Title: Knight in Shining Armour
Pairing/characters: Connor, Becker (pre-slash if you squint)
Warnings: Mild violence
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: Approx 1572
Summary: Connor was not being oblivious. Really.
AN: Shamefully late fic for clea2011, for coming first in the primeval100 300th challenge. Clea gave the prompt “Some might say it’s a weakness.”
AN2: Also fills the trope bingo square ‘Character in distress’.
Connor was in geek heaven. Becker would no doubt have used the word ‘oblivious’, but Connor was fairly sure he wasn’t oblivious. He was just very, very focussed on the brand new, hot off the press special edition X-Men comic that he had managed to get his hands on by the rather clever ruse of offering to go and pick up lunch for everyone at the anomaly site, and purely coincidentally happening to go to the bakery that was three doors down from the comic shop.
True, juggling several sandwiches and pastries and drinks was not really conducive to reading while he walked back to the (conveniently quiet and locked) anomaly, but Connor was giving it his best shot nevertheless. And, okay, he might have tripped over minor bumps in the pavement a few times, but he was not being oblivious.
He was, however, slightly startled when someone stepped straight out in front of him and stopped. Connor might possibly have been distracted by a particularly impressive fight sequence and failed to notice until the last possible second, and all but walked into someone’s chest. The sandwiches went everywhere, and the comic crumpled and Connor backpedalled, babbling an apology.
“Watch where you’re going, geek.”
He looked up and found himself facing a teenager with spots, a dirty hoody, and a sneer that reminded Connor of every bully he had ever run into at school. He heard movement behind, and realised he was surrounded by at least four of them.
Connor couldn’t help but think that he was too old for this to happen to him. He was part of a super secret government operation that fought dinosaurs and saved the world on a regular basis, so why the hell did he apparently still have a neon sign over his head that said ‘bullies come here for easy pickings’?
He straightened the comic and shoved it into his jacket pocket, and then crouched to gather up the dropped sandwiches. He almost had them all in his arms when something that felt very like a boot impacted the small of his back and he tumbled forwards onto his hands and knees, the food scattering everywhere yet again.
“Oi! Watch it!”
“Don’t fall, it gets you down,” one of them mocked.
Connor felt a sudden swell of anger. This was bloody stupid. He wasn’t a little kid any more. He didn’t have to take this. He stood up, ignoring the sandwiches, and faced the guy in front of him.
“All right, you’ve had your laugh. Now how about you move along, eh?”
The teenager put on a mock hurt expression.
“Now that’s not very nice, is it?” he stepped forwards right into Connor’s face, and Connor heard the sound of plastic packaging crumpling under his trainer.
There goes Becker’s sandwich, Connor thought absently. The teenager was taller than him, and this close Connor had to look up.
Connor knew he was useless at this type of situation. Give him a dinosaur trying to rip his guts out any day, and he was fine. But faced with a malevolent, antagonistic human, he clammed up, started to panic and babble, and could never think of a witty or sarcastic put-down until about an hour later when it no longer mattered. He had no idea what to do, and what was far worse was that these boys knew it.
He was still trying to think of a retort when one of the boys behind him reached forward and snatched the comic from his pocket.
“Hey! Give it back!” Connor whirled round, the mocking laughter almost drowned out by the sudden rage pounding through him. He lunged at the boy, who dodged back out of reach. One of his friends stuck a foot out and Connor tripped and barely managed to stay on his feet, staggering off balance.
“Is there a problem here?”
For a second Connor didn’t know whether to cheer or to curl up and die from humiliation. Becker. The last person who he wanted to witness this, as if the man didn’t already think he was pathetic enough. Connor looked round and saw Becker casually leaning against the wall, his arms folded, and with a deceptively nonchalant expression. Deceptive, because Connor recognised the look in his eyes, and knew that Becker was assessing the situation with a soldier’s tactical brain, and had probably already worked out several possible ways it might play out.
“None of your business,” the tall teenager in the hoody sneered.
“Actually I think it is my business when I see four against one, and the one happens to be a friend of mine.”
“So what are you going to do about it?” hoody boy taunted.
“You know, I was really hoping you might say something like that.”
He surged forwards and before the teenager had any idea what was going on, Becker had him immobilised, one arm twisted up behind his back, and his face shoved against the brickwork of the wall Becker had been leaning against seconds earlier.
“Oi! Lemmie go!”
“Let me think about that.” Becker paused for a suitably dramatic moment. “No.”
The teenage glared at his friends. “Don’t just stand there. Get him!”
Connor heard movement behind him. Two of them, probably the two with the least communal brain cells, rushed past him and attempted to attack Becker. The other moved more slowly, and that gave Connor the opportunity to time it perfectly when he stuck his foot out, and simultaneously rammed his elbow into the boy’s stomach as he tripped and stumbled forwards.
The boy staggered and dropped to his knees. Connor reached down and plucked his comic from the boy’s hand.
“I think you’ll find that’s mine.”
The boy looked up and lunged at Connor, fists flailing. Connor stepped backwards, and swung a punch that smacked the boy on the jaw and made him howl.
Connor bit back the yelp at the pain in his knuckles, and hoped the punch had hurt the kid’s face more than it had hurt his hand. He saw the boy getting up, and decided not to stay within striking distance and backed off a little further.
The lead teenager with the hoody suddenly flew past him and sprawled onto the pavement. Connor looked round to see Becker manhandling the other two, both of them in arm-locks, and shoving them after their friend.
“Now piss off, before I actually break a sweat on you.”
Hoody boy swore violently at them both, but only once he was well out of reach and already running away. His mates, unsurprisingly, followed him.
“Well, that was unexpectedly satisfying,” Becker said cheerfully, brushing his hands off. “You okay?”
“Yeah, fine. Thanks, by the way.”
Now the moment of triumph had passed, Connor felt the familiar sense of humiliation. And while he wasn’t too proud to admit he was glad Becker had turned up, there was a part of him that wished none of his friends had witnessed that. Especially not Becker.
Something must have shown in his expression, because Becker’s grin faded a little. He glanced down at the scattered remains of their lunch, and the fact that several of the sandwiches had been squashed underfoot in the fight, and sighed.
“I hate bullies,” Becker muttered. He gave Connor a significant look. “Especially when they only dare start something when there’s four of them against one.”
“Except when the one is you, obviously.”
“Do you have any idea how much it costs to train a Special Forces soldier? I should bloody well hope I could deal with three greasy teenagers single-handed. Although you seemed to do okay with the other one. Nice right hook, by the way.”
Connor rubbed his knuckles and winced. “Is there a way of doing that that doesn’t hurt?”
Becker laughed. “Ask me that again back at the ARC and I’ll teach you how to punch someone properly.”
“Now there’s a line you don’t hear every day,” Connor said, unable to stop himself smiling.
Becker helped him gather up what was left of lunch, and they started walking back to the anomaly.
“How did you know to turn up, anyway?” Connor asked. “I thought you were guarding the anomaly?”
“I was, but I got sick of listening to Danny grumbling about how long it was taking you to come back with lunch, so I came looking.”
“Probably a good thing you did,” Connor admitted.
Becker nudged his shoulder, and grinned.
“Some might say it’s a weakness, but I never could resist a damsel in distress.”
Connor looked at him with a raised eyebrow and a half-smile.
“I’m fairly certain I can see at least one thing that’s wrong with that statement.”
“Well, you were in distress.”
“I’m not sure I’d say ‘distress’. Slightly worried, maybe, but not distress.”
Becker smirked. “Fine, but ‘slightly worried geek’ really doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
Connor pondered this for a moment, and glanced at Becker with a smile.
“So, does this make you the handsome prince?”
Becker looked smug, and ran a hand over his hair.
“Was that you admitting that you think I’m handsome, then?” he said.
“Actually, I was more thinking of the prince part. You always did come across as a bit posh.”
Connor grinned as he walked back to the anomaly. It wasn’t often that he rendered Becker speechless, and got the last word.