Title: The Worm That Turned
Pairing/characters: Jess/Becker (Matt, Abby and Connor very briefly)
Disclaimer: Not mine. ITV and Impossible Pictures own them.
Word count: Approx 1394
Summary: He was going to moan.
AN: Written for clea2011 for completing a drabble for every challenge in 2013 on primeval100. Clea gave the prompt: Why did you do that?
AN2: Fills the hc_bingo ‘cuddling’ square on my hurt/comfort bingo card.
AN3: Also fills the ‘Getting Physical: touching, hugging and cuddling’ square on my Primeval bingo card
And this fic also makes a second hc_bingo bingo, and also two more achievements: Serial Pleasures (all fills are TV series), and All The Worlds (all fills are in a different fandom).
He was going to moan. He was going to complain all the way home, and all evening, and Jess could see her plans for a nice night in together rapidly disappearing into the ether. Although speaking of the ether, if he was going to be in one of those moods, a night spent online was beginning to look like quite an appealing prospect, actually.
Jess heard Becker before she saw him, and yes, he was complaining. Loudly.
“What the hell were those civilians doing there? The entire area should have been cleared before we even arrived. It was a bloody debacle from start to finish! And don’t even get me started about the lack of intel.”
Jess stiffened in her seat at the Hub, and deliberately didn’t look round to where she knew Becker and the rest of the team had just come in. Yes, it had turned into a mess, but if he thought for one second that he was going to blame her for not providing the information they needed... Well, Jess wasn’t entirely sure what she would do, but it would not be pretty.
“Look, Becker, why don’t you just go and take a shower and calm down?” Matt said, in his least patronising and most ‘I’m trying to be calm and sensible, here’ voice.
Becker muttered something that sounded highly uncomplimentary, but a moment later Jess heard the sound of his voice, still complaining, growing fainter as it retreated down the corridor towards the changing rooms.
Jess took a breath and resolutely didn’t look.
“Ignore him, Jess,” Abby said, suddenly appearing at her elbow and leaning on the console. “He’s just in a bad mood because he got covered in prehistoric worm goo.”
“Yeah, it was kind of funny, actually,” Connor interrupted before Jess could reply. “Do you want to see the pictures?” He waved his phone at Jess with a grin until Abby smacked his arm and scowled at him. “Maybe another time, eh?” Connor said, slightly more subdued.
Abby rolled her eyes at Jess, gave her a reassuring smile, and shoved Connor to leave her alone.
Matt didn’t stop by Jess’ station until the other two had gone.
“She’s right, Jess. You did a damn god job today, and don’t let him say anything otherwise. He’s just in a bad mood.”
“So I noticed,” Jess said. His words meant a lot to her, but really, Matt wasn’t the one she wanted to hear telling her that.
“I’m sure he’ll calm down,” Matt tried, obviously aiming for optimistic.
“You don’t know how long he can sulk for when he puts his mind to it,” Jess commented, throwing Matt a long-suffering glance.
“Good luck,” he said, patting Jess’ shoulder, and then beating a hasty retreat.
Jess had a feeling she was going to need it.
Becker complained all the way home. Jess occasionally attempted to get a word in, but after a while simply tuned him out and stared out of the car window.
It didn’t help that no matter how much he had showered and changed at the ARC, there was lingering sickly rotten smell of what could only be Precambrian worm goo, and quite possibly exploded worm innards. It would have been funny if it didn’t smell quite so nasty in a confined space. Or if he would stop moaning about it for even just a minute.
Thankfully there had been no more comments about lack of intel, and Jess couldn’t help wondering if Matt had said something to Becker. Really, though, right then Jess was losing the will to care.
By the time they were walking into Jess’ flat the diatribe had moved onto interfering civilians.
“We need more authority to clear the area in future. I’m going to be making several recommendations to Lester about legally enforceable powers to take command in anomaly situations.”
Jess abruptly stopped and turned round, forcing Becker to stop walking and talking in an effort to not walk straight into her.
“Have you quite finished?”
Becker looked momentarily stunned.
“You’re not the only one who has had a shit day, you know. But I guess you’re not even remotely interested in that, are you? You’re more bothered about civilians, and people not doing what you tell them to, and the fact that you have prehistoric worm goo in your precious hair.”
Becker’s expression rapidly morphed from stunned to flabbergasted. He opened his mouth, but Jess got in first.
“No, I’m sick of hearing it, Becker. Why don’t you do both of us a favour and go and take a shower. Another one. And please do feel free to use as much shower gel as you need to get rid of that smell.”
With that, Jess turned around and walked into the living room and fired up her laptop.
It was only when she had heard him go upstairs and the sound of the shower running that Jess sat back and took a deep breath. She hated fighting with Becker, but really, the man could be infuriating sometimes.
Needing to distract herself, she went into the kitchen, where a quick investigation of the fridge confirmed what she already suspected – that they had no food that could be prepared quickly. Takeaway then. Jess called the Chinese and ordered their usual, and then went back to her laptop and tried to avoid looking at any news reports of the anomaly situation in the sports centre that had so vexed her boyfriend. The truth was, it had been a public relations nightmare from start to finish with noxious atmosphere and obviously alien creatures in such a public place, and Jess had spent as much time fire fighting with the news blackout and emergency services as she had trying to keep track of creatures and people. The fact that only three people had ended up being taken to hospital with minor injuries was quite frankly a miracle.
She heard the shower finally stop at the same time as the takeaway arrived. Jess wasn’t entirely sure if that meant he had finally got rid of the smell, or if he was just hungry. She was sorting out the cartons on the worktop in the kitchen when she heard him come downstairs, and mentally braced herself for another tirade.
Instead, two arms slipped around her waist, and Jess found herself engulfed in a hug as Becker leaned down and nuzzled her hair.
“Not that I’m complaining, but why did you do that?”
“I’m sorry,” Becker mumbled, sounding like nothing more than a contrite schoolboy.
Jess sighed, and all the residual annoyance drained away. She twisted round in his arms and looked up at him (and they were going to have to move soon, because he was too tall for her to look up at him like this for too long).
“Really sorry, or just hungry?”
Becker chuckled. “Really sorry. Honestly. I know I’m a bit grumpy when things don’t go right, but I suppose I shouldn’t take it out on you like that.”
“No, you shouldn’t. And you’re more than ‘a bit’ grumpy.”
“That’s not fair. I’m apologising.”
Jess grinned, and reached up on tiptoes to kiss him.
“Yes, you’re forgiven. Now get the plates and bring the food into the living room.”
Jess had learned over time that a contrite Becker was usually surprisingly willing to do as he was told, which always had its advantages.
Almost as soon as they had settled down on the sofa in front of the TV, however, Becker tugged Jess into his arms and she found herself being thoroughly hugged. Jess relaxed properly at last, and snuggled into his arms. Arms that were still slightly damp, and now giving off a rather more appealing citrus smell.
“I am sorry. You should have stopped me sooner instead of letting me go on like that.”
“Well, I’m sure you can think of some creative ways to make it up to me later.”
Becker smirked and kissed her again. “I’m sure I can.”
“This is really nice, but I’d quite like food.”
Becker just hugged her even closer.
Jess eyed the cartons of sweet and sour and egg fried rice, and then decided, what the hell. She snuggled against his chest and curled up in his arms and finally let go of the rest of the day.