Author's Note: I tried to put these in chronological order, but some could take place anytime. Enjoy. This one is set before Abby and Connor come back from the past.
You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall...
Becker woke up that morning knowing it was going to be a crap day. And by lunchtime his assumption proved to be true. There wasn't an anomaly alert; that he could handle. At least that would have kept him from thinking about how different this day had been the year before. It was the boredom between anomalies, that was filled only by endless, redundant, unnecessary (in Becker's opinion anyway) paperwork. Even after over a month of working there, he still couldn't get used to working at the new ARC.
Last year, they'd all been there. Danny, Abby, Connor, Sarah. Now none of them were.
He brushed past Connor, who was still babbling about something or other, and continued down the corridor to the ARC's main room. He pushed open the swinging doors, Connor just behind him, and saw that most of the ARC staff were gathered there, ostensibly waiting for him. Danny, Abby, and Sarah were right in front, Danny and Sarah grinning, Abby giving Connor an exasperated look.
"Keep him distracted, I said."
"Well, I tried, didn't I? Only, I don't know if you've noticed, he's quite a bit bigger than I am, and he was giving me that look. That Connor-I'm-about-to-shoot-you look..."
Becker sat in the locker room, fiddling with his keys. He heard footsteps, or more specifically, the click-clack of high heels coming towards him. Jess Parker, the new field coordinator, was coming down the hall; he always knew it was her a mile off. In the short time they'd been working together, Becker and Jess had become unlikely friends. At first Becker wanted to remain detached from his colleagues, especially after what happened to the old team; he couldn't handle losing any more friends. But he doubted anyone could resist Jess when she'd made her mind up about something, and she had decided they were going to be friends. They spent a great deal of time together, probably more than was strictly necessary, but Becker didn't like to think about that.
"Going out for lunch?" she asked, pulling her bag and jacket out of her locker.
"Yep." He stood, zipping his jacket closed to avoid the questioning glance he knew was forthcoming.
"Alright... Well, I'll see you later then."
She smiled as he passed, and he nodded in response as he walked toward the door. He'd just reached the locker room doors when she spoke again.
"You do have your black box, don't you? In case there's an anomaly."
"Yes Jess," he replied without turning, and left.
Twenty minutes later, Becker was sitting on a park bench under a large oak tree, hoping the familiar, everyday sounds - laughing families picnicking, joggers and dog-walkers, birds chirping, the wind rustling the leaves - would drown out the voices of his painful memories. It was then that Jess walked up behind him. Without a word, she stepped around the bench and sat down, looking straight ahead in the same direction as Becker had been.
He turned to raise an eyebrow at her. "What are you doing here?"
"Followed you," she replied succinctly.
Becker looked straight ahead again, impressed despite himself. She was sneakier than he thought, if she could tail a trained soldier like himself without him noticing. Of course, he hadn't exactly been worried about being followed; he was lost in his thoughts and memories.
"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked quietly.
"About what?" he replied, defensively.
"About whatever is bothering you." He glanced at her, but she sat as calmly as ever, looking out at the park. Well, not completely calm - her legs were crossed and her right foot tapped out an erratic rhythm where it hung in midair.
Becker wouldn't be at all surprised if she knew exactly what today was, and why it was bothering him. She always seemed to know everything, and had an uncanny ability to anticipate things. These were very useful traits in a field coordinator, but somewhat disconcerting ones in a friend. Particularly a friend that he might or might not fancy.
"No," he replied finally.
"Do you mind if I talk?" She finally turned to look him in the eye, and he could see how much she was holding in. With a wry grin, he nodded.
"OK, well, I don't know if you follow office gossip, but Mike and Kathy in botany have split up. Again. The other night, a bunch of us went out for drinks after work, and Mike got a bit, well, wasted..."
Becker wasn't really paying too much attention; he watched people walking by, going about their routines, and listened to the sound of Jess' voice talking about ordinary things (she'd somehow moved on to X Factor). No anomalies, no creatures. And it helped, this undemanding conversation (well, more of a monologue); he didn't feel so isolated anymore. She was showing him that he still had friends, people who cared, at the ARC. Her bubbly attitude was infectious. Before long, Becker found himself contributing occasionally to her steady stream of chatter, and eventually they got up to go get some lunch before their breaks ended.
"By the way, Becker," Jess said as they walked to the car park. "Happy birthday."
Cause you're all I want.
You're all I need.
You're everything, everything...