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Author's Note: For the Just Kiss Her prompt "Back rub or massage, maybe with bonus shared shower as well."
The knot was beneath her right shoulder blade.
A life spent working with computers, Jess knew all the tricks to try and minimise repetitive stress injury. She had an ergonomic chair, a split keyboard, and a special trackball mouse. She moused both left and right handed, and once a month she had a massage at a therapeutic massage school a few bocks from her flat to try and work the lactic acid out of her muscles, and ease the tightness in her neck, shoulders, and back.
But when she had a really bad week, when the anomalies kept opening and she had to co-ordinate multiple teams in the field. the crunchy mouse knot would reappear. When that happened, every click and drag would make her wince with pain. It felt like she had ground glass shredding the muscles and tendons. She would take over the counter painkillers every three hours, and soak in a hot bath every night after work. And sometimes she would still have to go to the women's toilets and sit in a stall and cry. Just a little. Because it was such a stupid thing—everyone else at the ARC faced down creatures from the past and present, getting injured, even killed. And a little thing like pulled trapezius muscles and a crunchy calcium deposits seemed so petty and ridiculous.
The Paracetamol bottle rattled, only three pills left, as Jess fished it out of her handbag. When she straightened up she started with surprise as she realised Becker was standing at her shoulder. And even the slight movement caused her to wince.
"Jess, what's wrong? Are you hurt?" Becker was immediately concerned, whatever he was about to say forgot.
"It's nothing," Jess said, trying to wave it off. But her smile was forced. "Just—I get sore sometimes, when I'm at the ADD."
Becker took the nearly empty bottle from her fingers and set it down on the desk.
"Sayid? Can you cover the ADD for an hour?" Becker called over to one of the techs.
"Becker—" Jess protested, but he shook his head.
Jess sighed, and let Becker lead her away from the Hub with a hand at the small of her back. However instead of taking the corridor to the MedBay, he instead picked one of the guest quarters off corridor five.
"What are you doing?" Jess asked as he locked the door with his security code. "Becker, after Lester—"
"Why Miss Parker, your mind is filthy. I didnít bring you here for some afternoon delight. You need a back rub, and I happen to have excellent abilities in that particular area."
"You certainly have a high opinion of yourself," Jess murmured as Becker pulled the low padded bench away from the wall and motioned for her to sit in front of him. She was glad that she'd chosen a full, pleated grey skirt to wear, instead of one of her usual minis, and kicked off her purple heels before she sat down on the bench.
"You doubt me?" Becker acted affronted, and Jess giggled, but then winced again, her hand going automatically to her neck.
He curled his fingers around hers, and carefully pulled her hand away and drew her hair over her shoulder. He scooted forward until she could almost feel the heat radiating from his body through the thin fabric of her lavender blouse. Settling his large, warm hands on his neck, he started gently kneading the tight muscles.
"That feels really..." Jess began, and then trailed off. She heard Becker chuckle, and Jess frowned even as her chin dropped to rest on her chest. "Alright, I give in. You're brilliant."
"I thought you might change your mind," he whispered mouth next to her ear. "And before you ask—yes, I turned off my black box. Yes, I put the privacy lock on. All perfectly normal, so we won't get told off by the boss. Now... where does it hurt?"
"I have a crunchy mouse knot," Jess mumbled.
"Jess, I have no idea what that means."
"Right shoulder blade," she said, and he ran a finger lightly down her back.
"Tell me when to stop."
"Up a little, then right—ah!" She tensed again as he pressed down on the knot of muscle. Becker's hands immediately froze where they were.
"Too hard?" he asked, clearly concerned.
"No, it just—have you ever had an RSI?"
"You're still speaking in tongues."
"It's what happens when you repeat the same motions over and over again. Imagine you fired an EMD five thousand times a day. Lactic acid builds up in the muscles, causing pain. In my case, instead of pulling the trigger, it's from clicking and dragging the mouse."
"Ah—computer mouse. Got it." He pressed again with the ball of his thumb, fingers still kneading her shoulders. "I think."
"Here, keep your fingers—ow—there," To demonstrate, she rotated her arm, and he muttered an oath beneath his breath as she could literally feel the knot crunch beneath his fingers.
"That is not—you got this from using the computer?" Becker sounded completely horrified, and if it weren't for the pain, Jess would have laughed.
"You get bitten by dinosaurs," she pointed out, trying to relax as he began working on the muscles in earnest. "There's really no contest."
"I just had no idea one could get injured from desk work."
"Spoken like a true—Oh God, right there—jock."
Becker chuckled again, and then increased the gentle pressure along either side of her spine. It was both incredibly painful, yet incredibly wonderful at the same time.
Usually, when she went to the massage school, she had a student work on her. They were always shocked at how her tight right arm was—even with switching the mouse to her left hand, she was strongly right dominant and one girl had pointed out that Jess had arms like a massage therapist. She hadn't been sure if that was exactly a compliment or an expression of horror, but she just always explained she worked with computers. So far, everyone had understood. But she hadn't had a chance to go in in almost two months due to the increased frequency of the anomalies both leading up to and tapering off from Convergence.
As a result, she practically melted into a puddle of goo as Becker's large, strong hands worked the knots and kinks out, her neck and shoulders finally relaxing for what felt like the first time in forever. He even slid his fingers into her hair, massaging her scalp, and the way he ran his short blunt nails over the top of her spine had her completely boneless and drowsy.
"From now on, no more massage therapists. You are my official neck rub expert. And cheaper too."
"I don't know if I should be offended, or pleased. But considering the sounds you've been making are practically pornographic, I've decided that no-one else is allowed to hear them except me. Ever."
She hadn't realised she'd been making any sounds, and felt a flush creep up her neck. "Sorry—it just feels so good..."
"Exactly my point." He scooted forward, pressing up against her back as he wrapped his arms around her, and she shivered as she felt the evidence nudging her hip.
"Is that an EMD in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?" she asked with a giggle, and was pleased to note that while she was still sore, the sharp, shooting pain every time she flexed her fingers or moved her head had subsided.
"I am always glad to see you," he said as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "Perhaps a little too glad at the moment."
"Tell you what—tonight, come back to mine and I'll return the favour." She leaned back against his chest, arching her back slightly. "Naked."
"Hardly ameliorating our current situation, Miss Parker," he said against her neck, while his fingers found the ribbon of warm skin between the hem of her blouse and the waistband of her skirt.
"And what exactly," Jess nipped his jaw lightly with her teeth, "do you think we should do? We promised Lester we wouldn't... you know. At the ARC."
"Actually," Becker whispered in her ear, "I distinctly remember promising to do our jobs 'with a minimum of pornographic evidence'. And unless I'm mistaken, the privacy lock on the showers means..."
"...no video feed to the security system." Jess turned in his arms, dropping a kiss on his lips. "Very sneaky, Captain. Did they teach that at Sandhurst?"
"I worked it out myself." He got up, offering her his hand, and she followed him into the cramped white-tiled toilet.
"Oh, I've picked a clever one."
"That's usually my line."
At the ADD, Sayid was flicking back and forth between two screens as Shelby stopped by.
"Where's Parker?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Lunch," Sayid replied.
"And by lunch, you mean—"
Sayid sighed. "Yeah."
Shelby rolled her eyes. "How long does the honeymoon period usually last again?"
"With those two? Who knows."
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