Pairing: Becker / Matt
Word Count: 6858
Summary: Pretty much what the title says! The daily escapades of lockdown with Matt, Becker and Moss, some from each of their POVs.
Notes: My rules were that I had to use past prompts from primeval100, in order (backwards), and I wasn’t allowed to skip any. So, if any of the prompts are used very vaguely, that’s why! I used #714 – 649 (67 drabbles)
Notes (2): If you’ve never met Moss, he’s a wolf cub that Becker found when he was left behind when an anomaly closed, he kept the cub and named after his favourite gun (the Mossberg) in this series - Moss ‘verse
714- Downing street
“England will be in a full lockdown from midnight…”
Becker sighed, turning to glare at Matt who was sitting next to him. Matt glared back.
“Seriously, you must have known about this. If your time is our future then a plague that’s lasted a year so far would have had some mention in the history books,” Becker pointed out. “I’m just saying, you could have warned us.”
Matt shook his head. “As I told you last March, I didn’t know. It’s likely that our travelling back to your time changed what we know as history anyway.”
“Maybe,” Becker admitted reluctantly.
713- New Beginnings
“I’ve decided I’m going to learn how to juggle,” Becker announced.
Matt laughed. “When I suggested a new hobby to keep you occupied during lockdown, that wasn’t quite what I imagined.”
The following week, Matt collected an Amazon box from the postman, handing it to Becker.
“My paints! I’m taking up painting,” Becker told him.
“What happened to the juggling?”
“I got tired of chasing the balls when I dropped them.”
Matt smiled. This was just like last time, when Becker found a new obsession every couple of weeks. Oh well, at least he wasn’t complaining he was bored. Yet.
712- Christmas cheer
“That was the last of the spiced rum,” Becker lamented, setting his empty glass on the floor next to the sofa. “The Christmas chocolates are almost gone too.”
“We can buy more,” Matt pointed out.
“It’s not the same when you deliberately purchase it. We’re just using up the leftover Christmas treats.”
That made sense, Matt thought. There was no way that their planned dry January was going to happen; lockdowns required alcohol. And the post-Christmas diet that he’d intended? Not likely. Might as well enjoy it.
“I think we’ve still got some Advocaat left,” he said. “Snowball?”
711- Counting down the days
Again? Really? Moss reluctantly got out of his nice warm bed and stretched. He loved his humans, he really did, but this was getting ridiculous. His days of long naps in his bed, followed by lunch, then a long nap in the chair by the window were being seriously disturbed.
And his humans kept wanting to play. And they were always underfoot, when they should have been gone all day. Now they were home, disturbing his quiet time.
The attention had been nice at the start, but now he couldn’t wait for them to go to work again.
710- Christmas baking.
Becker was confused. The house smelled of, well, Christmas. That was spiced gingerbread.
“What are you doing?” he asked, pausing in the doorway to the kitchen, seeing Matt pulling a large tray out of the oven.
“I found a new gingerbread biscuit recipe and thought I’d give it a try.”
“You’re making Christmas cookies?”
Matt started taking them off the baking tray and placing them onto a cooling rack. “No, I thought of that, which is why I cut them into bunnies. See? They’re early Easter cookies.”
“Where on earth did you get a bunny cookie cutter?”
“eBay, where else?”
709- Christmas shopping
Parcels had been arriving on an almost daily basis for the past week. Matt was curious, but he’d just assumed that Backer had found yet another hobby to try.
He had not been expecting to find Becker sitting in the middle of the floor in the lounge with boxes, bows and rolls of glittery wrapping paper spread out around him.
“I’ve got all of my Christmas shopping done, and one thing left to wrap up,” Becker told him proudly.
“I know,” Becker said defensively, “but, as December is always so stressful, I thought I’d get it done early.”
Lester had been very clear. The ARC was on essential staff only, and everyone else would be required to remain at home unless there was an emergency shout. Unfortunately, the anomalies had been quiet, leaving most of the staff at home. Doing nothing.
Matt knew where Becker wanted to go, the same place he spent most of his day at the ARC. The armoury. Admiring his guns, however, was not an essential reason to be at work.
“Hey Matt, do you think the neighbours would mind if I set up a practice range in the garden?”
“I think they might.”
Moss had been comfortably snoozing on the warm spot in front of the radiator when his head suddenly shot up, on alert. Jumping to his feet he hopped up into the chair in front of the window, scrambling over the back of it to wedge himself on the window ledge. He didn’t really fit on there but he somehow managed, staring intently out of the window.
“What’s up with him?”
Matt laughed, pointing out of the window. “I think he’s got a bit of a thing for next door’s poodle. They go for a walk around this time every day.”
706- Unfinished business
As predicted, most of the things Becker had decided to ‘learn’ since lockdown began had been abandoned, unfinished. Matt, however, had found Becker’s instruction videos on youtube and thought it looked fun.
“Hils, I’ve done it! Watch.”
Becker watched as Matt picked up the three juggling balls and managed a good twenty rotations with all three before one dropped to the ground and rolled away under the table.
“How long have you been practicing that?”
Matt shrugged his shoulders. “A week or so. It’s fun.”
Becker had tried for weeks but just could not get it. “I hate you sometimes.”
Three days. That was how long they’d spent putting together the huge jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table. Three days of matching up almost identical pieces to make up a picture of a pile of baked beans. It was almost finished.
There were four pieces left on the board and a couple of spaces to block them together into.
Three left. Two. One…
“Where’s the last piece?”
Becker and Matt began searching. Floor. Chairs. Nothing.
“It has to be somewhere.”
A short time later, Matt held up a soggy piece of cardboard covered in toothmarks.
“Moss felt like a snack.”
Becker returned from his afternoon walk with Moss to find Matt still slouched on the sofa, in exactly the same place he’d been when they went out. In fact, it was the same position he’d been in first thing this morning, and most of the past week. Thank goodness he was nearly at the end of the series. Ten series of Spooks, binge watched.
“Have you moved at all today?”
Matt didn’t bother looking up, still focussed on the screen. “Of course.” Matt sounded offended. “I had to pee.”
Becker sighed. Oh well, at least he was wearing trousers today.
“I thought you’d finished watching Spooks?”
“I have. Castle is next.”
Not again, Becker thought. More weeks of Matt vegetating on the sofa. In that revolting hoodie.
“You could join me.”
Although, he really did like that show…
“Ok,” he said. “But no all-day binges, and you’re coming for daily walks with me and Moss.”
“That hoodie is going in the wash. Now. It has cereal stuck on it.”
Matt smirked, fingering the waistband of his jogging trousers. “And the rest?”
“Maybe we can start watching tomorrow,” Becker said, pulling him toward their bedroom.
702- Safari (ok, I cheated and interpreted it as quest or hunt)
They were tired and annoyed, the rain coming down heavier now, soaking them more by the minute as they trekked through the woods. Matt carried Moss’s lead, the wolf having chased a squirrel earlier and vanished into the undergrowth.
Suddenly, Becker pointed at the target of their hunt, happily rolling in a mud puddle, his white fur almost black, bits of leaves and debris stuck to him.
Becker didn’t raise his voice, but the wolf understood from the tone that he was in trouble. He didn’t run away, just sat, looking miserable, while Matt clipped the lead on him.
701- An unfortunate place for an anomaly to appear
Becker grabbed the last little rodent-like critter as it scampered out from under a shelf. Only a few had manged to get through before Connor locked the anomaly but, unfortunately, they’d had to evacuate the supermarket, something the shoppers outside were not happy about. And they were getting angrier the longer it took…
It took hours, using food as bait, chasing them, trying to corner or trap them, but eventually all that was left was the one in Becker’s hands. As he sent it back through the anomaly, he realised it was still the most fun he’d had in ages.
700- Past Prompts (using 531-Fast asleep)
Moss stared at his food bowl. It was empty. His humans had usually filled the bowl by now. Where was his breakfast?
Padding upstairs, he nosed open the door to his humans’ sleeping room, jumping up onto the bed and making sure to walk on his humans as much as possible. He whined, but all he got was a muffled ‘go away’.
Well, that wouldn’t do.
New plan. Moss sat down, threw his head back, and howled. His humans sat bolt upright, looking dazed.
“Alright, we’re up! Pack it in!”
Moss trotted happily back downstairs to wait by his bowl.
699- It’s life, but not as we know it
It was odd, even after all these months, to see the streets deserted, Matt thought. He had grown up in the quiet underground tunnels, hunted by predators, before coming here. It was noisy and chaotic, people were bustling around, above ground. No one looking over their shoulders. It had been overwhelming to begin with, to see the carefree way they were living.
Then the virus happened. Suddenly the streets were emptier, people avoiding each other, the carefree atmosphere gone.
It reminded him of the fear he’d grown up with.
Though at least with the predators, you could see them coming.
698- The Thames (Weird facts from a site called Unusual facts about the River Thames)
“Did you know that in 1252, King Henry 3rd had a polar bear that he let swim in the Thames to catch fish?” Becker asked. “It was a gift from Norway. He kept it in the tower of London.”
They were sitting in bed, Becker reading while Matt filled in the crossword, not entirely paying attention to Becker.
“Nope. Didn’t know that.”
“And that on average, they fish one body a day out of the Thames?”
Wait, what? Polar bears? Dead bodies? He frowned. “What the hell are you reading?”
“Weird histories of London,” Becker said, holding up his book.
697- At the dentist
Matt was overjoyed. This was definitely a good day, he thought.
“What’s got you do happy?”
Matt showed Becker the phone. “My dental appointment is cancelled!”
Becker rolled his eyes. He was the one who’d had to drag Matt there last time, and he’d been able to see him shaking as they’d sat in the waiting room. He’d stayed, half afraid Matt would flee if he left.
Now he looked so happy that Becker didn’t have the heart to point out that his appointment would get rescheduled and he’d still have to go once the current health crisis was over.
Becker watched as the presenter showed the overseas-house-hunting couple to another pretty mountainside house in Spain, telling them all about it.
“We should do that.”
Becker turned to Matt. “What, buy a house in Spain?”
“No, have a holiday when all this is over and we’re allowed to travel again,” Matt said. “Somewhere warm and sunny.”
“Not so sure about the mountains though, or out in the countryside, in the middle of nowhere,” Becker mused. “I think I’d prefer somewhere with a nice beach close by.”
“And a town. Things we can walk to.”
“I like the sound of that.”
Another parcel arrived at the door with Becker’s name on it. Matt sighed; What now? Most of the other activities that Becker had started since Christmas had been abandoned, but every so often he would think of something new he wanted to try.
This particular box contained wool.
“I’ve decided to learn how to knit,” Becker announced.
“I found some instructional videos on youtube, and it looks fun, so I thought I’d give it a try,” Becker told him. “I’m going to make a scarf.”
Okay then, Matt thought. He’d give it a week before Becker got bored again.
“Matt, have you seen my other ball of wool? Or Moss?”
To Matt’s surprise, Becker had actually stuck with the knitting although there had been a lot of swearing at the beginning as it didn’t go according to plan. However, he’d persevered. He now had roughly half of a scarf. If only Moss would stop stealing the balls of wool. He usually took it to his dog bed and used it as a pillow.
Not this time; he was obviously tired of them claiming it back from him.
Matt sighed. “I’ll take the kitchen and dining room, you check upstairs.”
The weekly zoom meeting had taken place of the staff meetings for the primary team when the lockdown began. At the start, everyone was sitting there, neat, and paying attention as Lester ran through the things they needed to discuss. As time went on…
Abby was still wearing pyjamas, and Connor was discreetly playing with the Diictodons. Lester asked a question then paused when there was no response.
“Becker, please pay attention!”
Lester squinted at their screen.
“Are you knitting?”
Becker hurriedly put the scarf under a cushion. “No.”
Matt amused himself with sketching the embarrassed look on Becker’s face.
692- Running on empty
Becker was concerned when Matt once again offered a one-word answer. He’d been a bit off all day.
Matt just shrugged. “Nothing.”
“Bullshit. Try again.”
Matt sighed. “I’ve had enough. Every bloody day is the same, staring at these walls, or the tv.” He waved a hand dismissively. “I’m just in a crappy mood, that’s all.”
That evening, Becker made Matt take Moss for his walk.
When he got back, Becker had the dining table set with tablecloth and candles, glasses of wine and Matt’s favourite dinner. It wasn’t much, but it was the best he could do.
691- Comets and Meteors
Matt awoke suddenly, wincing at the stab of pain in his neck as he wondered why exactly he was asleep, sitting on a kitchen chair with his head resting on his arms on the window ledge. Beside him, Becker was still fast asleep in an equally awkward looking position.
He looked at his watch. It was 2am. Matt sighed, carefully shaking Becker awake.
“What, is it time?”
The news broadcast had said that the meteor shower would be spectacular, given the clear night sky.
“Been and gone,” Matt told him. “The meteor shower was an hour ago; we fell asleep.”
690- Beauty and the Beast
Becker looked around to see Moss bolt for the open door, faster than he could stop him, and race up the driveway. He ignored Becker’s call to come back, didn’t even slow down.
“Sweet, isn’t it?” their elderly neighbour said, watching Moss flirting with her standard poodle.
Moss was prancing around, delighted, as the object of his affection sat daintily before him.
“He’s been watching her for ages. It’s like having a teenager with a crush,” Becker told her.
“Don’t worry dear, I think my Milly is enjoying the attention,” his neighbour said.
Milly didn’t seem to mind at all.
689- “Tell me the truth”
It was the second time they’d attended an anomaly shout only to find absolutely nothing. No trace of the anomaly, no creatures or tracks.
Becker wasn’t going to complain about attending these calls, especially when it might also turn out to be genuine.
The third time it happened, a week later, he was getting suspicious. Connor always seemed to be there first, and he never asked for a weapon...
“Ok, Conn, what’s going on?”
After a moment, Connor admitted, “I kind of hacked the detector and sent a fake alert. I was bored!” He sighed. “I won’t do it again.”
688- Mistaken Identity
Matt had figured it out. Kind of. He had waited until he and Becker got home before broaching the subject
“The anomaly alert was fake, wasn’t it? As were the previous ones.”
Becker just shrugged his shoulders. “Haven’t a clue,” he lied. “Not like it changes anything; we still have to check them out in case there’s an incursion.”
Matt nodded, but kept frowning at Becker.
“How did you manage to trigger the alerts?”
Becker sighed. “I didn’t.”
“Do you really think I’d be that irresponsible?” Becker demanded. “I didn’t trigger the alerts.”
“I didn’t do it!”
Matt a crick in his neck and backache, thanks to the too-short sofa.
In retrospect, he should have listened to Becker last night rather than persist in accusing him of rigging the detector, staring an argument.
He’d tried to apologise, but by then he’d pissed Becker off enough and he’d just glared, before taking Moss with him, locking Matt out of the bedroom and informing him he was sleeping on the sofa.
The morning was uncomfortable, with Becker ignoring him and even Moss avoiding him. He’d have more chance of getting a stone to answer him until Becker calmed down.
The doorbell rang while Becker was out with Moss that evening, and when Matt answered he knew he was leaving a good review on that website. He’d only ordered the previous night.
When Becker got home, Matt presented him with a big bunch of red, yellow and orange flowers, a little card poking out from them that said Sorry.
“I am sorry,” Matt told him. “I didn’t mean-“
Becker sighed. “I know, and I overreacted.”
“So, am I forgiven?”
A loud sneeze sounded from beside them, as Moss stuck his nose into the flowers. He didn’t look impressed.
685- Extreme weather events
Walking hand in hand with Matt through the park, Becker watched as Moss bounded through the snow. It was about six inches deep along the paths, but Moss wasn’t sticking to them. He was running around in it, chasing the snowballs that Becker kept throwing for him, looking adorably baffled when he couldn’t find them.
“That’s mean,” Matt said, laughing as Moss chased another snowball, this time landing shoulder deep in a snowdrift.
“He’s enjoying himself. He loves snow.”
“Not just him. I saw you making footprints in the blank snow in the garden this morning, grinning like a loon.”
684- At the zoo
Becker had seen her slip and ran out, Matt following closely. Their elderly neighbour, Grace, lay on the ice clutching her wrist. As Matt called an ambulance, Becker pulled a blanket over her, knowing not to move her too much, while her poodle, Millie, sat dutifully by her side. Grace had fretted, even as the paramedics arrived, about her animals, giving Becker her key and making him promise to see to them.
As he took Millie home, he looked around. Apart from the poodle, there were three cats, six fish, a budgie… This wasn’t a house it was a zoo.
It was three days before Grace was allowed to come home again, the ambulance bringing her home, her arm strapped up. Matt and Becker met her and made sure she was settled.
“I left you dinner in the fridge,” Becker told her. “It just needs heating up. There are a few more meals in the freezer as well; I didn’t think you’d want to be cooking. Oh, and Matt made blueberry muffins.”
Grace smiled at them. “You’re good lads, but you don’t have to look after me. I’m fine.”
Matt just told her he’d be back later to walk Millie.
They were just leaving when a chirp made Becker pause. He sighed, looking up to see the little green and yellow budgie fly overhead.
“He learned how to open his cage,” she told them, as the budgie twittered, landing on the back of the sofa and nipping at her hair. “Aww, did you miss me, Chippy?”
“He had me worried the first time he got out. I thought I’d lost him!” Becker told her, coaxing the escapee back in his cage.
“That’s why I put a clothes peg on the lock,” Grace said. “He can’t open those. Not yet, anyway.”
681- Catching up
“Do you want another beer?” Becker called as he went to get himself one.
“Nah, I fancy a Vodka and coke this time.”
Becker returned a few minutes later carrying the drinks, settling back down in front of the laptop.
On the screens, everyone raised their glass, echoing the sentiment. Becker had missed this, just getting together with the team for a drink, chatting, catching up. While their weekly virtual pub nights on Zoom were fun, he was looking forward to the time when they could meet in a real pub again.
In the meantime…
“Quiz time!” Connor announced.
680- New tricks
Moss sighed as his humans came into the room. Looked like he wasn’t getting that afternoon nap he’d been looking forward to.
“He learned a new trick,” Matt was saying. “Let’s show him, Moss, come on.”
Moss obediently went to sit in front of Matt, waiting.
This was just humiliating, Moss thought as he stood on his hind legs and jumped around in a full twirl.
“Aww, good boy!”
He accepted the treat he was given, and the ear rubs. Maybe it wasn’t so big a price to pay for looking foolish, if he got ear rubs afterwards…
Becker had insisted he didn’t need help, but the loud curses and scuffles from upstairs said otherwise.
Matt reached the bathroom doorway in time to see Moss, covered in suds and sopping wet, scramble out of the bath and Becker, in his haste to grab Moss, lose his footing and land in the tub with a splash.
Blocking Moss’s escape, Matt turned to Becker. The man looked ridiculous, sitting in the bath, looking pissed off, soaked, with bubbles stuck to his hair.
“Oh hell. Moss, NO!”
Moss started vigorously shaking the water from his coat, soaking Matt too.
678- Tender is the night
Becker was concentrating on his knitting. He’d made a mistake and was having to undo his last few minutes work.
He sighed, putting down the half-made scarf. “What’s wrong?”
“Do you know who sang ‘Tender is the Night’? Tony somebody.”
He glanced over to see Matt watching him expectantly, pen poised over the almost-complete crossword on his lap.
“You know, you could just google it.”
Matt frowned. “That’s cheating.”
“And asking me the answers is different how exactly?”
“It just is,” Matt argued. “So?”
Matt gave him a kiss, happily filling in the answer.
“If I had a superpower, it would be invisibility,” Becker commented as they watched Fantastic Four.
“Only if you could control it,” Matt pointed out. “Because the Invisible Man couldn’t become visible again. That would be awful.”
“Oh no, I mean like Sue Storm,” Becker said. “I’d use it when I chose to. And I’d want my clothing to turn invisible with me so I’d be dressed when I reappeared.”
“I think I’d rather be able to teleport, like Nightcrawler,” Matt argued. “Or have Wolverine’s adamantium claws.”
“Wolverine is cool,” Becker agreed.
“We need to watch X-Men next,” Matt decided.
“I don’t want to.”
Becker didn’t respond, just held out Matt’s trainers for him to take.
Matt sighed and put them on. “You’re mean.”
“It’s a run,” Becker pointed out. “You brought this on yourself.”
“I can think of better ways to work off a few calories,” Matt told him, smirking suggestively.
“Nice try, but no. How about this,” Becker said. “You come for a run with me and we can share a shower when we get home.”
Becker wasn’t giving up, Matt thought, following him out of the door, but at least he had motivation to get back quickly.
675- Easter eggs
Becker knew that their diets were getting worse as they both spent more time at home, bored and snacking, but Matt’s apparent addiction to Mini Eggs was getting ridiculous. He wondered if Matt realised just how many bags he was getting though.
Hence the exercise and healthy eating regime he was determined they were going to follow.
That night, Becker was half asleep when Moss put his paws on the bed and yipped loudly before running back downstairs. Becker followed, reaching the kitchen just in time to hear
“You little traitor.”
Matt sighed, handing Becker the bag of Mini Eggs.
674- Nap time
It was time, Moss knew, but no one was moving. Usually, his humans were ready for his walk before he was yet today they were both still sitting on the sofa.
Matt’s eyes were closed, breathing even as he slept. Beside him, Becker was also snoozing with his head on Matt’s shoulder. Moss sat down in front of the sofa, watching them.
Human were adorable sometimes, he thought.
As he watched them, he heard rain on the window and went back to his bed without waking them. He really had no interest in going for a walk in the rain.
“Do you realise that it’s three years ago since I found Moss?” Becker observed as he glanced at the calendar on the wall. “He was just a tiny, terrified little thing when I first found him.”
At the mention of his name, Moss snuffled Becker’s hand as a hint that he wanted his ears scratching.
Matt nodded. “I remember. I also remember you pleading with Lester to be allowed to bring him home with you.”
“Well, I couldn’t just leave him in the menagerie,” Becker protested. “He was only a baby.”
“I would have done the same thing,” Matt confessed.
672- We’re all in this together
If he’d had Moss for three years, that made it over two and a half years since he and Matt got together. It sometimes surprised him how long it had been, other times it seemed like they’d been together forever.
“The past year has sucked,” he said. “But having you here with me made it better.”
“Yeah, I love you too. Now, are you done being sappy?” Matt teased.
“For the moment, yes.”
Becker wondered for the hundredth time what Matt would say if he suggested making this relationship more official. Maybe one day, he’d dare to voice that thought.
671- The NHS
The shout had gone pretty smoothly over all, the creature incursion turned out to be some rather docile giant lizard things that had been easily herded to the anomaly until a dog barking nearby spooked them. As the critters panicked, one ran between Matt’s feet, making him lose his footing, landing hard.
Leaving his men on roundup duty, Becker went to Matt.
“I’ll take you to A&E, get you checked out-“
“I don’t need a hospital. I’m not wasting their time; they’ve got enough to do at the moment.”
“Nothing’s broken. I’m fine, just bruised.”
Becker didn’t look convinced.
670- Aches and Pains
The following morning, Matt made his way into the kitchen, wincing with every movement. His back was protesting painfully, as was his shoulder, thanks to the rocky ground he’d landed on yesterday. Stupid lizard-thing, he thought.
He leaned against the counter as Becker began his mother hen routine, fussing and looking worried.
“Maybe you should go back to bed,” Becker suggested.
“Only if you come with me.”
Becker rolled his eyes. “I don’t think you’re up for that at the moment. Go and sit down. I’ll get your breakfast and some painkillers.”
Matt had to admit, that sounded good too.
An uncomfortable few hours later, Becker suddenly got up and left, muttering that he’d be back in a minute. Matt heard the back door slam and about ten minutes later, open again. He heard the microwave start and then ping.
“Thought of something that might help,” he said, setting one heat pack at the base of Matt’s back and another on his shoulder, telling him to lean back again. “I borrowed these from Grace next door. I remember her saying she has them for when her arthritis gets bad.”
Matt sighed in relief. “Thank you.” He’d try anything right now.
668- “Why should I trust you?”
The check-in with Lester went about as well as expected, especially when he asked Matt about the injuries sustained and his refusal of medical examination.
“I’m fine. Trust me, I’d tell you otherwise.”
On the screen, Lester raised an eyebrow. “I highly doubt that. I suspect you’d say you were fine if your arm was hanging off,” he said. His gaze shifted to Becker, sitting next to Matt. “Well?”
“He’s bruised and aching but nothing’s broken,” Becker confirmed.
To Matt’s irritation, Lester did take Becker’s word for it, ordering Matt off call-out rotation for a week until he’d recovered.
667- After the storm
They were starting to snip at each other, too much time just the two of them in lockdown. Matt was cranky because his back hurt, and Becker knew that he was irritating the crap out of Matt by fussing, but he couldn’t help it. He didn’t like seeing Matt hurt and wanted to help.
After Matt had yelled at him, he thought it was safer to get out of the house for a while. He’d collected Moss and headed out for a run, taking the long route through the park. He’d go back and apologise when they’d both calmed down.
Becker’s phone rang about half an hour later.
There was a short silence. “Where did you go?”
“I took Moss for a run.”
Matt let out a laugh. “You sound like an obscene phone call with all the heavy breathing.”
The tension vanished with that comment and Becker smiled. “I’m sorry that I was fussing.”
“And I’m sorry that I shouted at you. I know you were just concerned,” Matt told him. “Are you coming back soon?”
“I’m turning back now. I’ll be about twenty minutes.”
Becker put the phone back in his pocket and called to Moss, relieved.
665- Snow and Ice
Matt found Becker looking out of the kitchen window with a mug of coffee in his hands. Outside, Moss was racing in circles around the show-covered garden.
He sighed. “More snow?”
“Isn’t it great?”
Snow was great, but they’d done that already and he was hoping for better weather. His back had just stopped hurting and the idea of slipping around on ice was not appealing. Becker, however, looked delighted, watching Moss now rolling in the snow with something akin to envy.
“Well, go on then.”
“What do you mean?”
“Go play outside,” Matt teased. “I know you want to.”
664- The Pyramids
“I don’t know what you mean.”
Matt rolled his eyes. “You’re like a kid seeing the pile of presents under a Christmas tree when you see snow.”
“I am not.”
“What’s that place… with the pyramids and a certain river?” Matt laughed at Becker’s expression. “I think it’s kind of adorable that you get so excited about snow. Go out and play with Moss, or take him for a walk or something.”
This time, Becker grabbed his boots and coat as Matt made himself a coffee to stand and watch the two of them from the warmth of the kitchen.
663- Gone fishing
He looked out a little later it to see both Moss and Becker digging about in the snow. Well, Becker seemed to be making a systematic pattern of holes where Moss was digging randomly, kicking snow everywhere.
Curiosity got the better of him.
“What are you doing?”
Becker looked up.
“My phone fell out of my pocket while I was-“
“Arsing about?” Matt volunteered.
“No. OK, yes. I can’t find it.”
Matt retrieved his own phone from inside and called Becker’s. A nearby snowdrift started to ring.
“Never thought of that,” Becker admitted, looking embarrassed as he extracted the phone.
662- The best things in life are free
Matt and Becker sat on the sofa, keeping as still as possible, watching. Even Moss sat quietly next to Becker, his head cocked to one side.
Over the past few days, a tiny little bird had kept landing on the window ledge, looking in curiously before fluttering away again. Sometimes it brought a friend, both of them peering through the window.
Today, Becker had scattered a handful of birdseed on the window ledge.
Now they sat and watched the little birds picking at the seed mere feet away from them. It really was the simple things that were the best.
661- New year, same old problems
It was almost a year, Matt thought. Almost a year since cases began to multiply and the fear kicked in, since shops started asking people not to use cash, since the stay at home messages and social distancing. Almost a year since death tolls became a daily occurrence on the news as opposed to a rarity when there was a disaster.
Of course, there were vaccines now and the potential of the protection they would provide allowing some semblance of normality to return, but still.
Almost twelve months later and March would pass as it had last year, in lockdown.
660- No room at the inn
Matt awoke from a dream that he was being strangled, alarmed to find he couldn’t move even now he was awake. The problem, he found, was sleeping obliviously next to him.
Moss had decided to join them, laying between Matt and Becker, pressing them to the edges of the bed where the covers had pulled tight around him like a straightjacket.
Wriggling around he managed to poke Moss in the side, making the wolf jump up, finally freeing himself. He saw Becker moving too.
“If he’s going to sleep here, we need a bigger bed.”
Becker sighed. “Moss, get down!”
659- Last minute panic
“How did he get in here anyway?” Becker asked, rubbing his eyes to wake himself up. “I thought you shut the door?”
Matt yawned, burrowing back into his pillow and tugging the duvet over his head. “I did, then you decided you’d forgotten to lock the door and went back down to check.”
“Well, it’s better to check than find out tomorrow that it had been unlocked all night.”
“I watched you lock it. And I told you that you had.”
Becker shooed Moss back toward his own bed, telling him to stay, and crawled back under the warm duvet.
658- Silent night (not)
Both men quickly fell back into the sleep that had so recently been interrupted, only for Matt to be awakened a short time later to the sounds of an animal screaming from out in the garden. He sighed, resigning himself to the fact that the world was against him tonight and he wasn’t going to get any sleep.
He could shut that racket up though, he thought.
A bucket of water and two soaked and now less-amorous foxes later, and being laughed at by Becker, Matt got back into bed.
Maybe this time he could get some bloody sleep.
657- Christmas shopping
Becker sighed, staring miserably at the film they were watching.
“I miss that.”
Matt frowned. “Miss what?” He glanced at the screen again, showing the leading lady and her entourage with armfuls of shopping bags, in a shopping centre, having fun. “You hate shopping, especially at Christmas. You always complain about it.”
“You’re right, I do. But I don’t mean that exactly,” Becker told him. “I miss being able to go out freely or just being out with friends, enjoying ourselves.”
“Yeah, so do I,” Matt agreed.
“Also, I need new boots and I hate online clothes shopping,” Becker added.
656- Picture prompt
“So, you remember that photo I took while we were out walking in the snow a few weeks ago,” Matt said. “The one with the big metal gates and the snowy trees.”
Becker nodded. “I liked that one.”
“Well, I sent it off to an amateur photography competition, you know, just for a laugh.”
Becker looked up sharply. “You won?”
Matt rolled his eyes. “No, of course I didn’t. But the magazine does a feature for their favourite non-winning entries. You don’t get a prize, but your picture does get printed in their next issue. They want to print my photo!”
655- The Paleolithic
Matt opened Connor’s latest email. He’d been sending them amusing / weird / conspiracy site links regularly to cheer them up, he said. The accompanying comment was what made Matt pause and take a second look.
“Don’t you think these little guys look like familiar? Oops!”
Becker looked at the picture of the cave painting that Matt was enlarging on the screen.
At the edge of the image was a sunburst, a group of stick figures around it. In their hands, rather than spears, they appeared to be holding weapons in front of them. Like guns.
“Definitely oops,” Becker confirmed.
655- New friends
Becker stood at the window, watching Moss. The wolf had been sniffing around the garden for a while before he’d gone to the fence and lay down, his head on his paws. He lay perfectly still for a while before Becker noticed a little furry face peek out from underneath the fence, and then a scruffy skinny black kitten edged out toward Moss. As the kitten gained courage and rubbed its face on Moss’s foot, Moss leaned down, giving the kitten a lick across its head.
“I think Moss just adopted a kitten,” Becker told him.
653- Bonfire night
The flames curled upwards, into the dark night, flickering and dancing and bathing the area in a soft orange glow. The wood cracked and popped, little sparks rising into the air like fireflies. It was barely above freezing out in the garden but with the fire it wasn’t too bad. And it was a nice change from lounging on the sofa, watching tv for the however-manyeth evening in a row.
Matt leaned back in his chair, taking the beer that Becker passed over to him.
“This was a good idea.”
“Yeah, we need to have not-bonfire night more often.”
652- Ghoulies and Ghosties
The kitten had been with them for a few days now, after Moss had brought it inside and let it sleep in his bed.
Matt had taken it to the vet to be checked over, much to its (and Moss’s) disapproval, which was probably why it seemed determined to give Matt a heart attack.
The kitten, named Loki by Becker, had taken to hiding in dark corners until Matt walked by and then pouncing.
“That little bugger is part demon,” he grumbled at Becker.
“Aww, he’s not,” Becker protested, scratching its ears. It purred. “He’s adorable. Just give him some time.”
651- “Well that could have gone better”
Matt tried, he really did. His attempts to befriend the kitten resulted in new scratches each time.
Apparently, kittens had long memories and this one really did not like going to vets. Or having to go there in a carry case.
As he wiped his latest scratch with antiseptic, he glared at Becker. “It’s not getting used to me.”
“Ok, plan B.” Becker handed Matt an Amazon box. “Try this.”
The fluffy cat toy was an instant hit, thanks in part to the inner pouch filled with catnip. The kitten forgave him pretty quickly after that.
Bribery worked every time.
650- In sickness and in health
Becker looked down when Moss dropped something into his lap, expecting a toy. It was single red rose.
He frowned at Moss, but the wolf just stared back at him. Becker unrolled the scroll around the rose’s stem.
Matt yelped when needle-sharp claws dug into his leg as Loki climbed up.
There was a bow around his neck, a little tag dangling off that just read,
There was a laugh as hands pried Loki off him and he turned to Becker.
Becker set the kitten down and pulled Matt in for a heated kiss.
649 – Leaving
They both decided to keep the engagement quiet from the team for the meantime. It wasn’t really something they wanted to announce over a zoom call or at a shout.
The end was in sight, though, and the date for leaving lockdown wasn’t far away. At that time, they could actually get together with their friends to announce their news and have a proper celebration.
“We should take your parents for dinner somewhere to tell them,” Matt suggested.
Becker smiled. “You don’t have to; they like you. In fact, Mum has been calling you her son-in-law for a while...”
The end, for now…