Word count: 3,363
Pairing/s: Abby/Connor, Connor/Becker
Summary: Becker just wanted Connor to be happy. He just wished that Connor wanted to be happy with him.
Spoilers: Small spoiler for the end of 5.06
Don’t marry her (have me)
“Me and Connor have an announcement,” Abby said as the team gathered around the anomaly desk that morning. Beside her, Connor leaned in and whispered something but she just smiled reassuringly.
“Well?” Jess asked. “What is it?”
Jess let out a squeal. “That’s brilliant!” she gushed, rushing forward to hug them both. Emily offered more sedate congratulations, as did Matt.
“Congratulations,” Becker muttered, not meeting their eyes as he excused himself.
Matt watched Becker leave, realising that the conversation had stopped around him. Abby was staring after him with a hurt look on her face at his lack of enthusiasm.
“What’s wrong with him?” Jess asked. “That was rather rude.”
Matt had an idea of what was bothering him and so when Jess announced that she was going to find him, he stopped her, volunteering to go himself.
Becker went back to his office and closed the door and leaning back against it. Why did she have to say that? Why in front of everyone? He knew they were together but a bit of warning would have been nice. Instead he’d found out in front of the whole team and he hadn’t been prepared.
The moment he saw them in the street after their arrival back into this time he knew something had changed. Connor stuck close to Abby, their body language showing their newfound closeness, and when he reached them it was Abby who came to him first. When he hugged them both it was he who felt like the outsider.
Before they left, it would have been Connor running to him first. Just as it would have been him that Connor was going home with but instead he had to watch them both being driven to the ARC-owned flat where they could stay until they could find somewhere else. Together.
Connor came to see him that night, knocking on the door where once he would have walked straight in.
“I don’t really know how to explain it,” he said, sitting on the sofa and taking the cup of tea that Becker offered. “Something happened, back there. It’s like, when we had to rely on each other every day, we just… clicked. I’m sorry, really I am.”
Becker forced a smile onto his face, reminding himself that Connor was back and that was all that mattered.
“I’m glad you had each other,” he said. “Just as long as you’re happy.”
Becker wished he could take back those words so many times but he just couldn’t do it. He had meant what he said; he wanted Connor to be happy. He deserved it after what he’d been through, and if Abby made him happy then Becker wouldn’t get in the way. He just wished that Connor wanted to be happy with him instead.
It didn’t make things any easier having to watch them day in and day out. It was something he wished that he and Connor could have had but they didn’t. No one knew about his and Connor’s relationship; they had been planning to tell everyone that night when they went to the pub for their weekly get-together. Then Connor, Abby and Danny had gone missing and everything had changed.
He thought that when they returned- and he always knew they would return- that everything would be okay. He and Connor could give it a real try this time; they could stop sneaking about and tell their friends. They had always said it was just a bit of fun but it hadn’t been that for a long time and they both knew it. Or at least Becker thought they did. One of his biggest regrets when the team went missing was that he’d never told Connor how he felt, never said the words.
Now even though Connor was back everything was still fucked up. Sometimes, he told himself, life just stinks.
Matt found Becker sitting in his office, his elbows on the desk and his head in his hands. When he went in, Becker didn’t look up.
“If it’s not urgent, please bugger off.”
Matt wandered in and went to sit down in the empty chair next to Becker. “No.”
Becker looked up and sighed. “I don’t want to talk about this.”
“Well it looks like you need to,” Matt told him. “Whether you want to or not.”
From the determined look on Matt’s face Becker knew that he wasn’t going to be left alone. He had never intended to tell Matt about Connor in the first place but they’d had a crap day and too much to drink and it had all just come pouring out.
“So, what? You’re just going to hide in here and avoid him for the rest of your life?” he asked.
Becker glared at him. “I’m not hiding.”
“Looks like it to me.”
Becker sighed and leaned back in his seat. “I don’t know what to do,” he admitted. “I’m pleased for them, really I am, but…”
Both men turned to see Connor standing in the doorway. They hadn’t heard him come in but there he was, arms folded across his chest and looking royally pissed.
“But what, Becker?” he asked again.
“Don’t do this, Connor,” Becker almost begged.
“Don’t do what? Ask why someone I thought was my friend is behaving like a total dick?” His voice rose a little in anger. “I thought you’d be happy for me.”
Matt stood up to leave but Becker shook his head. With a sigh, Matt sat down again. Oh, this was going to be fun, being stuck in the middle when Becker finally decided to grow a pair and tell the truth.
“Well you’ve got a funny way of showing it!”
Becker let out a bitter laugh, standing, and Matt cringed as he waited for the fireworks.
“What do you want me to do, Connor? Give you both a big hug and a fake smile and tell you that I’m glad you’re engaged? Well I’m not, okay?”
“Then why did you say you were fine with me and Abbs?” Connor demanded. “That night I came to see you, you said you were.”
“I didn’t want to pressure you after everything you’d been through,” Becker told him. “I thought I was okay with it but I don’t think I can stand by and watch you walk down the aisle with her when I-” he paused, taking a deep breath before continuing. “When I still love you.”
Connor stared at him in silence for a long time before he turned on his heel and stormed out, ignoring Becker’s plea for him to wait.
“Well, I fucked that one up, didn’t I?” Becker said miserably. “If anyone needs me I’ll be down in the armoury doing target practice. I feel the need to shoot something.”
Matt sat for a minute in the empty office, wondering whether or not to go after Becker. The other man had looked devastated when Connor left but maybe now wasn’t the time to talk to him. Becker would be armed by now, he reasoned. Perhaps he should leave it until tomorrow.
Connor knew that Abby was getting annoyed with him. She had asked him endless times what was wrong, eventually stopping asking and hovering about instead, but he just didn’t want to talk. He preferred to mull things over before he discussed them and usually she let him, but she was getting impatient. Connor just couldn’t stop his mind whirring over that conversation in Becker’s office, couldn’t help but wonder why on earth Becker had left it this bloody long before he’d said anything. Becker had even been supportive of his and Abby’s relationship, said he was glad that Connor was happy.
Now he didn’t know what to do. If Becker had said he loved him while they were still together, he would have been over the moon but now he was with Abby. He cared about her, and the last thing he wanted to do was to hurt her, but then there was Becker…
The same mental argument had been going on for three days now and he was no closer to working out the answer.
Hearing the door open, he turned to see Abby come into his office.
“Okay, out with it.”
Connor looked up from his computer screen. “With what?” he asked, stalling for a moment. He still had no idea what to say.
“Please don’t play dumb; you know damn well what I mean. You’ve been acting weird for days and I know there’s something you’re not telling me,” she informed him. “I don’t like being kept in the dark, Connor. Now tell me what is going on.”
Connor remained silent, biting nervously on his lower lip, and the annoyed look on her face softened slightly. She pulled another chair next to his and sat down.
“Connor, whatever it is, you can tell me. You know that, right?”
He nodded. “Okay. Last year, before we followed Helen through the anomalies, before we got stuck there, I was seeing someone. Becker.”
“Becker? You mean, our Becker?” She asked in disbelief. “How long was this going on for?”
“About eight and a half months,” he told her. “When I got back, you and I were already together- I never cheated on you, I swear! Since then we’ve been friends, nothing else. The other day, he told me that he still loves me,” Connor admitted quietly. “He said ‘still’. He never said it to begin with! He always acted like it was no big deal, like we were just messing around.”
“And were you?” Abby asked.
Connor shook his head, avoiding meeting her eyes, admitting, “No.”
Becker was in his office when Matt found him, staring into space, his fingers fiddling with the white envelope on the desk in front of him. He had barely seen Becker all week, the former soldier hiding in his office most of the time. He emerged only for anomaly call-outs but then the atmosphere between him, Connor and Abby was strained.
Matt had spoken to Abby, or rather she had cornered him and asked him if he’d known about Connor and Becker. It seemed to him that she was more upset about being the last to know than anything else, but that didn’t make it any less tense when the team were all together.
Becker glanced up at him. “My notice.”
Snatching the envelope from him, Matt shook his head. “You’re not quitting.”
“Matt, give it back. I have to do something,” Becker told him. “We can’t carry on like this; the team needs to be just that, a team. My presence here is causing problems; Connor won’t talk to me, and Abby… It’s just weird between us. It’s making things uncomfortable.”
It took him a while, but eventually Matt managed to convince Becker to ask Lester for some personal time but to hold off on handing in his resignation. As Becker went off to speak to Lester, Matt went to find Connor.
He found him in the break room with Abby, drinking their mugs of tea while trying to make small talk with anyone who would be able to act as a buffer between them.
“Connor, can I have a word?”
Abby looked up at him. “Is this about him?” she asked, ignoring the questioning look the two computer techs at their table gave her. As soon as he nodded, she got up and followed Connor out and into the empty room across the corridor.
“He doesn’t know I’m telling you this and he’ll be pretty pissed when he finds out,” Matt began, “But I reckon you ought to know. Becker is planning to hand his notice in.”
“He can’t do that!” Connor looked horrified at the thought. “We’ll go talk to Lester, get him to refuse Becker’s resignation or something.”
Matt stopped him from running out to Lester’s office right there and then with a hand on his arm.
“I’ve convinced him to just take some time off for the moment,” he said. “I just thought you deserved to know.”
That night, Connor couldn’t sleep. Going out to sit in the living room, he turned on the TV with the volume low but he wasn’t really watching what was on. His mind kept going back over Matt’s words; Becker couldn’t leave. He just couldn’t. The thought of not seeing Becker every day was one he didn’t want to deal with.
It had been bad enough in the past, but he had known that they would eventually get back, that he’d see Becker again. He hadn’t let himself think about the other man too much, and then that had become almost a survival instinct. You didn’t think about the things you missed because it would only cause you upset. Maybe he had still been doing that when he got back, still holding onto the one thing that had been constant over the past year- Abby.
He just wished he had someone to talk to about this, someone who could tell him what to do, but that person had always been either Abby or Becker. At present, it didn’t feel right talking to either of them.
No matter what he did, he was going to hurt one of them.
Becker’s absence was noted by a number of the staff at the ARC, most assuming that there had been a death in the family, and no one corrected them. A couple of days after Becker left, Connor once again found himself being cornered in the lab by Abby.
“I can’t do this any more,” she said, not even bothering with hello. “I want things back the way they were but it can’t be, is it?”
“Nothing’s changed,” Connor told her.
Abby smiled sadly. “Yes, it has. You still want him, don’t you?”
“Connor, stop. Look me in the eye and tell me that you don’t love him.”
But he couldn’t. He just couldn’t meet her eyes and say the words.
“I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you.” He tried to give her a hug but she backed away from him, hands held up in front of her to keep him at a distance.
“I think it’s safe to say the engagement is off,” she said. Though she tried to keep her tone light, joking, he could see the shine of tears in her eyes as he turned and left, not wanting to upset her any more.
He went straight to Lester’s office, waiting until his boss had finished on the phone before going in.
“Lester? I know this is a bit out of the blue, and you can say no if you want to,” he began, “but I was wondering if you still had that spare room. I promise you won’t even know I’m there.”
Lester eyed him thoughtfully for a moment before he nodded. “You can have your old room back. Please note that I will be leaving at six fifteen sharp. Do not be late or I will leave you here.”
Obviously Lester knew more about the situation than Connor had expected as he let him go and collect his things later that afternoon while Abby and Jess were still at work, even letting him borrow an ARC vehicle to get there.
Becker returned to work two weeks later, keeping out of everyone’s way as much as he could. He rarely went into the break room, preferring to eat his lunch in his office or Matt’s, and Connor missed him.
“You could go and talk to him,” a voice suggested, startling Connor out of his thoughts as he stared at his computer screen. He was supposed to be working but so far he’d managed three sentences before his mind wandered again.
Connor turned to see Abby standing behind him. “I’m not-”
“It’s okay,” she told him, cutting off his protests. “I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it doesn’t hurt that it’s him you want, because it does. I didn’t like finding out like that, and I felt like a fool being the last to know. Please don’t say you’re sorry again,” she said when he opened his mouth to do just that. “I think I’ve finally worked it out; you and I were never meant to be together. We kidded ourselves for a while, when it was just you and me, but that was circumstances more than anything else, wasn’t it?”
He nodded. “I did care about you Abby, and I still do.”
“But not the way you care about him,” she finished. “You know what I miss more than anything? My best friend. I want my best friend back, Connor.”
Connor pulled her into a tight embrace. “Me too.”
Abby suddenly pulled out of his arms, her eyes wide as she looked over his shoulder. He turned to see Becker outside, a pile of reports in his hands, watching through the window, brown eyes full of sorrow. When he realised he had been seen he bolted.
“Connor, go,” Abby told him softly. “If you want him, you have to go and clear this up. Now.”
Feeling guilty about running out on Abby and their tenuously restored friendship he hesitated but she gave him a push toward the door. Impulsively, he hugged her again.
“Thank you,” he said before hurrying out.
Becker had made it half way across the detector room when he had been stopped by one of his men, trying to get his signature on a requisition order. It was unprofessional, he knew, but he just barged past without bothering to apologise. He could see Connor following him and wanted to be well away before other man caught up. When he’d seen them in the office his heart sank. They were back together.
Shit! Connor’s shout had drawn the attention of a couple of the techs working nearby. He really didn’t want them standing around, listening in and gossiping as soon as he left.
“Please, will you just stop?”
Connor really was determined to make a scene, wasn’t he? Becker stopped walking, if only to stop the other man from shouting their business across the whole damn ARC. He waited until Connor caught up to him.
“Becker, just hear me out, would you? Me and Abby-”
“Are back together, yes, I saw.”
Connor shook his head. “No, you didn’t because we’re not. Me and Abby,” he began again with a glare to stop Becker from interrupting, “have worked a few things out. She’s my best friend, and that’s what we’re meant to be.”
The tiny flicker of hope that had been cruelly squashed when he saw them in the office reappeared. Friends?
“So?” He had intended for it to sound casual but he couldn’t control the hitch in his voice.
Connor looked up, meeting Becker’s eyes. “It’s you that I want, if you’ll still have me.”
Becker had to let the words sink in for a moment, to make sure he’d heard that correctly. His eyes searched Connor’s face, looking for confirmation, and saw it there. He’d seen that look before, back when they shared a life, and it was one he never expected to see again. How many times had he wished for exactly this? Now that he was here, he was hesitant. The others knew nothing of their past and so he would always be seen as the one who broke Abby and Connor up, the one who came between them even though he had been there first.
“Becker? Say something.”
“I don’t think we can just pick up where we left off,” he said. “Too much has happened since then.”
“So let’s start again,” Connor suggested. “We could have dinner?”
It was the almost-pleading tone in Connor’s voice that did it. Becker took the plunge.
“I’d like that.”
Connor leapt on him, throwing his arms around Becker and causing him to stagger backwards. They were in the middle of the ARC with a growing audience but when Connor kissed him he found that he just didn’t care.
The title belongs to The Beautiful South: Don't marry her.