Pairing - Becker / Connor
Rating - PG-13
Summary - An accident gives Connor superpowers...
The others were already at the second car when they arrived, Abby asking endless questions of an increasingly flustered-looking Connor. When Connor noticed them, he moved away from Abby and came to meet them. He saw Danny’s arm around Becker, holding him up, and grinned.
“Hey, Danny, get your own soldier; that one’s mine.”
Danny laughed, passing Becker over to Connor. “Where’s the beastie?”
“Gone,” Abby announced excitedly. “You should have seen it! The tranq finally kicked in and it passed out in the middle of the road. Connor hauled it back through the anomaly.”
“But it must have weighed a few tonnes at least!”
Connor nodded. “Probably.”
The drive back to the ARC was uneasy. They had all seen Connor’s new gifts but he had no idea of what they were going to tell Lester or any of the others. He had known that it would come out sooner of later, but the not knowing was the worst part.
“Connor? I wanted to say thank you,” Becker said quietly. They were sitting together in the back of the car, squashed in beside Mark, Abby sitting on his lap. The other car wasn’t driveable and had been transported back on a truck so they all squeezed into this one.
“If you hadn’t used your strength to get me out of that car, your secret would still be safe.”
Connor grasped his hand and smiled. “You’re worth going public for.”
“Jeez,” they heard Danny mutter from the front passenger seat. “Pass the sick-bucket.”
That earned him a slap from Abby, making him turn and glare as he rubbed at the injured spot on the back of his head.
“Well quit picking on them,” she told him. “It’s sweet.”
Now Becker glared; soldiers were not ‘sweet’.
“You didn’t have to hit me,” Danny grumbled.
Abby reached over to do it again but Mark’s arms tightened around her waist to restrain her, preventing her from reaching him.
“’Like a bunch of bloody children,” he muttered.
Connor sat in Lester’s office, shuffling, his foot tapping nervously. Becker sat beside him, the soldier moving slightly closer once he saw Connor’s worried look. Behind his desk, Lester leaned back in his chair, fingers steepled. He had called them in here not ten minutes after they returned from the anomaly site; who had snitched, they weren’t sure. Or about what.
“I’m sorry, Lester.” Connor wasn’t entirely sure what he was apologising for at this point but he saw it as a pre-emptive strike.
Lester moved, leaning forward with his elbows on his desk. He consulted the page in front of him.
“You destroyed a vehicle.”
“With all due respect, Sir,” Becker said. “Quinn was driving.”
“And how do you explain Mr Temple’s part in its demise?” Lester asked. “When unexplainable things happen, especially in this line of work, I need to know about them. Tell me, Connor, were you ever planning on enlightening me as to this… whatever it is?”
Connor shook his head, shuffling closer to Becker. Lester noticed.
“Which brings me to the pair of you. I don’t care what the pair of you get up to behind closed doors,” he said. “But I do not expect you to make a display of yourselves in public-” He saw the surprise on their faces. “You have Abigail to thank for that; you may wish to remind her to check and see who else is listening before she discusses these matters with Sarah.”
He turned back to Connor. “Now, Connor, start at the beginning.”
Connor told him everything, from the lab and accident to the skills he had acquired. Throughout his story, Lester sat in silence, listening. It was unnerving.
“And I didn’t tell you, or anyone except Becker- well, I didn’t tell Becker, he kind of saw me pick the desk up so that doesn’t count- because I knew you’d be angry and you’d all treat me differently. Please, Lester; I don’t want to be treated like some laboratory experiment while you try and figure out what happened.”
Lester’s expression softened slightly. “Connor, you should have said something.”
“I know.” Connor bit his lower lip nervously, casting nervous glances at Becker and then back to Lester. “What about us? I mean, me and Becker. Please don’t make us stop seeing each other; we won’t allow it to interfere with our jobs, honest.”
“I’ve spoken to my men; I thought it best to do so before the rumours began,” Becker added hastily. “They don’t have a problem with it. Nor do Quinn or Abby, and I doubt that Sarah will.”
Lester sighed. “Officially, I can’t forbid this,” he said. “I do expect you to remain professional, however. If I hear of any instance of inappropriate behaviour-”
“There won’t be,” Connor insisted, relieved when Lester dismissed them. As Becker left, Connor hesitated for a moment.
That evening, Becker watched anxiously for Connor. He had called five minutes earlier, telling Becker to go out to the garden and wait. Suddenly, a noise behind Becker made him turn, just in time to see Connor make a rather uncoordinated landing.
“I can fly! Isn’t that just the best?” Connor was bouncing on the balls of his feet like an over-excited kid.
“It feels so amazing to be in the air, with nothing holding you up.” Connor continued, not even hearing him. “I wonder if I could take you with me. I should be able to; Superman took Lois Lane flying, didn’t he?”
“Connor?” he asked once the other man finally stopped talking. “What the bloody hell are you wearing?”
Connor grinned and turned around slowly. “Do you like it? I told you I needed a costume, like a proper superhero.”
The other man stood before him in skin tight silver and black Lycra, with a black cape from his shoulders to his feet, fluttering lightly in the breeze. Over his eyes, he wore a black mask.
“Do I even want to know where you got that from?” Becker asked, bemused.
“Sarah made it for me.”
Becker sighed; he was going to have a chat with Sarah about not encouraging Connor.
“Come inside,” he said, holding the door open. He could see his neighbour’s curtains twitching; by tomorrow morning, they would be the talk of the neighbourhood. They were all used so seeing Connor here as they’d been friends for long enough, but dressed as he was now? That would certainly get them gossiping.
Connor’s grin widened and he flung his arms around Becker and kissed him. The soldier put up with it for a moment, reluctant to pull away, but then his self-consciousness flooded back. He wasn’t entirely ready to find out what their reaction would be to his and Connor’s altered relationship would be.
There it was, the curtain on his neighbour’s house moved again.
“Can we go in, please?”
This time, Connor followed him into the house, closing the door behind him. Becker slid his arms around Connor, returning the kiss from earlier. He decided that he could get used to the lycra- it allowed him to feel every inch of Connor’s body pressed against him.
“So, how exactly do you get out of that costume?” he asked, leading Connor toward his bedroom.
When they reached the bed, Connor gave Becker a mischievous look. “Sure you don’t want me to keep it on?”
Becker laughed. “Maybe some other time. Right now, I want you naked.”
By the time Becker had removed his boots, Connor was sprawled on the bed on his back, exactly as Becker had requested; as naked as the day he was born.
“I think I like this super-speed,” he said. “Now I get to watch you.”
Connor watched as Becker stripped slowly, admiring the way that the soldier’s muscles flexed as he moved. He had watched previously, as discreetly as he could, as the man changed or went shirtless in the hot weather but he had never been allowed to look before. Now he had permission and he was taking full advantage of it.
Becker dropped the last piece of clothing to the floor and Connor crooked his index finger to beckon him to the bed. He saw the flicker of hesitation in Becker’s eyes but it was gone in a moment as Connor pulled him close.
The previous night they had both been too uncertain in their altered relationship to really take the time to enjoy themselves. They had kissed and touched and slept curled up together, still mostly dressed. Now the initial ‘are we doing the right thing’ feeling had faded, leaving them with a lot of time to catch up on.
The following morning, Sarah and Abby were gossiping near to the anomaly detector when Becker and Connor came in. The pair were talking quietly as they walked, until Becker glanced up and noticed Sarah.
“Dr Page, may I have a word with you?”
Sarah sighed, knowing she wouldn’t make it to the exit before he reached her. Beside her, Abby watched curiously.
“Why are you encouraging Connor? The costume,” he clarified, seeing her frown. “He’s still wearing the damn thing under his clothes, just in case he has to rescue someone. He thinks he’s superman.”
Abby’s laughter escaped, even though the hand over her mouth. Sarah was trying her best to keep a straight face as well, and losing.
Connor appeared beside him, looking offended at Becker’s criticism of his costume.
“Hey, I like the suit; it’s comfy,” he protested.
“So, you know what he’s wearing under his clothes?” Abby asked. “Had a fun night, did you?”
“Oh yeah-” Connor stopped as Becker nudged him pointedly, his cheeks turning pink as the women grinned at them both.
The sirens sounded then, and the teasing was postponed. As they climbed into the cars, Becker turned to Connor.
“Promise me you aren’t going to start playing superhero.”
“But-” Connor sighed loudly. “Fine. I’ll try, but if I can help someone, then I can’t just stand by. I will be careful, though.”
It was the best he was going to get and so Becker reluctantly accepted the answer.
Connor didn’t try hard enough, he realised three hours later as he watched his boyfriend, complete with super-suit and a black mask over his eyes, whisk the young woman out of the road, just before the bus would have hit her. Of course, she never would have been in the road if she hadn’t been running away from the Raptor that was currently being loaded, tranquilised, into the back of a van.
The woman was just thanking him for the fifth time whilst trying to slip him her phone number when Connor noticed him and made his getaway.
“We have to go,” Becker told him. With a glance at the assembling crowd, he added, “Quickly.”
The story broke in the newspapers four days later. By that time, Connor had saved a further two people and earned himself an internet following of adoring teenage girls. Connor had found the site one day whilst googling himself, the superhero version of him anyway, and had come across their little fanclub.
The newspapers featured stories about a man going around dressed in a costume, rescuing people. The articles ranged from ‘he’s a total nut’ to ‘he’s a real life superhero’- those ones, Connor had saved.
It also made the news the following week, after a student had managed to capture some video footage of him flying on her mobile phone. Up until that point, it had just been an amusing side story in the papers, something light-hearted to balance out the bad news. With actual video footage, however, the city’s first superhero went from human interest story to headliner.
Connor was still checking the blogs excitedly, enjoying his new-found fame. The fangirls were a little on the obsessive side, Becker thought, though Connor still insisted that they were harmless. It did, however, provide Becker with endless hours of fun teasing Connor about it. Just like the old Connor, he still seemed completely baffled by women, especially if they showed any interest in him. Even more so when the messages and discussions on the blog became increasingly personal in nature.
“Um, Becker, you’re not going to like this…”
“What?” It was the same tone Connor used when he broke something and was afraid he’d get told off. That worried Becker.
Connor pointed to the screen, where his obsessive little fangirls had managed to find a new picture for their website.
Becker remembered the incident: they had been on their way back from the pub and Connor had dived into action mode when he saw a woman being mugged in a dark side street. He’d had a bit to drink- not enough to inhibit his skills, just his judgement afterwards- as had Becker.
The photo showed masked-Connor groping Becker’s arse as Becker backed him into a doorway, still in costume, kissing as though there were no tomorrow.
The reactions in the comments were mixed, from endless squeeing and copious amounts of exclamation marks to the shock that not only was their hero a) taken but also b) gay. It seemed that the squeeing had won out in the end, though, and now they seemed to have a new mission.
To find out who their hero’s boyfriend was.
“How did they get that picture?” Becker wondered. “They must be following you or having people tip them off when you do something in that ridiculous costume.”
Connor grinned. “Oh wow, I’ve got stalkers.”
“Connor, that’s not a good thing.”
“I guess not. They seem to like you, though.”
Despite his earlier protests about invasion of privacy, Becker smiled at that. “Do they?”
“Yep. Look here- vampgrrl243 thinks you’re hot,” Connor told him, pointing to the comments. “And so does twilightlover and sassylassy; she says she’d like to- Oh.” He paused and Becker could almost see the cogs turning in that brain of his until eventually, he blushed. “Is that even possible?”
Becker leaned over his shoulder to read the comment and burst out laughing. It was times like this when he was reminded just how naïve Connor was about some things. Connor leaned his head back to look at Becker, wanting to know what he was laughing at, and Becker kissed his forehead affectionately.
“Nothing, Conn. You might want to avoid them finding out where you live though,” he added as an afterthought.
Connor just grinned. “Lucky they don’t know who I really am then, isn’t it? Aren’t you glad now that Sarah made me my super-suit?”
Becker sighed. “But they can find out who I am,” he reminded. “And please bear in mind that the ARC project is supposed to be secret. If they start poking about or following me or you then Lester will be pissed.”
“Maybe I could talk to them,” Connor suggested. “I can ask them to leave you alone.”
Becker couldn’t resist giving him a hug; Connor really believed that he could just ask nicely and they’d back off. The papers, the TV reporters, his fanclub- they wouldn’t just stop.
“But it’s worth a try, right?” Connor persisted as Becker tried to explain it to him.
It didn’t work. Every time someone saw Connor in his costume, doing something heroic, the reporters were there within minutes. It was getting to the point where he had to hide when he saw them or make a quick escape. The only time he was free was when he was just plain Connor Temple.
Then the reporter turned up on Becker’s doorstep early one morning. He was from the Sun newspaper and had followed a hunch, which led him to Becker’s door. As soon as Becker opened it, the man barged his way inside before Becker could stop him.
“Knew it was you; I saw that picture of you and our Hero,” the man told him. “Now before you tell me to get lost, you should know that so far, I’m the only one who knows where you live. You piss me off, and I print it in tomorrow’s edition, Hilary.”
Now the guy was pushing his luck. Six o’clock in the sodding morning was bad enough, and now he had the asshole smirking at him. Becker found himself wondering for the millionth time what had possessed his mother to give him that Christian name. Didn’t she realise it would haunt him for the rest of his damn life? He was tempted to simply throw the reporter out of the door but he knew that the man could go through with his threat and that would be so much worse. Besides, Lester would be angry when he got a call from the police saying that the captain of his military contingent had been arrested for assault. Instead, to give himself time to calm down before he hit the man, he went and got himself a shirt. If he had to put up with this man, he would at least do it in more than just a pair of hastily-donned jeans.
“Becker? Who is it?”
Connor. Of course, he had to choose that moment to shout, didn’t he? He’d been hoping to get rid of the guy before Connor made his presence known. The reporter’s smile grew wider and he got a voice recorder out.
“So is that who I think it is?”
“I saw the photo; you two looked pretty cosy,” he said. “So if it’s not him, I guess that means you’re screwing around behind his back?”
Becker scowled at him. “How dare you come in here and accuse me-” He broke off, unwilling to start that argument; it would just give this prat an excuse to stay longer. “Get the fuck out of my house.”
Grabbing the man by the back of his collar and had him almost to the door when Connor stumbled down the stairs, half asleep.
When he saw the stranger, he froze.
“Well, well, if it isn’t our Hero,” the reporter smirked, wriggling free of Becker’s grasp and ducking under his arm to get back inside.
“I don’t know who you think he is-” Becker began, but the reporter stopped him.
“Don’t patronise me,” he said. He held up a printed copy of the photo of Becker and Connor from the fan site. “I can see it’s him, even without the stupid mask. Did you really think that would fool anyone?”
“Fooled you for long enough, idiot.”
Becker rolled his eyes at Connor upon hearing the muttered remark at the same time as the reporter uttered a triumphant “ah-ha!”
He clicked off the voice recorder and removed the tiny disk, secreting it away in his pocket and making a dash for the door before either man could react. They both ran out after him but he was already in his car, the engine started.
“I’ll be in touch!” he yelled from the window as he sped away down the street.
Becker looked to Connor. “Well? You can still catch him.”
Connor shook his head. “That’s the problem; I can’t. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel right. I can’t quite explain it. When I tried to run after him just now I couldn’t run, not like I could.” He looked miserably at Becker. “I think my powers are gone.”
Becker could see how distressed he was by this thought and tried to reassure him, but Connor just shook his head.
“They’re gone,” he insisted. “I can’t see through anything or move fast or even hear Mrs Patterson across the street talking to her cat.”
“That’s what you were doing the other day when you were staring out of the window?” Becker asked, amused.
He nodded, a faint smile creeping across his lips. “She tells Snowball all kinds of things that she’s seen and heard around the street,” he explained. “I think that cat knows more about your neighbours than you do.”
From the amount of time the woman spent spying out of her window, Becker thought, it was likely.
“So what now?”
Connor shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. Maybe that stuff is only temporary, or maybe I needed a bigger dose to make it permanent. If I can ever get into those files on the hard drive I can find out.” He hugged his arms around himself, realising that they were still standing outside at six in the morning.
“Cold?” Becker ushered him back inside, locking the door behind them. “Come on, back to bed.”
Burrowing back down under the covers to get warm, Connor cuddled in against his boyfriend’s body.
“Becker, what if my powers never come back? Will you still love me if I’m just normal boring Connor?”
The minute the words left his mouth he realised what he’d said. “Not that I mean that… Oh hell. I-”
“Connor, stop.” The other man fell silent, looking nervous. Becker smiled. “Of course I will.”
For a moment, Connor didn’t react. Then he realised what Becker had said.
“Yes. I love you.”
The beaming delight on Connor’s face could have lit the room. “Good, because I, um, you know.” He took a deep breath. “I love you too.”
Becker pulled him into his arms and kissed him. “So, how about I prove to you that being just a regular human will be just as good?”
“I like the sound of that.”
After ignoring the reporter’s calls for the next two days, Becker saw the story in the Sun on the third morning. ‘The man behind the mask’, the headline read, following with a picture of Connor. He tried to hide the paper but Connor found it.
There was only one way he could think of to get rid of the reporter and the story, and that was to prove him wrong. Lester reluctantly agreed to help, calling a few of his contacts in the media. He hadn’t looked especially happy about it but with the secrecy of the ARC at stake, he agreed it was the quickest way to stop the press nosing about in their affairs.
The only way that Connor could convince them that he wasn’t the man in the superhero costume was to show them that he had no powers. Easy now, he thought, as he really didn’t. It took some doing but eventually, Lester’s carefully selected journalists went away from the interview convinced. The thought that they had a chance to drag the Sun’s name through the mud for accusing an innocent man helped a little too, Connor saw.
As Connor’s life got quieter again, he put all of his efforts into the hard drives they had brought back from the lab where this had all started. He had finally managed to get into them and convert the files into something readable.
“Becker, guess what?” he said excitedly as the solder wandered into his office to say hello. “I think we can recreate the formula! It’s all on here, look; all the research, everything. We could make more; I could get my powers back.”
Becker shook his head. “No.”
“I mean it,” Becker told him firmly. “If you want to tell them about the research, then fine, but not just so you can go back to being the hero.”
“You didn’t like it?”
“Are you forgetting the chaos it caused, the loss of privacy?” he asked. “Besides, I’m rather fond of you like this. Normal.”
Connor smiled. “Okay, if it’ll make you happy then no more superpowers. It was cool but, if I have to make a choice, I pick you.”
Making sure that Lester wasn’t lurking around, ready to tell them off for fraternising on work’s time, he backed Connor to the desk and leaned in for a kiss. Accidental or not, Connor’s alteration had been just the kick start they had both needed. They were happy, and Becker didn’t want anything to disrupt that.
“Maybe I could keep the costume, though…”
Becker laughed. “Deal.”