Pairing: Danny / Becker
Word Count: 4,254
Notes: For the primeval_denial Secret Santa, written for eriah211, and using the prompts ‘Danny/Becker’, ‘Airport’ and ‘They told me you were gone’.
Notes 2: Also fits the co-workers square on my Primeval Bingo card.
Becker heard the intruder alarms and swore under his breath as he hurried out of his office. He didn’t need to investigate; he knew exactly what, or rather who, had set them off. He was getting tired of this.
And, if his reckoning was correct, he needed to be right about here…
Becker stopped beside one of the waist-height ventilation ducts a few minutes walk along the corridor from his office. Moments later, the metal grille in the wall was pushed out and Danny slid out, landing at Becker’s feet. Got him! Becker thought. It had taken him a while, but he’d finally worked out Danny’s pattern; he was working his way through the ducts and access shafts systematically.
Grabbing the back of his jacket collar and hauling him to his feet, Becker felt a small amount of satisfaction at the surprised look on Danny’s face when he realised that Becker had been waiting for him.
“Ow! Get off me.”” Danny squirmed to get free of Becker’s grip and, with a sigh, Becker released him.
“This is the third time this week, Quinn. Would it kill you to just sit in your office and pretend to work like a normal person?” When Danny didn’t answer, Becker turned and left. Glancing back over his shoulder, he added, “No more exploring.”
For the next week Danny behaved himself, much to Becker’s relief. It was getting to the point where he dreaded the alarms sounding, knowing that it would mean yet another explanation to Lester. He was getting tired of being snapped at because he couldn’t control Danny. How the man had become his problem, he wasn’t sure; he was in charge of security, of both the ARC and the team, not a babysitter for an annoying ex-copper.
He was making his way back from the break room with a mug of tea, well-earned after a boring morning of looking through inventory reports and fending off Connor’s attempts to make his office more festive by adorning it with copious amounts of tinsel, when a blur caught his eye a split-second before Danny jumped of a side corridor. He had a huge smile on his face as he made a gun shape with his hands and shouted “Bang!”
Becker jumped and dropped his tea, the mug shattering on the floor as the liquid splashed onto his boots.
“Quinn, what the hell are you playing at?! If you’re deliberately trying to piss me off, you’re going the right way about it.”
Danny’s smile fell. “I was just having a laugh.”
“Well if you’re so bored that you feel the need to muck around, you can clean that up,” Becker told him, indicating to the puddle of tea and broken pottery on the floor before storming off down the corridor.
The following morning, Becker reached his office to see something on his desk: A black mug with a picture of a tank on it and a big red ribbon tied around the handle in a bow. A little card propped up against it read ‘sorry’.
“What’s that?” Abby asked leaning around him to look. “Early Christmas present?”
Becker shook his head. “I suspect it’s a peace-offering.”
“My last mug had a Quinn-related accident,” he explained. “I don’t know what that man’s problem is; if he’s not skulking around in the air conditioning ducts, he’s jumping out of corridors and scaring the crap out of me, making me drop my tea.”
“Oh for goodness sake… Men!” Abby muttered, shaking her head as she wandered back out of his office.
He frowned, wondering what exactly she meant by that comment, and the knowing smile that had curved her lips before she turned away. He was about to go and ask her when the anomaly detector alarms started wailing.
They had arrived about an hour ago, hurrying through the airport security checkpoint with a flash of their ARC credentials. Lester had already been told that having to close even a section of the airport like this, the weekend before Christmas, one of the busiest weekends of the year it had been stressed to him, was not acceptable, and so everyone was making it as easy as possible for them. As it happened, the anomaly wasn’t hard to find, nor was the lone creature that had emerged from it and had been merrily destroying the duty free shop when they arrived. Connor informed them what it was, as well as the full history of the species and a few fun facts, but Becker had tuned him out somewhere after ‘herbivore’ as that was all he really wanted to know. It also wasn’t the brightest of creatures. It liked the shiny bottles in the shop, which it then nosed at, knocking them off the shelf where they smashed on the floor. Each time, it jumped and screeched at the crashing sound or when it cut its feet by walking on the broken glass, before getting sidetracked by the shiny objects again and repeating the whole process.
Becker sighed; all he’d need was a piece of tin foil and the stupid thing would probably follow him back to the anomaly. It was just a shame he hadn’t brought some of the tinsel that Connor had managed to cover the entire ARC with, he thought. He could have got rid of that and the dinosaur at the same time by shoving them both through the anomaly.
As it turned out, they didn’t even need something to tempt it with. The animal was docile enough that they could simply herd it along; the biggest challenge was making sure it didn’t get distracted whenever it walked past anything that piqued its curiosity.
Becker waved a hand, silently signalling for Abby to circle around to the left as he and Connor began edging the creature back toward the anomaly. It seemed quite content to amble along in front of them, letting them herd it through the departure lounge. Luckily the area was deserted, the passengers cleared out by the quick-thinking security personnel as soon as the anomaly had appeared; they didn’t know what it was, but they knew it wasn’t going to result in anything good.
They were about twenty metres from the anomaly when Becker saw Danny come blundering in as he always did, rushing to the rescue whether it was needed or not.
The creature, startled by the sudden movement, reared up and let out a screech as it hurdled a luggage trolley that had been abandoned on the concourse by one of the frightened passengers. Suitcases were knocked off it and scattered across the floor when it jumped up onto it, turning, ready to pounce at Danny.
The idiot was going to get himself killed one of these days, Becker thought with a sigh before waving his arms to get the creature’s attention before it could leap. It’s concentration broken, the creature tried to turn around and lost its balance. As the creature fell off in an undignified, annoyed sprawl of limbs it kicked out, sending the trolley off in the opposite direction.
Becker was too busy trying to divert its attention to move out of the luggage trolley’s path in time. The metal trolley struck him hard, sending a searing pain down his shin and making his leg buckle underneath him. He fell, his injured leg failing to support him and the other tangling in the luggage trolley, he was unable to prevent his head connecting with the hard floor with a crack.
Bloody Quinn, he thought, and then the world went black.
Becker awoke to the sound of voices arguing in hushed tones and the disinfectant-y, clinical smell of hospitals that he’d become all too familiar with since joining the ARC. As he opened his eyes cautiously, wincing as the bright light sent a slice of pain through his head, the argument stopped.
“Becks, mate, you’re awake! Thank fuck for that!”
“Mr Quinn,” the nurse standing next to him scolded gently. “Language, please. Now move aside.”
The woman was nearly double his age and stood no higher than his shoulder, but Danny allowed himself to be reprimanded and then shunted out of the way. She checked Becker’s vitals, making a couple of notes on the chart next to his bed before telling him to rest.
“How long was I out?”
“According to your friends it was about ten minutes. We’re going to want to keep you in overnight,” the nurse informed him. “That was a pretty nasty knock to the head you got when you fell. You might have a concussion.”
“I’ve had enough of those in my time; I know what to do-”
“-and yet we’re still keeping you in for observation,” the nurse finished. “Anyway, that cast should slow you down a bit, just in case you were thinking of making a dash for the exit,” she told him, indicating to the rigid boot around his lower leg that he hadn’t even noticed until she mentioned it.
No wonder his head felt fuzzy, he thought. They must have given him some painkillers; he remembered how much his leg had hurt the last time he was awake, back at the airport, but now he could barely feel it.
She smiled. “It’s just a small fracture, Mr Becker, which is why you need to take it easy for a while.” She turned to leave before he could argue again.
That just left Danny. The other man moved back to the chair he’d been sitting in when Becker woke up.
“What the hell were you playing at?” Becker demanded, cutting him off. He tried to sit up but his head started pounding when he moved. “We had the situation under control until you came barging in and spooked the damn creature!”
“I thought I could help! I’m sorry, alright? I didn’t think-”
“You never do! You’re a liability when you keep pulling this action-man crap.”
“I said I was sorry! I never meant for anyone to get hurt, especially you.”
The nurse came back into the room and glared at them both, silencing them. “Gentlemen, I believe I said that Mr Becker was to rest. Resting means being quiet,” she informed them. “Now, any more commotion from you, Mr Quinn, and I’ll have to ask you to leave. Understood?”
Danny nodded, casting a wary glance at Becker. “Maybe I should go and let the others know that you’re okay,” he suggested.
Despite the fact he’d just woken up, Becker could feel his eyes starting to close again, sleep overtaking him. He felt a touch of fingers to the back of his hand.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can, okay?”
Becker awoke a couple of hours later, thankfully with his headache gone. This time, Danny wasn’t in his chair. Instead, the nurse was just letting herself in to check on him.
“I think that your friends took him to get something to eat,” the nurse said, following his gaze to the empty chair. “He’s been sitting here since you were brought in, wouldn’t leave,” she said.
“Well it was his fault I’m here in the first place,” Becker grumbled. When he saw the nurse’s expression, he realised how bad that sounded. “He didn’t knock me out, not intentionally, but it was still his fault.”
She smiled. “He was worried about you. So, how long have you been together?”
“Together? No! We’re not, I mean- he and I are colleagues. I don’t even think he likes me half of the time.”
“Nonsense,” she said, waving a hand dismissively when he protested again. “That young man is sweet on you, you mark my words.”
Becker was released from the hospital the following morning and grudgingly cleared to return to work. He still had the rigid boot on his leg and strict instructions that he was to use the crutches that had been provided, and two stitches in the gash behind his left ear, from where his head had hit the concrete floor of the airport lounge. What bothered him the most was the fact that they had shaved a patch of his hair from around the area so that they could fix him up. Despite Abby’s repeated assurances that it was barely noticeable, he had been feeling paranoid about it all day.
Lester had him restricted to office duties for the duration of his recovery, which made it a lot harder to avoid the conversation that he knew was going to happen. He managed to keep his door locked until lunchtime but, eventually, hunger and the desire for a cup of tea forced him to emerge. At which point, Danny pounced.
“Have you been waiting outside my door all morning?”
“No,” Danny said, but the way he avoided Becker’s eyes when he said it told Becker that he was lying. “Can we talk?”
Becker let them back into his office. “Well?”
“I wanted to apologise about what happened yesterday-”
“You already tried that,” Becker interrupted. “It doesn’t change the fact that you keep doing these things. You don’t think, do you? You just blunder in and hope for the best. Just tell me, Danny: Why? Is it your mission in life to annoy the hell out of me, to land me in trouble every time you pull one of those stupid stunts or break into the ARC?”
Danny frowned. “No!”
“Well?” Becker persisted. “The truth, Quinn.”
“It’s the only way I can get your attention,” Danny replied eventually, so quietly that Becker wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly.
“You landed me in the hospital to get my attention? Seriously? Well, congratulations, it worked and I’ve got the scars to prove it!”
Danny’s shoulders sagged. “I really am sorry,” he repeated as he turned to leave.
Becker watched him go, sitting back down again and thinking about what he’d just heard. He wasn’t sure how long he sat there but a knock at the door brought him out of his thoughts.
“Becker? I brought you something,” Abby told him, coming in and setting a plate with a sandwich and a piece of cake and a cup of tea on the desk in front of him. “I thought you’d be hungry since you never came to met me for lunch.”
Becker looked at the clock; it was half past one. He’d been sitting here for nearly half an hour. “Thanks.”
“What did you say to Danny?” she asked, not waiting to be invited before sitting down in the chair next to his. “I saw him leave here a while ago and he looked kind of upset.”
Becker sighed. “I’m not sure. He said…” He paused. “Never mind.”
“No, go on.”
“This doesn’t go beyond these four walls, okay?” Becker waited for her to nod before continuing. She wouldn’t be his first choice to talk to about this, but he didn’t really have anyone else. “You know all the times he’s set off the alarms breaking into this place, or generally made a nuisance of himself? I confronted him about it when he came to apologise about the airport disaster and he said it was the only way to get my attention. I mean, what the hell? He could have seriously hurt someone today, barging in without thinking.”
Abby let out a snort of laughter, quickly disguising it when she saw the expression on his face.
“Becker, he’s pulling your pigtails.”
“It’s like a little boy in a school playground, pulling a girl’s pigtails because he likes her,” Abby told him, still barely hiding her amusement. “Only you don’t have pigtails to pull so he found some other way to make you notice him.”
“Well I’m not sure how I feel about having my pigtails pulled. Metaphorically speaking. And how did I end up being the girl in this hypothetical situation, anyway?”
Why couldn’t Danny be the girl? Becker frowned; he was really over-thinking this because now he had a ridiculous image in his mind of Danny with ginger pigtails, tied up with pink ribbons. He shook his head to rid himself of that rather disturbing thought.
When he turned back to Abby again, she was laughing, not bothering to hide it any longer. She didn’t even look surprised, which meant she’d known all along… and now her comment the other day made a lot more sense. He wondered briefly how many other people knew.
“You couldn’t have said something?” he grumbled.
Abby shook her head. “So?”
“Becker, don’t play dumb - you know what I mean. What are you going to do?”
But Becker didn’t know. The nurse had said that Danny stayed with him in the hospital, refused to leave his side until he knew that Becker would be alright. But it was still his fault in the first place, wasn’t it? In a way it was, but then they ran that risk every time they went out, didn’t they? Danny had been trying to help, however misguided that sentiment had been… And the other stuff, annoying as it had been, was also sometimes the highlight of his day. He enjoyed Danny’s company even if the ex-copper drove him crazy at times, but now that he knew the reason for that annoying behaviour it didn’t seem as bad.
“Is it the fact that he’s a he?” Abby asked.
“No. Why would that bother me?”
“Well since you’ve never really shown much interest in either sex, I wasn’t sure which way your interests swung!”
Becker frowned. Did it bother him? He’d had enough relationships with both men and women but when he’d joined the army he’d just stopped even looking at men. It was easier; the military may not be as homophobic as it used to be but he’d learned that being openly involved with members of the same sex wasn’t always the best way to make friends.
Could he see himself with Quinn? He thought about the former policeman; Danny wasn’t classically handsome but Becker had never gone for the pretty-boy types anyway. Danny was charming, and he had a lovely smile. And the few occasions that they’d cleaned up together after a call-out he had noticed that Danny looked damn good under his clothes… Okay, so it wasn’t the first time he’d noticed Danny, but it was the first time that he’d allowed himself to ponder the possibilities surrounding those thoughts.
“Becker?” Abby’s voice broke into his reverie. “Do me a favour, okay? If you’re going to say no, let him down gently. Unless you’re not going to say no…” At his glare, Abby smirked, holding up her hands in surrender. “Fine, I’ll leave you to brood in peace,” she told him, getting up. “And Becker? Eat the sandwich; you need to take better care of yourself.”
Danny wasn’t scheduled to work Saturday and where he would sometimes show up on his day off, claiming that he was bored at home and hang around to annoy Becker, this time he didn’t. He would sometimes come in as the others were leaving and persuade then to go to the pub with him, but not today.
Becker missed him.
By Sunday lunchtime Danny still hadn’t arrived at work, even though he was scheduled on at 9am, and Becker was getting concerned. He was regretting not calling Danny, or at least texting him, to apologise for yelling at him. Abby had said he looked upset when he left… Becker shook his head: What was he thinking? It had been Danny’s fault and, as head of security, it was his responsibility to reprimand those on the team who endangered the others’ safety. Still, he didn’t like the thought of Danny being upset with him. In fact, ever since his chat with Abby, he’d been thinking that maybe he’d like to see what could happen, to give Danny the attention he wanted. The more he thought about it, the more that idea appealed to him.
By Monday morning, his imagination had started filling in the blanks in how the conversation should have gone. He wanted Danny; it had just taken a kick up the behind to make him realise that he could actually have him. No one here cared who he dated, no one would judge him for it; he might still be military, but he was far enough away from it that getting involved with Danny wouldn’t be a problem.
The trouble was that Danny had left on Friday after their chat – okay, argument - and hadn’t been seen since. Abby said he’d just left without telling any of them where he was going, and no one had heard from him.
It left a cold dread in the pit of Becker’s stomach that Danny wasn’t coming back.
He sighed, letting his head fall forward onto his desk with a soft thud. Way to go, Hilary, he told himself. You managed to screw that up, didn’t you? Not only had he now lost his best friend, he’d also lost the possibility of anything else happening with Danny.
Lifting his head, he dropped it back down again, banging it against the desk once more for good measure.
“You probably shouldn’t do that when you’ve had a concussion only days earlier.”
Becker lifted his head, turning to see Danny standing in the doorway, one shoulder leaning casually against the frame. He didn’t come in, the uncertainty of whether or not he’d be welcome clear in his eyes, but there was a tentative smile on his face.
“What are you doing here?”
Danny’s smile faded. “I work here, remember?” he said.
“But Abby… She said you’d gone, and no one had heard from you…”
“I phoned in on Sunday morning,” Danny told him defensively. “I spoke to the new lass on reception but I’m assuming she never passed the message along. I’ll tell you one thing, though- it’s the last time I order Chinese takeout from the Golden Dragon. I spent most of the weekend with my head down the loo, being re-introduced to the contents of my stomach.”
“You were ill?”
Danny nodded, frowning as he studied Becker’s expression. “Yes, I said I called in… Wait, you thought I wasn’t coming back?”
“I never said that.”
“You thought it, though,” Danny said accusingly as he came into the room, he closed the door behind him. “Look, about what I said the other day… can we just forget about it? You’re my best mate and I don’t like the thought of losing that.”
Now or never, Becker thought. He took a deep breath: “No.”
“I said I was sorry-”
“I know, but that’s not what I meant. Did you mean it?”
Danny didn’t move, watching Becker suspiciously as though he was expecting it to be the start of some elaborate hoax. Did he really think that Becker would do that to him, mess with him like that? Becker had a moment of panic, that maybe he shouldn’t have said anything, but the damage was done now. He needed to know.
Silently, Danny nodded.
Shuffling to his feet, Becker grabbed one of his crutches and limped his way across the office to close the door before turning back to Danny. “I’m the one who should be apologising. I should have seen it sooner, should have realised what you mean to me.” He slid an arm around Danny’s waist and leaned in to brush a light kiss across Danny’s lips before pulling back far enough to add, “I want you, Danny.”
For a moment, Danny stood frozen in his arms, gaze fixed on Becker’s eyes, searching. Presumably he found what he was looking for as he relaxed, a wide smile spreading across his features as he pulled Becker in for another kiss.
A short time later, when they were both sitting down with mugs of tea in hand, Danny glanced up and frowned. “What the hell happened to your office?”
Becker sighed, looking around at the tinsel and streamers that crisscrossed every inch of the ceiling in a gaudy multi-coloured web. “Connor snuck in and decorated the place before I arrived yesterday. With my foot in plaster, I can’t climb a ladder to take it all down again, and he made everyone else promise not to do it for me.”
“I’m sure we can think of something just as creative to do to his office,” Danny mused.
“He’s started locking the door,” Becker pointed out. “I think he’s expecting retaliation.”
“Maybe so, but I know another way in. He’ll never see it coming.” He looked thoughtful for a moment. “I’ll need a few cans of silly-string and some of that clear fishing twine...”
“Am I going to regret letting you do this?”
Danny shook his head. “Relax; I’ve got it all worked out. I’ll set it up so that we’re talking to Lester or something when it happens. Perfect alibis.””
Becker didn’t feel particularly relaxed about it but Danny’s eyes lit up when he started plotting these adolescent pranks, and his enthusiasm was infectious.
“Sneaky. I knew there was a reason I liked you.”
“Not just one, I hope.”
“No, there are a lot more than one,” Becker assured him. “Now, how about we finalise these plans for revenge over dinner tonight… My place? I’ll cook if you’ll drive me home.”
“How about… I’ll drive you home and order pizza so you don’t have to cook, if you’ll let me stay,” Danny counter-offered hopefully.
Becker smiled. “Deal.”