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beth writing 30 days without

FIC - Primeval - When Walls Come Tumblng Down (2/3) PG, Becker/Jess

Title: When Walls Come Tumbling Down

Author: maddie_amber

Words: 6957

Rating: PG

Summary/Prompt: The prompt pretty well summarizes the story. 

The Prompt: Something angsty. Jess is injured in an accident away from the ARC but the team doesn't know about it. When the team realizes she's very overdue is there a massive scramble to find her. Once they find out what's happened will this finally make Becker admit how he feels?



When Walls Come Tumbling Down


# # # #

Abby tugged her cap farther down on to her forehead as their van slowed to a stop at the side of the road and they struggled to wrench open the doors against the steady pressure of the wind.  She was becoming exceedingly weary of wind.  She set her feet firmly and bowed her shoulder into gusts that tore at her clothes with icy fingers and trudged toward the side of the road.  She had been amazed at the depth of damage from the storm, trees down, power poles skewed and listing, lines drooping near the ground.  They had stopped at every mar in the landscape, every downed tree, every set of skid marks on the road surface.  They had poked through brush and screamed until they were hoarse, and each time they had crawled back into their vehicles, exhausted, only to clamber out a few hundred yards down the road and repeat the process.  And each time they had come up empty Becker's face had become tighter, more closed.  Abby would have preferred to see him grim, or cursing in frustration, but the silent, controlled coldness that crept over him chilled her and she did not mean to make a pun.  She recognized the mask.  She knew what it hid.  Whether Becker acknowledged it or not, this search was tearing him apart.  Behind his carefully constructed, militarily correct aloofness, behind the methodical, machinelike precision of his actions, lay a heart that pounded with fear, pounded like hers did, terrified that when they finally found Jess, it would be too late.  It had been hours since she and Connor had tumbled into the ARC, laughing at the capriciousness of the weather and the havoc it had wrought on everyone's schedule.  And in those hours the wind had continued to howl unabated, and now the temperatures were beginning to drop noticeably.  They had to find Jess, and they had to find her soon.

"Fan out!" she heard Becker command, his voice carrying above the wind.  

He did not need to say anything.  She and the rest of the ARC personnel were already moving as one body, spreading along the edge of the road, pushing into the woods along the roadside, as they done over and over all morning.  Abby fought hard to keep the despair from besting her resolve.  Shielding her eyes from the slashing rain and wind borne debris, she turned slightly south, away from the rest of the men.  She felt a sudden overwhelming despair, and did not want any of them to see the tears that threatened to come against her will.  She turned her eyes to the ground, her feet slowing reluctantly, afraid to enter the wooded area, because she knew she could not tolerate another disappointment.  And she stopped abruptly as the toe of her boot caught on a raised tuft of grass.  She almost dismissed the obstruction until she realized she hadn’t just stumbled over a tuft, she had stumbled over a ridge of raised grass running across the verge from the road to the edge of the woods.  And there was a matching ridge a few feet beyond.  Tire tracks.  Someone had driven off the road.  She began to run towards the brush, noticing as she approached the broken and twisted branches of the shrubbery.  Without thinking she shoved through the brush and found herself careening down a steep embankment, stopping only when she slammed into the rear end of a small red car, tipped over on its side, and pinned by a huge pine that had managed to fall right onto the vehicle, completely obscuring it. 

“Oh, my God!  Becker!” Abby screamed into her headpiece.  “I’ve found her car!”

Abby started tearing madly at the branches obscuring the vehicles windows, trying to see inside, yet afraid of what she might discover.  The wood was green and snapped back at her attempts to break it but she was able to press her face against the rear window.  And saw a limp figure, still strapped to the driver’s seat unmoving and unresponsive as Abby pounded on the window, screaming to get Jess’s attention to no avail. 

“…where?” 

Only then did Abby realize Becker had been yelling in her ear asking for direction to her location. 

“About twenty meters south of where we parked.  There are tire tracks leading into the woods, but you can’t see the car.  Just push through the brush.  And hurry!  I can’t tell how badly injured she is.”  Abby bit her tongue before she blurted the thought that burned through her brain.  I don’t even know if she’s alive.

“We’re coming, Abby,” Becker’s voice finally betrayed what he had to be feeling. 

“She’s trapped in her car,” Abby said, sucking in a deep breath to steady her own roiling thoughts and pounding heart. 

“We’ve got an ambulance en route and the medics will be here soon.”  

Hurry! She thought.  She didn’t need to say it out loud.

Seconds later she heard the rest of the men as they pushed through the underbrush, she felt a hand on her shoulder, pushing her to the side.  She turned to snap at its owner, in full protective mode, and then realized it was Becker.  He pressed his face to the glass long enough to confirm what she already had determined, that it was Jess and that she was unconscious.  She watched as his face briefly betrayed his emotions.  Relief that they had finally found Jess followed in rapid order by the same agonizing fear that gripped Abby now.  What if they were too late?

# # #

"We've got to get her out of there now," Becker snapped.  "Jacobs, bring the SUV with the winch.  We need to winch that tree off her car."

"That could take time," Abby said urgently. 

Becker did not need her to remind him that every second was critical.  They had been searching for hours and who know how long Jess had been trapped before they realized she was in trouble.  God, they didn't even know if she was alive.  She had not responded to the noise of their arrival or their attempts to rouse her. 

"I'm not waiting till then," he told her firmly.  "There's a jack handle in the back of the van.  Get it for me now.  And bring blankets and the first aid kit," he ordered another of the men.  

The man was back in minutes but to Becker it seemed hours.  Just hang on Jess, he said over and over in his mind.  We are not going to lose you.  Stay with us just a little longer.  Be with us.

Becker tossed one of the blankets over the back window of the car to contain the glass, then slammed the jack handle into the glass with all his strength and kept slamming until the glass was completely shattered, putting all his fear and frustration into each blow.  For one brief second he glanced in Abby’s direction and was shocked by the look on her face.  She watched him with the wariness of someone watching a violently unbalanced mental case wielding a deadly weapon.  In this instant that assessment might almost be correct.  Becker realized he had lost his professional edge.  After hours of control he had let his emotions boil out and take over his reason.  He took two deep breaths, attempting to reassert that sense of professionalism.

“Okay,” he said to the men who had arrived with the winch equipped SUV.  “We need to get that tree off her car.  If we can’t get the door open, she’ll have to be cut out when the medics and rescue personnel arrive.   But removing that obstacle will make their job easier and they will get to her faster.  Jacobs, you’re in charge.”

Becker turned to find Abby knocking the rest of the glass away from the rear window.  “I’ll go in and steady her,” Abby said.  “We don’t know how badly she’s hurt. We need to stabilize her spine as well as we can.  The less jarring the better.”

“You’re right,” Becker said, grabbing her by the arm.  “You’re right, Abby.  But I’m going in.”

Abby opened her mouth.

“No.  No argument.  It’s me.  I’ll fit as well as you.  Please Abby.  I have to do this.”  Becker knew quite well what Abby was trying to do.  What she was trying to protect him from.  Whoever crawled into the car would be the first to know if Jess were alive or dead.  And he was going to be that person.  “Please help the medics when they get here,” he added more gently.  He turned as Abby’s eyes began to brim with tears.  But she nodded her understanding.   

Becker squeezed his torso through the broken window, and pulled his legs in behind him.  He moved cautiously, to avoid any unnecessary movement and broken glass.  Jess had still not roused, her body was held in the driver’s seat by her seat belt.  Her hair, hanging lank and wet from the rain, obscured her face.  He took a deep breath, steeling himself for the worst, and ever so gently reached out to lift her hair away from her face.  As he did his fingers brushed the icy surface of her cheek.  She was cold, too cold. There was a tightening in his chest and his heart was pounding in a way no combat situation had ever made him react.  Her face was colorless and the entire right side was caked with dried blood.  Supporting her head with his left hand he gently felt for the pulse in her neck with fingers of the right.  And found nothing.  “No,” he said through gritted teeth, his voice edged with despair. 

“Becker!”  It was Abby.  “Becker is she…”

“Give me a minute.” He responded surprised by the roughness of his voice, and the agony that seized his heart in an iron grip.  She had to be alive.  He tried again to find her pulse.  It had to be there.  And then he felt the slightest flutter under his fingertip, faint and erratic, but there.

“Yes,” he called to Abby, “I’ve got a pulse.  But we have to hurry she’s frozen, hypothermic.  She has a visible head wound, and possibly other injuries as well.  Tell Jacobs to get that tree off the car.  I have her.  Are the medics…?”

“They just arrived,” Abby answered before he finished.  He glanced back to see her face in the shattered rear window, smiling from ear to ear as tears streamed down her face.  Abby reached through and Becker felt her hand rest on his back.  “We’ll get her out.  We’ll get her home.”  Then she passed a second emergency blanket through the window.

Becker nodded and turned back to Jess his heart pounding furiously.  He tucked the blanket around her as best he could.  Gently he cradled her bloodied head in his hands, lifting her matted hair away from her ashen face, wanting nothing more than to see her eyes open, to hear her voice, her laughter.  Then something inside him began to crumble.  The hours of tension had taken their toll.  He had spent half a lifetime building a wall around his heart, impenetrable he had once thought.  After Sarah’s death he had sworn no one would ever again scale that wall.  He had been right.  No one had scaled it.  But one slip of a woman had managed to utterly undermine it.  And now she was unconscious, beyond his capability to help.  The raw emotion engulfing his unguarded heart was almost overwhelming.  The focus of his existence became her head resting in his hands, the ice cold touch of her skin, the bloody hair.  All he could do was hold her, and pray they had arrived in time.  “We’ll get you home, my love,” he said softly kissing the top of her coppery hair.  “We will get you home.  Just stay with us.  Stay with me.”   

The next twenty minutes were a blur.  His entire existence had narrowed to the blood matted strands on the top of her head.  Becker was aware of the shiver that ran through the frame of the car as Jacobs and his men winched the tree from its resting place on the car’s side.  The metal groaned with relief as the weight lifted.  He heard the rescue personnel struggling to open the door, and finally having to sheer through the metal to release Jess right leg which was trapped in the crumpled wreckage.  He was only vaguely aware of the medics securing a brace around her neck and removing her head from his hands, and then as they were placing her on a stretcher someone, Abby, was urging him from the vehicle.  Only then did he register his own cramped limbs that had been curled in an impossible position in the back of Jess's small car.  He was cold and stiff and crawled out of the car feeling more like a defeated old man than he had ever felt in his life. 

“You need to go with her,” Abby was saying to him.

He felt himself staring stupidly at her as if she were speaking unintelligible gibberish.

“Someone needs to go to hospital with her,” Abby was saying.  She had taken him by the shoulders and emphasized her words by giving him a small shake.  “They’ll have questions at the hospital that someone will have to answer.”

“Could you do that Abby?  I need to get the men…”

“NO you don’t.”  Abby emphasized each word with another shake.  Anger flashed across her face, turning her eyes to ice.  “There is no ‘security’ stuff you need to do right now.  Your men can find their way back to London without you taking them by the hand.  Jacobs is capable, he can take charge.  Your place is with Jess.  I know that.  Its time you learned that as well.”

“Alright,” Becker said, “Alright.  I’m going.  Just one thing.”

“What?” Abby said her anger suddenly deflated.

“I’m beginning to feel like a well shaken rag doll.”

A quick rush of blood colored Abby’s cheeks, as she sheepishly released him from the grip she had maintained on his shoulders, turning him gently in the direction of the ambulance into which they had just finished loading Jess.  "Go," she said giving him a little push in that direction.  "They won't wait."

Becker needed no further encouragement.  The medics did not argue when he asked to ride to the hospital with them, moving so he could sit next to Jess, but still allow them enough space to work in the cramped interior of the ambulance.  He was able to answer a few brief questions directed at him about Jess, but beyond that he was completely helpless.  One of the medics, a young woman not much older than her patient, seemed to take pity on him, as she patted his hand reassuringly.

"She's in good hands.  We'll be at the hospital in ten minutes.  You can stay with her until we take her into the exam area, then you'll have to wait outside unless you’re a family member."  The last comment was more question than comment, and he noticed she glanced at his hands looking for a ring. 

"No," he said hastily. "N..not family.  Um, a friend."

"A good one I trust." The girl's expression was non committal, but he could almost hear her asking 'how good.'  Then she shifted towards Jess's head, adjusting the IV that was already dripping, and indicated that Becker could move closer. 

"She's stable.  As long as she stays that way, there's no harm in holding her hand."

God, Becker thought, were his emotions that obvious to everyone?  But he did not resist and quickly shifted closer to Jess, finding her hand under the blankets they had swathed her in.  It was still icy cold.  Blood was caked under her fingernails where she must have touched her head, and one of her nails was broken.  He folded his warm hands around hers and brought it to his lips.  You're going to pull through this.  The thought was a desperate, all-consuming prayer.  You will.

# # #

Comments

I'm glad they reached her in time! The descriptions here are really vivid!