorry mum, I was planning to come over last weekend but I was chasing a Pterodactyl around a shopping centre. I can’t tell them about the ARC. And what business is it of anyone else if I’ve got a boyfriend?”
“So they’re not bothered that you’re into blokes, then?”
Becker shook his head. “It took them a while, but no, they’re not any more. I think my mum would have liked me to have kids, give her grandchildren, but she’s okay with it now. Unfortunately, that means they’re relying on my brother to carry on the Becker name.” He smiled. “Piers’ track record with women is about the same as Connor’s so it’s not looking very promising at the moment.”
Becker looked over at Matt. “It will be fine. My mum is going to love you, so don’t worry.”
Matt sat in the car and looked out of the window as they left the motorway, going onto smaller roads. They had been travelling for a while now, and he’d had enough. Becker had called his mum to let her know that he would be going, and that Matt would be coming too, but now that Matt was actually in the car, on the way there, he was wondering if he’d made the right choice. Half of him wanted to turn around and go home again.
What if they didn’t like him? He’d never had to meet anyone’s parents before.
The landscape outside the car changed from streets and houses and shops to open countryside. The Yorkshire Moors stretched out as far as the eye could see, the small villages they passed through becoming fewer and further between. It reminded Matt of home in some ways- the windswept, open spaces- only this place lived. Heather grew everywhere and small thorny bushes lined the edges of the road. Sheep were dotted about, chewing their way through the grass that grew in among the heather, barbed wire fences doing very little to keep them where they should be.
Here, there was life.
“Are you ok?” Becker asked, pulling the car into the driveway of a huge house.
Matt nodded. “Just thinking how this place reminds me of home,” he said. “It’s nothing like where I grew up but there’s just something about it.”
“Do you miss it?”
“Hell no. I wouldn’t go back there for anything,” he told Becker. “I do miss my father, though. He was the only family I had.”
Becker unclipped his seatbelt and leaned over to kiss Matt. “You’ve got me now, and the team.”
Matt smiled, running his fingers into Becker’s hair as he kissed him back.
“Oh God, my eyes! I did not need to see my big brother snogging his boyfriend in the yard!” someone announced loudly, knocking on the window.
Becker pulled away and, without even looking back, said, “And that would be Piers. I hate my brother sometimes.”
Matt laughed and got out of the car, going around to the driver’s side. Beside Becker was a man in his early twenties, the pair strikingly similar except that Piers wore wire framed glasses. When he saw Matt approach, he stuck out his hand.
“Hi, I’m Piers. I’ll introduce myself since Mr Grumpy hasn’t bothered.”
Inside, Becker had barely got through the door when a woman came hurrying in from the lounge, pulling him in for a tight hug.
“Hilary, you made it!”
Becker hugged her back. “I said I would. This is Matt. Matt, meet my mum, Sylvia.”
Matt held out his hand but she dismissed that idea with a wave of her hand and gave him a hug instead.
“Come and say hello to everyone; Piers can take your bags up to your room, can’t you Piers?”
Piers didn’t look particularly happy, but apparently Becker wasn’t the only one scared of his mum.
Matt was hugged, had his hand shaken, and his cheek pinched at least once as a variety of aunts, uncles and grandparents and cousins greeted him in the lounge. Becker’s father, a tall, imposing man, welcomed him before Matt was swept away by Sylvia.
“Thank you,” he told Sylvia as she got him a cup of tea. “It was very kind of you to invite me.”
She smiled. “Hilary said you didn’t have family here, and no one should be on their own at Christmas. Besides, I wanted to meet you and I knew Hilary would be stubborn about it.”
“You know, when I was a girl, we didn’t have all these fancy presents,” Becker’s Gran was telling Matt. “That was during the War, and we were still being rationed, you know. We’d always get a brand new shiny sixpence and a Satsuma in our stocking, though. You couldn’t get Satsumas like you can nowadays.” She looked Matt over. “You young ones don’t know how easy you’ve got it now.”
Actually, I do, Matt thought, tempted to tell her that the place he had grown up would have made wartime Britain seem like paradise. At least they weren’t being hunted.
Becker managed to rescue Matt from his Gran half an hour later, escaping to their room under the guise of being tired after their long drive up here. His mum nodded, but Becker was sure she knew his real reason for getting away.
As soon as their bedroom door closed behind them, he let out a sigh of relief.
“Peace and quiet at last! I love my family, I do, but only in small doses.”
Matt laughed. “I like them.”
“See if you still say that when you’ve been trapped here with them for the next five days,” Becker replied.
Christmas day arrived and the family gathered around the two tables that had been set up in the dining room. Crackers were pulled and party hats donned, much to Matt’s amusement. The look on Becker’s face when he put the paper hat on his head was priceless.
“Laugh, and you’re sleeping on the sofa,” he threatened.
Matt grinned. “You look adorable.”
Beside him, Piers overheard and made a gagging sound, quickly followed by smack to the back of his head from his Aunt.
“Be quiet; it’s sweet.”
Embarrassed to realise that they were all watching him and Matt, Becker blushed.
Matt held out his plate when instructed as Alexander, Becker’s father, loaded sliced meat onto it.
“I thought turkey was traditional at Christmas?” he asked Becker in a low voice. Not that he was complaining; this was much better.
“We always have duck for Christmas dinner,” Becker told him. “Aunt Jean keeps a few animals, even though this isn’t a working farm.”
“And every year we have a couple of my ducks,” Jean finished. “All free range, not like some of those shop-bought turkeys.”
“It’s really tasty,” Matt said, making Jean smile proudly.
“This is the best Christmas I’ve had.”
Becker unlocked his house door and let Matt inside, closing it behind them.
“Thank you for this week,” he said, dropping his bags and pulling Matt in for a kiss.
Matt smiled. “I enjoyed myself; I’ve never had the big family Christmas before. It was fun,” he said. “I’m starting to see why you prefer them in small doses, though.”
“Told you. I’m glad you came with me, though.”
“How about we leave the unpacking until tomorrow and have a quiet night in?” Matt suggested. “Seems ages since we’ve had any time to ourselves.”
“I like the sound of that.”