...in retrospect, I wonder if there could have been any other way to stop the chain of events that started when Helen killed Cutter. Or maybe I should think further back to when she caused Stephen's death. Was there anything that we could have done back then? Was there anything we should have done differently? Stephen's death gutted us all, but could it have been prevented or could we have done something back then to stop everything that happened after that? I've spent a lot of time since I've been here thinking about all of these things. What else there to do here when I'm not trying to survive? I don't think that we could have done anything to stop her when Stephen was killed. I do think that we could have prevented Cutter's death and the attack on the ARC, though. I don't know how, but I can't help thinking that there was something that could have been done. Even if we had stopped Cutter's death, would it have stopped everything that happened after that? Could Cutter have found a way to unlock the secrets of anomaly travel if he had been given enough time or would Helen have found a way to try to destroy us no matter what? I don't know the answer to that and I have gone over it in my mind time and time again. What I do know is that I wish there had been another way to stop her. I wish it hadn't cost so many lives.
I wish it hadn't cost me Becker...
After everything was said and done, there was really no other choice that could have been made. Helen Cutter needed to be stopped – no matter what. If it meant chasing her through anomaly after anomaly, then that’s what they would have to do. It had been bad enough when she had made attacks on them and killed Cutter, but taking Christine Johnson hostage and coldly feeding her to the future predators had crossed the line. Granted, Christine had been an interfering bitch and none of the ARC team had cared for her, they hadn’t approved of cold-blooded murder, either.
Not to mention, it caused horrible flashbacks for Abby and Connor over the circumstances of Stephen Hart’s death.
When Danny said they had to stop Helen once and for all, the entire team had quickly agreed with him. Since they had the most field experience with the anomalies and with Helen, the two of them would be accompanying Danny. Everyone agreed that they were the best ones for this mission.
Correction. Almost everyone agreed.
Becker had a hard time with the decision and an even harder time accepting it.
“I should be going with you,” he said quietly to Abby as he was overseeing the putting together of survival packs for the three of them. There was no one else he was going to trust to pack supplies for his girlfriend and their two friends. “I’m head of the security and I should be there to watch your backs.” He was staring at the table in front of him and not looking at her.
“They need you here, love,” Abby murmured, running her hand along his back soothingly. “You’re the best there is – and Sarah and Lester need you here to protect them.”
“You need me,” he said, fitting a few more knives into the packs in front of him.
“I will always need you,” she agreed, moving between him and the table so that she could make him look her in the eyes. “But more importantly, I need to know that you’re here protecting our friends in case Helen gets past us and comes back here. You’re the only one that I trust completely in keeping Sarah and Lester safe from that bitch.”
“Abby…” He sighed and looked down into her face. “Don’t do this. Don’t make me choose. I can’t choose someone else’s well-being over yours.”
“I’m not,” she said softly. “I’m not asking you to choose. I’m asking you to protect my best friends while I’m away. I’m asking the man that I love more than anything to keep them safe while I’m unable to, because I know that he’s the one that can.”
He pulled her against him, not caring who might walk by and see them. It wasn’t as if their relationship was much of a secret. That idea had been blown all to hell when he found out about the terror birds that had attacked her and the others while he was playing spy games with Christine. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close as he buried his face in her hair. He tried to steady himself, knowing that it wouldn’t help either one of them if he didn’t keep himself pulled together and his emotions in check.
“I can’t lose you,” he finally whispered. “You’re the best thing in my life and I don’t want to lose you.”
“You’re not going to lose me, love.” She wrapped her arms around his waist. “I will always be with you, no matter where I am.”
“If anything happens to you…”
“Nothing is going to happen to me.” She laid her head against his chest. “Do you honestly think that Danny will allow anything to happen? That Connor will? I’ll be perfectly safe while we’re gone.”
Becker sighed, not saying anything. What was there to say? She was right; his skills were needed more here. Yes, he had a good team of men under him, but when it came to his friends, he didn’t trust their safety to anyone but himself.
“I’ll only be gone a few hours, love,” she reminded him. “It will only be a day or two at the most. We’ll go to the future, take care of Helen and come right back home.”
“I know,” he said reluctantly. “I know, but I still don’t like it. I hate any of you going through an anomaly and I hate that she’s made this whole mission necessary.”
She nodded. “None of us like that we have to do this, but it has to be done.” She pulled her head back to smile slightly up at him. “I’ll make it up to you when we return home.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “You’ll make what up to me?”
“I’ll make up for the worry and the fact that you and your guns are staying behind and letting me go through the anomaly without you.”
He smirked at her. “Do I get to use the handcuffs?”
Abby laughed and then nodded. “Yes, love, you can even use the handcuffs.”
Becker sobered, looking into her face like he was determined to memorize every inch of her. “Promise me, Abby. Promise me that you’ll be careful.”
“I mean it, Abby,” he said fiercely. “I know that sometimes you take foolish risks for those around you or creatures, but you can’t do that this time. I’m not going to be there this time to help, so I need you to promise me that you’ll be more careful than you’ve ever been before.” His eyes flashed with emotion as he tightened his hold on her. “If you don’t promise me that, then I swear to god I will tie you up and take you back to my flat and Danny and Connor can find someone else to go with them.”
Abby stared up into his face for several long moments and then nodded. “I promise you, Hil. I promise that I will be as careful as I can possibly be.”
He nodded, then leaned down and kissed her fiercely. Abby’s return kiss was just as fierce. She clung to him, letting him take the lead as they kissed and ran their hands over each other for the next few moments. Finally Becker lifted his head and swallowed hard. His breathing was ragged, as was hers and it was a struggle for him to set her away from him.
“Go talk to Lester and finish the planning,” he said reluctantly. “Go talk to Lester or I’m taking you right here against the wall and to hell with anyone who might see.”
“I love you,” she said softly.
“Don’t.” He cautioned her, tension in his voice. “Don’t say it like that because it seems too close to you saying goodbye.”
“It’s not goodbye, love.”
“I know that, but it sounds like it.”
Abby nodded, turning for the door.
She looked over her shoulder. “Yeah?”
“When you get back, I’m shagging you so hard that you won’t be able to walk right for a day or two.”
She gave him a faint smile. “I’m going to make sure you deliver on that promise, then.”