Title: New Year's Resolutions
For: joshinator, written via primeval_denial's Secret Santa
Characters: Jess, Becker, Abby, Connor, Matt, Emily, a few OCs
Pairings: Jess/Becker, Abby/Connor, Emily/Matt
Summary: Jess' New Year's Resolutions are all centered around a certain soldier. Unfortunately he has been avoiding her for a while.
Prompts: I tried to include both of these: Hauntings, All your heart could desire
Word count:: ~ 4852
Disclaimer: I don’t own Primeval. I wish I did. I don’t make any money with this! I just write for fun and hope someone else will enjoy it, too.
Warnings: I’m German and my English isn’t and probably never will be perfect. I hope I don’t make too many mistakes. Feel free to point out errors so I can learn and improve.
Author notes: Merry Christmas, joshinator. I hope you like the ficlet.
Thank you to my beta landiana24 for betaing this! :-)
(on AO3) * (on fanfiction.net)
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Jess sighed and tore her eyes away from Becker. He was doing it again. He was ignoring her, and that even though she had spent hours getting ready for the New Years Eve party the Arc’s new private investor had organized. For some reason Jess had convinced herself over the past days, that if she dressed up and made herself pretty enough for the party Becker would finally come around and want to be with her. How stupid was that? She should have known better. But no, like the lovesick and pathetic girl she was she had bought a new dress, which in her opinion was both elegant and sexy, had gotten a manicure, her hair trimmed and re-coloured, bought a new necklace with matching earrings that fit her dress, and had read at least half a dozen magazines with tips on ‘how to get the guy’. Her new outfit obviously hadn’t done the trick and how was she supposed to use any of the advice she read about if Becker rushed off as soon as she came within a metre of him? Since the incident with the bugs that came through the anomaly Becker had started to get more and more distant, until she had the distinct feeling that he was avoiding her like the plague. First she thought or better hoped that he did it because he actually had feelings for her, too. She had convinced herself that he was either a little shy when it came to relationships or felt like there shouldn’t be more than friendship between them because they worked together. It had seemed like he cared a lot about her when she nearly died after the insect bite, but she must have imagined that or read too much into his behaviour. He probably just didn’t want to lose another co-worker, or even just another person. He took it pretty hard every time he couldn’t save someone. She should have known that that was all there was to it, but the way he took care of her and looked at her when she got better… She sighed. She was doing it again, seeing things that weren’t there. Over the past months it had become obvious that Becker wasn’t interested in her. In fact, he didn’t even seem to see her as a friend anymore. They barely talked at all, unless it was work related, and he didn’t bring her any chocolate anymore either. Maybe he had noticed that she saw more in him than a friend and wanted to stay away from her because he didn’t like her in that way, or he thought that she was pathetic because a tiny bug could take her down. She didn’t know, and she knew she shouldn’t care, especially because Becker wasn’t just ignoring her today, he was also talking to the night shift fields coordinator, who in Jess opinion really dressed way too slutty for a party organized by her employer! She was also shamelessly flirting with Becker. Jess narrowed her eyes. Was she the reason Becker had become so distant? Were they maybe even dating? Since they worked opposite shifts Jess barely saw the other woman at work and couldn’t be sure what her relationship with Becker was like.
Jess was pulled out of her thoughts when a drink was placed in front of her. She turned slightly and saw that Abby and Connor had joined her at her table.
“Thought you could use a drink,” Abby said.
Jess looked at her and Abby nodded towards Becker. Jess sighed; apparently she was being rather obvious again.
“Thanks,” she said. Maybe she should drown her sorrows, but what way of starting a new year would that be? She had had so many good resolutions for the New Year. Getting wasted didn’t fit in with them. But how good were her resolutions anyway? Most of them resolved around Becker and a happily ever after they obviously wouldn’t have.
Pushing that thought away Jess downed the drink and grimaced. “I think I might need another one of those, or maybe better an entire bottle,” she amended when she saw the night shift coordinator lean in close to Becker. What was her name anyway? Maria, Mary? Yes, Mary something. Becker would probably know. She narrowed her eyes and tried not to wonder what Mary was whispering in Becker’s ear. Instead she focused on Abby, who looked at her sympathetically.
“Pretty thirsty, are you?” Connor asked, causing Abby to nudge him in the side with her elbow.
“How about you just get us another round of drinks, Connor?” she suggested.
“Why me?” Connor asked.
“Because gentlemen get drinks for ladies,” Abby pointed out. “And because it is time for some girl talk.”
“Ah,” Connor said and stood up, then kissed Abby on the cheek before leaving. “I’ll take the scenic route to give you girls some time.”
Jess smiled slightly, despite her own sorrows. Connor and Abby were so cute together. Why couldn’t she have fallen for someone like him, someone who would do anything for her?
“I think this has gone far enough,” Abby said. “You need to change tactics. Continuing to pine for Becker will get you nowhere. You need to take action and find out where you stand.”
“I’m standing nowhere. He’s obviously not interested in me,” Jess whined.
“If that’s what you think you need to cut your losses and move on. Maybe go out with someone else.”
“Go out with someone else?” Jess asked. The idea seemed absurd, and she never even would have thought of it herself, which only proved how pathetic she was, didn’t it? “You’re right, I should!” Becker wasn’t the only man after all, and if he could flirt with someone else, so could she.
Abby smirked slightly. “Of course I am right. Why don’t you start right now?”
“Now?” Jess asked gasping slightly. “We’re already at a party, how am I supposed to go out with anyone now?”
Abby laughed. “You’re too cute, Jess. Just go talk to people, get to know some of the guys. There’s plenty of good looking men here.”
“But we work together,” Jess protested.
Abby snorted. “So you couldn’t date anyone you work with… besides Becker?”
Jess stared of her. Put that way it sounded absolutely ridiculous. Why would she even think that it might not be okay to date a co-worker when all she wanted to do was date one? Maybe she just didn’t think she should date anyone but Becker. She really did have a treacherous brain.
“Of course I could. But who…” Jess wondered and looked around.
Abby moved to the chair next to Jess and turned her friend slightly. “Him,” she said, gesturing at the obvious choice.
“Lester’s new assistant?” Jess asked surprised. “Why him?”
“Are you kidding me?” Abby asked. “He’s totally into you. He’s had a thing for you since the day he started, which was about two months ago. He’s hardly new, and his name is Brad.”
“Right,” Jess said, remembering that he had told her his name before. “And you really think he likes me?” She sounded disbelieving.
Abby snorted. “You are so oblivious to anything but Becker,” she said teasingly. “Brad is like a cute little puppy who would follow you anywhere. If you paid him the slightest bit of attention you would know that already.”
“Hm, maybe you’re right. He did invite me earlier to come with him and some friends to visit a supposedly haunted house later. I didn’t think anything of it…”
Abby groaned. “You didn’t think anything of it? He basically asked you out!”
“To go somewhere with him and a bunch of other people,” Jess pointed out. “Not on a date.”
“He probably just wanted to see if you were interested at all, or he wanted to get the chance to get to know you a bit first. You’re definitely going!”
“I don’t know. They want to go to a haunted house. That’s not exactly romantic or even remotely interesting. There is no such thing as ghosts.”
“Says someone who deals with anomalies in time on a daily basis,” Abby teased. “Besides, it’s probably just for fun… taking girls to a haunted house where they get scared and need a protector.”
“I don’t need a protector,” Jess said defensively.
“Of course you do. It’s the perfect excuse to snuggle close to Brad!”
Jess had to laugh at that. “You’re so devious, Abby.” In her mind she could totally picture the scene though. However it wasn’t actually Brad she saw herself with…
“Come on, let’s go talk to Brad and his friends and invite ourselves to that haunted house,” Abby stated.
“Matt,” Becker called and quickly went over to him. Thank god he had finally found one of his friends. He needed someone to help him escape Mary. The woman was obnoxious in her much too obvious attempt to chat him up, and she definitely wasn’t his type. He preferred women that were more… classy. He sighed and quickly pushed away the picture of the woman he saw in his mind when he thought of his type. Jess Parker was not his type! He had done everything he could to convince himself of that for the past months. When she almost died he had had to admit to himself that he liked her way more than he previously thought, which definitely wasn’t a good idea. They worked together, and besides that it wasn’t a good idea to get even closer to someone he might lose some day. People who worked at the ARC tended to die or get lost in time, despite his best efforts to keep them safe. Losing Jess now would be bad enough, he didn’t even want to imagine what it would be like to lose her if they actually were together. No, he couldn’t start something with her. He had to finally get that into his brain… and heart. The question though was how. He barely talked to her anymore in an effort to stay away from her and get over his stupid feelings whilst also avoiding the temptation. What more was he supposed to do?
Becker snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Matt’s voice.
“Sorry, I was lost in thought,” Becker said and refocused on Matt.
“Yeah, I kinda figured that. They weren’t about Mary, were they?” Matt asked, sounding less than thrilled.
“Why?” Becker asked.
“You’ve been hanging out with her all evening,” Matt pointed out.
“Not by choice,” Becker quickly said. “In fact, that is why I came over to you. You need to help me avoid her.”
Hearing that Matt chuckled. “Well, at least that means that you aren’t actually into her.”
“I’m glad you think this is amusing. So, you going to help me avoid her? I can’t actually leave here before midnight. It’s Lieutenant Miller’s birthday tomorrow and he expects me to stay around for that,” Becker said.
“Emily and I actually wanted to leave soon. I already had a surprise planned for her for tonight before we got the invitations to this party.”
“Oh, well… I wouldn’t want to keep you,” Becker said. He’d rather spend tonight alone with someone, too. Sighing he pushed that thought away. He did not want to be alone with Jess!
“I’m sure you’ll find someone who will save you from Mary,” Matt said with an amused smirk. “You know, spending time with another woman might help. Maybe Jess…” he broke off when Becker groaned. “What? I’m sure she’d be more than happy to help you out.”
“Yeah… well, I haven’t seen her in a while,” Becker quickly said, then realized that it was the truth. Even trying to avoid her he usually knew exactly where Jess was. It almost felt like a sixth sense, like he was aware of her in a way he was aware of nobody else. But he hadn’t seen her in over half an hour he realized.
“Me neither. Want us to help you look for her before we leave?” Matt asked.
“Look for whom?” Emily wanted to know whilst joining them.
“Jess,” Matt answered.
“Oh, she left with Abby and Connor about half and hour ago. Brad invited her to have a look at a haunted house with some friends. Abby and Connor went along,” Emily told them.
“Brad?” Becker asked, not sounding pleased. Wasn’t that Lester’s assistant who was constantly hanging around Jess whenever Lester let him out of his sight?
“He finally made a move?” Matt asked.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Becker asked.
“Matt, Abby and Connor have been wondering if Brad would ever bring up the courage to ask Jess out,” Emily answered.
“Oh come on, Emily, you wondered, too,” Matt exclaimed.
“I think it is none of our business.”
Becker’s eyes narrowed. He barely seemed to hear Emily and Matt’s words anymore. All his mind seemed to be able to focus on was the fact that Brad was making a move on Jess… his Jess! And she went with him! Was it possible that she liked Brad, too? She couldn’t! He had thought that she… Well, what the hell had he been thinking? That Jess liked him just the way he liked her? And that she would simply wait around for him forever whilst he kept pushing her away and treated her like she meant nothing to him? What kind of idiot was he? Even if Jess had felt something for him, of course she wouldn’t wait forever. She probably had plenty of opportunities to find a boyfriend. She was amazing after all. Who wouldn’t want to go out with her?
Becker took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. The thought of Jess with another man didn’t make it easy for him though. He really, really didn’t want to even imagine her kissing someone else, or worse… No, he wasn’t going to think about that!
“Where did they go?”
“What?” Emily asked.
“Jess… I mean, Abby, Connor, Jess and the others, where exactly did they go?”
Emily pulled out her mobile and after a few moments showed it to him. “She texted me the address, told me to come by if my date with Matt turned out to get too boring.”
“What?” Matt muttered with a snort.
“She was only teasing,” Emily quickly assured him with a smile and took his hand.
Becker glanced at their joint hands and wondered if Jess and Brad might be holding hands at this very second, too. His mind conjured up an image of them walking hand in hand. He hated the thought. The only one Jess was supposed to hold hand with was him. She was his, or she was supposed to be. He would have to make sure that she would be.
Taking the mobile from Emily Becker looked at the address and memorized it. If he wasn’t mistaken it wasn’t far from here.
“I have to go. Have a nice date night,” Becker said whilst handing the mobile back to Emily. “And a Happy New Year.”
“My grandmother swears that this place is really haunted,” Brad said as they walked through the old and shabby building.
Jess glanced at him and tried not to snort. Yeah, right, ghosts… Their life was bizarre enough, she really didn’t think that they would happen to come across something else that crazy. Not that she believed ghost were real anyway. But if they were they probably weren’t here. Who’d want to hang out in a shabby old building like this anyway?
“Every 10 years on New Years eve it happens,” Brad went on. “My grandma saw it herself once, from across the street.”
“What?” Jane, the cook in the ARC’s mess hall asked, looking at Brad enthralled. Jess wasn’t sure if she was interested in the ghost story or if she simply clung to every word Brad said the same way. She had a feeling Brad had an admirer of his own. If Jess really wanted to go on a date with him she probably had to make up her mind soon.
“Lights appear in the house at 11.30 at night,” Brad went on. “Then strange noises can be heard.”
“Right,” Jess muttered silently.
“It’s true, Jess,” Brad assured her. “My grandma wouldn’t lie. Besides, something is definitely going on. A lot of people have disappeared from this place over the years. I googled it. There were a lot of newspaper reports. None of the missing people were ever found again. And the last owners died here 30 years ago.”
“Someone died here?” Jess asked surprised.
“Cool, isn’t it?” Jane said.
“How did they die?” Frank, a scientist working at the ARC, asked.
“I’m not sure. There were conflicting stories. Some articles said they died in an animal attack, others that they were murdered.”
Jess narrowed her eyes. Why would Brad bring her here, if he was interested in her? A murder scene so wasn’t romantic!
“Maybe we’ll find out what happened tonight,” Jane said.
“You mean the 10 years are over tonight?” Jess asked.
“That’s why we’re here,” Brad answered.
Jess was torn between wanting to leave because this felt rather creepy, and thinking that this was all a big hoax or simply a stupid story, but before she could make up her mind a light suddenly came from upstairs, illuminating the stairs slightly.
Becker sat in his car and looked at the navigation system, which showed him the way to the address of the house Jess was currently at with Brad. And Connor, Abby and a bunch of other people, he tried to tell himself. They weren’t alone, and it wasn’t far either. He could probably walk there in less than five minutes. He was about to get out of his car when his mobile rang.
“Becker, there’s an anomaly alert. I know you’re off duty, but the address is just around the corner from where the ARC’s New Years Eve party is. I thought you’d want to know,” the field coordinator on duty said.
Becker cursed slightly. Right now he’d really rather not know, but since he did he had to go and take care of this of course. A part of his mind kept reminding him of what Jess could be up to while he fought some prehistoric creature or whatever came through the anomaly, but he pushed that thought away. He couldn’t be thinking about that now. He had a job to do.
“Text me the address,” he said and ended the call, feeling anything but pleased. Maybe he should call Abby and Connor, let them know about the anomaly… and find out what they – and Jess – where up to right now. His mobile buzzed, announcing a new text message. Becker opened it, then his eyes widened. He knew that address, had already programmed it into his navigation system. Without another thought he started the car and drove off. Now his mind had a whole different kind of scenario to play around with, which didn’t involve Jess kissing anyone. Why did she have to go to the one place in the whole of London where an anomaly opened??? At least Abby and Connor were with her, but he doubted they had any weapons with them.
Becker arrived at the address in less than a minute. He could see two people standing in front of the house, kissing. He drove up to them, stopped the car and jumped out. He was about to tell them to get out of there when he noticed that it were Abby and Connor.
“What are you doing out here?” he asked. That meant that Jess was in there alone with a bunch of people who never actually dealt with an anomaly in the field either.
“Becker?” Abby asked. “The better question would be, what are you doing here?” Her voice sounded funny somehow, but Becker didn’t have the time to wonder why. Instead he rushed to the trunk of the car and opened it. They needed weapons, and luckily he never went anywhere without them.
“Anomaly alert,” he said whilst taking the biggest EMD he had. Then he grabbed a real gun and put it in the back of his pants. He wasn’t going to take any chances with Jess involved.
“What?” Connor and Abby asked at the same time.
“Bring the Anomaly Locking Mechanism,” Becker told them, then rushed towards the building. He had no time to waste.
“Come on, let’s check it out,” Jane called and pulled Brad with her towards the open door through which the light was coming.
“Jess, you coming?” Brad asked turning to her.
Jess sighed but nodded and followed them. Once inside the room her eyes widened.
“This isn’t a haunting,” she exclaimed. “It’s an anomaly!”
“Wow, it’s beautiful,” Jane said. Apparently she had never seen one before.
The next second two creatures came through the anomaly. Jess wasn’t sure what they were, but they looked like some kind of prehistoric bird on long stilted legs. Their beaks were way too big for her liking.
“Run,” Brad yelled. Jane started to scream and Frank was already out the door.
The birdlike creatures turned towards Jane, probably following the sound of her screams. Jess quickly opened her bag and pulled out an EMD gun. Since her neighbour had been assaulted a few weeks ago Jess had gotten herself the smallest EMD the ARC had, and had started to carry it with her wherever she went. She wasn’t sure if she was allowed to have one, but she hadn’t asked, and no one seemed to have found out about it yet. Sometimes she had wondered if it could be counted as stealing from her employer and had thought about giving it back, but right now she was glad that she hadn’t done it yet.
One of the creatures was almost upon Jane when Jess fired her EMD. Luckily she even hit it. The bird staggered, then turned around, looked at Jess and made a screeching noise. She fired again, and a third time for good measure. The creature collapsed. Jess could hardly believe it, but she had actually taken it down! A smile appeared on her face. Then she heard another screech from behind her.
Spinning around Jess saw the second bird coming directly towards her. She pulled the EMD up whilst the creature was coming closer and closer. The next second it was hit by multiple shots and went down immediately. As it hit the ground she felt a hand on her shoulder, turning her around.
“Becker,” she whispered as a smile appeared on her lips. Of course he had come. No matter how much he avoided her, if there was an anomaly, he couldn’t, and wouldn’t stay away.
“You okay?” Becker asked looking her up and down to make sure she was uninjured. When he had seen the others rush past him he had already feared the worst, but it looked like Jess was unharmed. He sighed in relief.
“I’m fine,” she said and was faintly aware that Abby and Connor had entered the room as well. Connor was working on closing the anomaly. Jess had always wanted to see that live, but right now she could care less about Connor, Abby or anomalies. For the first time in months she was very, very close to Becker, and he was looking at her in a way that made her skin tingle.
“If I had known being in mortal danger would get you to pay attention to me again like this I would have driven out to an anomaly months ago,” she said before she could stop herself.
“What?” Becker asked, slightly stunned.
“Sorry…” Jess muttered, when she realized what she said. She was doing it again, interpreting too much into his behaviour. And this time she even said something stupid because of it. “Forget about it, and sorry about pulling you away from the party, and Mary.”
“Mary?” Becker asked whilst his brain still tried to figure out if what Jess said before actually meant what he thought it did. Did she mean that she would willingly put herself in danger if it meant that he paid attention to her? Didn’t she know that he always paid attention to her? No, she probably didn’t, since he had very carefully pretended not to pay attention to her at all. She probably thought she meant nothing to him.
“Yeah, sorry about ruining your night with her,” Jess mumbled, even though she really couldn’t be happier about that. The thought of the two of them together actually made her feel nauseous.
Becker looked at her a little confused. What was she talking about? Ruining his night with who? Then he remembered that she had mentioned Mary and snorted.
“My night with Mary? If I had to spend one more minute with her I would have been seriously tempted to shoot the woman. And if I hadn’t already been on my way here I would have been glad about the anomaly alert and the escape it provided.”
“That sounds like you like her about as much as I do,” Jess said with a smirk.
“Probably even less,” Becker stated.
Jess laughed, but seriously doubted that. Then what he said sank in.
“Wait… You were already on your way here? Why?”
“Well, I…” he broke off, suddenly feeling uncertain. He had intended to come here to make sure she didn’t chose another man over him, but what if she already had? What if she didn’t even want him? But she said she wanted his attention badly enough to put herself in danger, didn’t she? That had to mean that she liked him, too, didn’t it?
“He came for you of course,” Abby interrupted, sounding as if the whole situation was completely obvious. Jess glanced at her friend. She had completely forgotten that she wasn’t alone with Becker. How did he do that, make her forget the rest of the world when she was around him?
“For me?” Jess asked silently and looked back at Becker, who was glaring at Abby.
“I think it is time for us to get out of here,” Connor said and pulled Abby with him. “The anomaly is locked, so you two should be safe to do… whatever it is you want to do.”
As soon as they were out of sight Jess glanced back up at Becker, who looked… rather nervous, if she wasn’t mistaken. What could possibly make him nervous?
“You okay?” she asked him.
“Me? I’m not the one who was surprised by an anomaly and attacked by killer birds,” he answered.
“Well… I was armed,” she said and held up the EMD she was still holding.
“I can see that.” Not only was she armed and thus prepared for any situation, but she had also taken down one of the creatures whilst the rest of the ARC employees ran away, screaming like little girls. If he didn’t already like Jess he certainly would now. “You’re amazing, you know that?”
“I am?” Jess asked looking up into his eyes. This time he definitely was looking at her in a very intense way. She couldn’t be making that up!
“Yes, you are,” he said and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. Then he leaned down and kissed her, deciding that that was the easiest way to show her how he felt.
When they finally pulled apart again Jess looked up at him, panting slightly. Had that actually just happened? Had Becker really kissed her?
“That is why I was on my way here,” he admitted.
A grin appeared on her face. “Really?”
“Really,” he assured her with a chuckle.
“So, you’re not just… nice to me because I could have died?”
Hearing that Becker laughed slightly. “Of course not. I kissed you because I wanted to, have wanted to for quite some time actually.”
“Then what have you been waiting for?” she demanded to know, nudging him slightly in the shoulder.
“I have absolutely no idea.”
“Do you at least know if I will have to wait that long for the next kiss, too?” she asked, looking up at him slightly hopeful.
Becker grinned. “Absolutely not… the waiting part, I mean,” he answered before leaning in and capturing her lips again with his. Putting his arms around her he pulled her closer, savouring the moment and feeling glad that he hadn’t been too late. Losing Jess to another man really would have been the worst mistake of his life.
They broke apart when fireworks could be heard from the outside. Jess glanced at the window through which she could see more fireworks. Apparently it was after midnight. She turned back to look at Becker. Maybe all of her new year’s resolutions would be possible after all.
“Happy New Year, Becker.”
“Happy New Year to you, too, Jess,” he said and had a feeling that it really would be a happy one this time. At the very least he had already gotten all that his heart could desire.